U.S. Postal Service reports major losses… again

posted at 5:21 pm on August 9, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

I know, I know — it’s silly of me to expect or even hope that a government-run service should ever be forced to cope with fiscal realities, especially once said service is practically obsolete and has long since outlived it’s ability to just break even (because that right there would pretty much disqualify the entire federal government), but what can I say? I’m just an optimist. The deplorable truth, however, is that public employment — especially once unionized — is not easily undone.

The USPS posted their third-quarter earnings today, and surprise, suprise: Technological advancement hasn’t miraculously reversed its course and the USPS is even deeper in the hole than it was this time last year. From the NJ:

The USPS posted a $5.2 billion loss in 2012 Q3, a week after its first ever default. USPS posted a $3.1 billion net loss during the same period last year. …

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told the Alley he’s not losing any sleep over the prospect of the House bill. “The House bill is not going to pass,” he said confidently.

“The postal service is more than just a place for your mail to come to. And I think whoever goes after them or does that, changes the postal service in that way, takes it away from rural America, there is a political price that would be paid there,” Trumka said.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-California) and Dennis Ross (R-Florida) introduced legislation earlier this year that would’ve allowed the USPS to close down some post offices and renegotiate labor contracts, but leadership never brought it to a vote — although the Senate passed a very different bill last April that would’ve thrown $11 million at the problem to try and help the USPS avoid default this year. No, no: Even though the Postal Service is a drain on economic growth and hence comes at the possible alternative of productive jobs, it would be far too contentious for lawmakers (especially those from union-heavy or rural districts) to actually address the flagrant problem and potentially take actions that might cause people to lose their unproductive jobs in the short-term. Nothing doing.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Interesting. When is Hot Air analysis of the widely touted CNN/ORC poll coming out?

andy85719 on August 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

So the government can’t make a delivery service break even but we’re expected to believe that the government is going to make an industry as complicated as healthcare more cost efficient. No wonder people here think liberals are morons.

Scrappy on August 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

I need to discover why UPS because part of the USPS. No matter how one looks at it, that was a bad move for everyone concerned.

DannoJyd on August 9, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-California) and Dennis Ross (R-Florida) introduced legislation earlier this year that would’ve allowed the USPS to close down some post offices and renegotiate labor contracts, but leadership never brought it to a vote

That right there is why so many don’t believe the GOP has any desire to change things, much less the courage.

sharrukin on August 9, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Privatize the entire thing.

They are a sunken pit.

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Misleading.
The post office actually had an operating profit in the quarter. The only thing causing the loss is the insane and unique requirement by Congress that the USPS fully pre-pay the next 75 years of retirement benefits. No other organization on earth has such a ridiculous requirements.

AngusMc on August 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

They do not make a ton of money, but I am sure that their Union leaders and executives receive beaucoup bucks!

Opposite Day on August 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Interesting. When is Hot Air analysis of the widely touted CNN/ORC poll coming out?

andy85719 on August 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Is that the same ORC that was founded by Clinton Groupie Vinod Gupta? You know, the same ORC that steadfastly refuses to divulge the D/R/I breakdowns of their “polling samples”?

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Does this beat Amtrak ?

listens2glenn on August 9, 2012 at 5:30 PM

No worries…we totally got Obamacare done right!

/Congressional Democrats

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Does this beat Amtrak ?

listens2glenn on August 9, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Amtrak.

USPS.

Fannie/Freddie.

US Student Loan program.

Oh yeah
, I need me 4 more years of that.

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 5:31 PM

The USPS posted a $5.2 billion loss in 2012 Q3, a week after its first ever default. USPS posted a $3.1 billion net loss during the same period last year. …

At this rate, it costs U.S. taxpayers $20.8 billion a year, on top of what people spend on stamps, to deliver the mail??? That comes out to about $67 of subsidy for every American citizen!

Might it be time for “Federal” Express or the “United” Parcel Service to buy out the United States Postal Service? They seem to make profits delivering letters and packages!!! Or would we need a Constitutional Amendment for that?

Or do We the People have to “pony up” again for the Pony Express?

Steve Z on August 9, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Yep, the same ORC that says that people think the economy is headed in the right direction, that Obama is handling it well, and that 56 percent of the public approves of O’s performance.

andy85719 on August 9, 2012 at 5:32 PM

“Stuck on stupid.”

..well, it is UNIONIZED.

TeaPartyNation on August 9, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Interesting. When is Hot Air analysis of the widely touted CNN/ORC poll coming out?

andy85719 on August 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

As soon as Obama’s college transcripts are released to BuzzFeed.

Good Lt on August 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Luckily they raised the price of stamps a whole cent to help out.

reddevil on August 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Amtrak.

USPS.

Fannie/Freddie.

US Student Loan program.

Oh yeah, I need me 4 more years of that.

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 5:31 PM

—-

So if Rommney becomes President you think Amtrak, USPS, Fannie and Freddie and the Student loan program will suddenly cease to exist?

O,Okay

(0-0)

Politricks on August 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

GOP leadership = massive fail
It sucks to have to vote for GOP candidates when we know that we’re doing this simply because the Democrat party has gone so far left that RINO medium big govt policies look starkly more attractive in comparison. In my fantasy universe Tea Party types amass enough seats to overthrow the country club Republican leadership. And pigs fly!

philw1776 on August 9, 2012 at 5:39 PM

So if Rommney becomes President you think Amtrak, USPS, Fannie and Freddie and the Student loan program will suddenly cease to exist?

O,Okay

(0-0)

Politricks on August 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

It would be a good start.

tom daschle concerned on August 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Yep, the same ORC that says that people think the economy is headed in the right direction, that Obama is handling it well, and that 56 percent of the public approves of O’s performance.

andy85719 on August 9, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Just went thru all 41 pages of the crosstabs. As usual, no breakdown of the polling sample, which means the survey is useless.

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/08/09/rel7b3.pdf

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 5:42 PM

In Obama’s second term he will redefine the information super highway to be a post road and put the USPS in charge of the internet.

meci on August 9, 2012 at 5:48 PM

The government can’t even sell $8 hamburgers and make money. NOOOoooooo they sell $8 hamburgers and lose $9 on each one. Turns out at that you can’t even make it up on volume.

Government is NOT the solution, it is the problem…always.

jukin3 on August 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Interesting. When is Hot Air analysis of the widely touted CNN/ORC poll coming out?

No internals = garbage poll. Always. And what little glimpse into the internals that they do give doesn’t seem very promising. Out of 1,010 respondents, they only sampled 419 Republicans and R-leaning independents. For Obama to only be up 52-45 in a poll that’s 58% non-Republican must mean he’s getting hammered by the independents… yet the crosstabs show him up 53-42 among just independents. So, yeah, garbage poll.

Fabozz on August 9, 2012 at 5:50 PM

I need to discover why UPS because part of the USPS. No matter how one looks at it, that was a bad move for everyone concerned.

DannoJyd on August 9, 2012 at 5:27 PM

UPS should have never teamed up the USPS. UPS’s reputation is suffering because of it. I own a pack and ship center, and my customers are complaining that their packages are not arriving on time.

txsurveyor on August 9, 2012 at 5:50 PM

No, no: Even though the Postal Service is a drain on economic growth

Mail delivery as a drag on economic growth? Interesting perspective to say the least. If only there was less mail delivery, this country could unleash the potential of Joe the Plumber or drill more oil? Not sure I follow.

The USPS can’t fix itself without Congress passing its proposed changes to services. It’s Congress that’s the problem here.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

You colletitards really really hold individuals in contempt, and you can’t refrain from confessing it every chance you get.

tom daschle concerned on August 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Interesting. When is Hot Air analysis of the widely touted CNN/ORC poll coming out?

andy85719 on August 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

On page 8 the survey references 419 Republicans and leaners, this would leave 1010-419=591 Democrats and their independent leaners.

This gives a sample of 58.5 D and 41.5 R.

So, I think a +19 D poll is completely valid.

NancyWhisky on August 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM

No internals = garbage poll. Always. And what little glimpse into the internals that they do give doesn’t seem very promising. Out of 1,010 respondents, they only sampled 419 Republicans and R-leaning independents. For Obama to only be up 52-45 in a poll that’s 58% non-Republican must mean he’s getting hammered by the independents… yet the crosstabs show him up 53-42 among just independents. So, yeah, garbage poll.

Fabozz on August 9, 2012 at 5:50 PM

On page 8 the survey references 419 Republicans and leaners, this would leave 1010-419=591 Democrats and their independent leaners.

This gives a sample of 58.5 D and 41.5 R.

So, I think a +19 D poll is completely valid.

NancyWhisky on August 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM

That carries over to page 9, but I think that breakdown was only for 1 or 2 of the questions in the “poll”, not the entire thing.

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 5:59 PM

It’s not like we are looking into a $222 Trillion dollar pit or anything…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on August 9, 2012 at 6:00 PM

They could stop subsidizing junk mail. That would probably help.

trigon on August 9, 2012 at 6:02 PM

AngusMc on August 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Correct.

But here we go again with another USPS post where unfortunately, 90% of the comments here will be woefully ignorant.

Everyone complains about the USPS. It must be an American birthright to do so. Facts be damned.

The problem is not the USPS per se, it’s Federal regulations. One of which is mentioned above. Others include tying First Class postage rates to inflation. And the inflation index does NOT include energy costs! When gas prices go up, USPS can not add service charges or increase the rates. Unlike a real business like UPS or Fedex.

Another issue I like to point out…The Postal Service is one of the FEW enumerated Federal powers mentioned in the Constitution. Does ANY Gov’t department MAKE money? The Marines? Navy? Dept of Justice? USDA? EPA?….several things I mention aren’t even Constitutional IMO. Yet they are all Net Loss. Of course, we only ‘complain’ when the Post Office ‘loses’ money.

So for those of you here whining about the Postal Service, do me a favor and whine about the Federal Bureaucracy that is the actual cause of the issues.

BierManVA on August 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Does anyone know if there is any truth to the claim that the Postal Service actually runs a profit, but that Congress skims it off and doesn’t leave them enough to cover their pensions?

Count to 10 on August 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

OT, but I need to know if I’m reading and hearing this right.

Did Obama just say he wants to nationalize the manufacturing base of the United States?

Because I got a bad feeling that’s what he’s saying – and its kinda freaking me out right now.

catmman on August 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

The USPS can’t fix itself without Congress passing its proposed changes to services. It’s Congress that’s the problem here.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

sure, lets trust the people who made the problem to fix the problem.

chasdal on August 9, 2012 at 6:04 PM

sure, lets trust the people who made the problem to fix the problem.

chasdal on August 9, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Leftists are the same people that say that the USPS is a failure because it is a “private” entity.

tom daschle concerned on August 9, 2012 at 6:06 PM

tom daschle concerned on August 9, 2012 at 6:06 PM

let fedex, ups, etc start doing first class mail and rates will drop like a rock. we’ll be back to .13 stamps in 6 months.

chasdal on August 9, 2012 at 6:11 PM

catmman on August 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Yes, yes he did !
Levin’s on it ATM, too.

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 6:12 PM

P.S. Levinshow is an app, for all platforms

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM

So if Rommney becomes President you think Amtrak, USPS, Fannie and Freddie and the Student loan program will suddenly cease to exist?

O,Okay

(0-0)

Politricks on August 9, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Have you ever ridden Amtrak? Or at least lately, like the last 5 years?

How about the article covering the Postal Service?

How successful again was the Gov Mortgage program?

Government Student loan for school? How is that being called a damned failure?

They don’t have to cease to exist..but they sure as hell can change their crappy business model. OTOH, if it is it’s time to wither away, why the hell not?

Just like any other Federal property, the government can, if it really needed the revenue, sell off the business and let someone else take a crack at it.

No one said Uncle Sugar wasn’t going to keep his nose in somewhere, but we don’t have to make it a monopoly just because it has the USG seal on it.

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Mail delivery as a drag on economic growth? Interesting perspective to say the least. If only there was less mail delivery, this country could unleash the potential of Joe the Plumber or drill more oil? Not sure I follow.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Back when I started my own business 12 years ago, I relied heavily on the USPS to deliver my product, and many times they failed me spectacularly. Why do you think FedEx was created? Not to mention its later competitors? Because the USPS was a dinosaur. And they were a drag on my economic growth!

Over those past 12 years, the improvements in internet technology have enable me to almost totally eliminate the USPS from my business equation. I now only use them in my business about 10% of the time.

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 6:16 PM

The fact that we have to pay postage at all is denying me access to correspond with my penpal. At least that’s the logic of the free contraception freaks.

Scrappy on August 9, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Just went thru all 41 pages of the crosstabs. As usual, no breakdown of the polling sample, which means the survey is useless.

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2012/images/08/09/rel7b3.pdf

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Well, it did mention that the Republican questions were based on 419 “Republicans and R-leaning independents,” but doesn’t mention if those were out of the 911 registered voters or the 1011 adults. In any case, they show 90% of their respondents as registered, compared to about 78% of the eligible population.

Obviously they are way off on their sample compared to respected pollsters like Gallup based on Obama’s approval. Is it intentional? Who knows? But it is mighty darned coincidental that nearly all these polls associated with media skew the sample towards Democrats.

Note that the D+7 electorate in 2008 was a modern record, as was Democratic enthusiasm that year, yet many of these polls show D+10 or more in the final weighted sample.

Adjoran on August 9, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Customer service and quality control are horribly lacking.

They lost an overnight Express Mail package that was supposed to be delivered to my house. It took me six hours of non-stop dialing to get thru to my local post office, where the guy told me not to worry – they deliver packages to the wrong house “all the time – it’s no big deal – it’ll show up.”

Sure enough, the next day, a person from a couple of streets down, stopped by my house and hand delivered my missing box.

They’re inefficient and obsolete, and can go the way of the horse and buggy for all I care.

Hill60 on August 9, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 6:16 PM
Same here.
Only use it when smaller items need shipping.
It’s been awhile, but Stamps.com does come in handy. ;-)

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Mail delivery as a drag on economic growth?

Hell yeah. Have you seen the cost of delivering bulk mail over the last 30 years?

Bulk mail is still in place for most businesses to promote and a cheap marketing tool. Which is good for Government, because it collects taxes when people buy. Hence, yeah, even snail mail can generate revenue…IF you let it.

Interesting perspective to say the least.

Business 101. You’d think the Post. General and Congress would remember that.

If only there was less mail delivery, this country could unleash the potential of Joe the Plumber or drill more oil? Not sure I follow.

Then try to follow harder. Its not that less delivery would make money, but why is the Government keeping a business model that is routinely undercut by the private sector?

The whole reason to let the USG run it, or at least compete with the private sector, is because its supposedly a cheaper, last alternative for those that could use it…and they can’t get THAT right.

But you right, lets EXPAND the number of USPS locations and hire even MORE employees to work for them, including executive Bureaucrats that make 6 figures, plus perks for life. The best part? YOU the taxpaying chump gets to pick up the tab, because you know, Government is always flush with cash!

The USPS can’t fix itself without Congress passing its proposed changes to services. It’s Congress that’s the problem here.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Really, it’s the unionization of those workers, along with Congress. Lets be fair here.

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 6:25 PM

After about 40 years the USPS has still not figured out they never see the revenue they project when they raise their rates. For at least that long the USPS has been in a continual downward death spiral of rate increases that do not raise the planned for revenue followed by the solution of raising rates again.

That can only happen when government is either running the show or heavily subsidizing and regulating it.

Private enterprises that function this way fail long before 40 years go by.

farsighted on August 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

OT, sort of, re: taking over ALL industries …
Predictably, Media Matters says Drudge has fabricated what Zero actually said !
Good Lord !!

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/08/09/drudge-fabricates-obama-call-for-industry-bailo/189228

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Mail delivery as a drag on economic growth? Interesting perspective to say the least. If only there was less mail delivery, this country could unleash the potential of Joe the Plumber or drill more oil? Not sure I follow.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Back when I started my own business 12 years ago, I relied heavily on the USPS to deliver my product, and many times they failed me spectacularly. Why do you think FedEx was created? Not to mention its later competitors? Because the USPS was a dinosaur. And they were a drag on my economic growth!

Over those past 12 years, the improvements in internet technology have enable me to almost totally eliminate the USPS from my business equation. I now only use them in my business about 10% of the time.

Del Dolemonte on August 9, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Understand your changing supplier but that aspect of the service has grown 9%. It’s first class mail that is killing their numbers (operational losses).

lexhamfox on August 9, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Then try to follow harder. Its not that less delivery would make money, but why is the Government keeping a business model that is routinely undercut by the private sector?

Good points, but somewhat incomplete.

USPS and FedEx have both clearly indicated in Congressional hearings NO interest in fulfilling the mission of the postal service to deliver small-item mail to every address in the continental USA. Yes, the USPS is undercut in some areas, but only those areas that are more lucrative and require less capital – facilities – labor than the infrastructure needed for nation-wide mail delivery.

The answer has always been clear- charge a higher rate for rural customers while holding rates steady in high density population centers (think Democratic areas). Of course that would mean that Tea Party lovin’ grandma out in the boonies will have to pay more for her magazine subscriptions, Netflix subscription, and everything else delivered by mail. No wonder the GOP isn’t pushing for the type of reform that would truly give the postal service a sound economic footing. It’s easier to just blame it on unions- a feature of profitable postage services around the world- while ignoring reality.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 7:07 PM

After about 40 years the USPS has still not figured out they never see the revenue they project when they raise their rates. For at least that long the USPS has been in a continual downward death spiral of rate increases that do not raise the planned for revenue followed by the solution of raising rates again.

That can only happen when government is either running the show or heavily subsidizing and regulating it.

Private enterprises that function this way fail long before 40 years go by.

farsighted on August 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Hey, kind of like when proggies raise income taxes, or taxes on cigs or booze, or anything.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Why doesn’t Obama just sign an executive order outlawing private delivery services, paying bills online, or accepting any government form that isn’t filled out in long hand in triplicate? Think of it as the GM model applied to an even more useless union thugocracy.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM

let fedex, ups, etc start doing first class mail and rates will drop like a rock. we’ll be back to .13 stamps in 6 months.

chasdal on August 9, 2012 at 6:11 PM

FedEx and UPS employees are unionized and these companies are not nonprofit like the USPS. They might not mind taking some of the first class urban business but they won’t touch rural mail cause it’s not profitable.

Shay on August 9, 2012 at 7:18 PM

As usual they have over promised.

Bmore on August 9, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Oh, it will collapse, just like what most of the Federal Government is doing.

Bmore on August 9, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Good points, but somewhat incomplete.

USPS and FedEx have both clearly indicated in Congressional hearings NO interest in fulfilling the mission of the postal service to deliver small-item mail to every address in the continental USA. Yes, the USPS is undercut in some areas, but only those areas that are more lucrative and require less capital – facilities – labor than the infrastructure needed for nation-wide mail delivery.

Which is thier right. But again, let me clarify.

The current USPS model, does not work. If the parts of the business model aren’t lopped off, then why should anyone be surprised that the whole money tree is sick and dying off?

That being said, the people that get paid the big bucks, such as the Postmaster General, and the Congressional Oversite committee from both Houses…and those in the union rank n file are to be held to blame.

If the best section of the Service is *just* 1st Class, Money Orders, Media mail, convenience of locations (mostly) and price for THAT alone, then why not drop the rest, reduce the workforce some and watch the revenue come in from savings AND increase in Quality of Service?

Short answer; because its cheaper for them to just throw more of *your* money at it…and whatever cash you have left isn’t enough, try to borrow more from Beijing.

The answer has always been clear- charge a higher rate for rural customers while holding rates steady in high density population centers (think Democratic areas).

So basically, screw the rural areas, because they don’t count as much as some jerk from the Hills or Georgetown?

My, you Dems LOVE class warefare huh?

Of course that would mean that Tea Party lovin’ grandma out in the boonies will have to pay more for her magazine subscriptions, Netflix subscription, and everything else delivered by mail.

But unlike her iPod, iPad, iMummynDaddybuymystuff fellow citizens in the urban areas like NY LA DC and Boston, at least she’s paying for the damn service…yet again, since she’s more likely to be a taxpayer than the effete snobs you so champion here.

No wonder the GOP isn’t pushing for the type of reform that would truly give the postal service a sound economic footing. It’s easier to just blame it on unions- a feature of profitable postage services around the world- while ignoring reality.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 7:07 PM

This isn’t about political sides per se…you should be against it because the cost to the taxpayer especially now.

But lets ignore that much. HOW in the name of all thats good does the Union guarantee profitability, if the USPS is at a deficit now

Especially considering *who’s* picking up the tab?

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 7:28 PM

OT (still waiting on it’s own thread) … Levin just called O’s statement today:
‘this is fascist statism … Illegal, unethical and immoral’

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 7:33 PM

I went to the Post Office just this last Tuesday to return an item order that I had cancelled before it shipped but the merchant dropped the ball and delivered it SmartPost anyway — so I had to send it back unopened and unused for my refund. I go to the actual physical Post Office to conduct business maybe 3x a year — if that. I have no need otherwise.

The SmartPost delivered item had a “Return Service Guaranteed” shipping label with all the bar codes and whatnot on it as well as the company return address etc. It wasn’t a RMA — just a simple ‘Return To Sender’ which automatically triggers my refund once the merchant receives it back in unopened and unused condition. Those were the instructions that the merchant gave me. So, I went to my local Post Office and got in line to send it on its way back right away.

The Postal Employee who helped me tried to tell me that I had to pay a usual shipping fee as well as affix a new label that I needed to fill out. I pointed out that the original label was a “Return Service Guaranteed” label and that the merchant account pays the shipping on the return as this was a “Return To Sender”. The employee argued with me about the fee and the label so I asked for a supervisor. The USPS employee refused.

He refused to get a supervisor and said, “I know I’m right and the supervisors are busy so there’s no need for any.” I objected and the USPS employee retorted, “Sir, we’re busy. If you don’t like it you can go somewhere else and try or go back to the end of the line and be helped by someone else.” I was gobsmacked. The other employees adjacent to him were looking over and obviously eavesdropping during our exchange and they snickered when I was told to go elsewhere or to the end of the line if I was unsatisfied. They were not going to be of any help.

Unreal. I had not been on the receiving end of such callous customer service disregard since the last time I had to go to the DMV.

The USPS can go bankrupt and just close down and become a footnote of disastrous mismanagement and inefficiency in American history for all I care. They have certainly earned that distinction. The USPS federal union will make sure they’re taken care of when the USPS finally closes all of their doors for good — right? Meh — I could not care less.

I hardly — if ever — use the USPS for my needs anyways. Welfare recipients expecting their delivery of EBT cards, checks, and other freebies certainly might miss the USPS — but our ever efficient and totally caring and knowledgeable Government will find a way to make it work — I’m certain of it.

FlatFoot on August 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Hey, kind of like when proggies raise income taxes, or taxes on cigs or booze, or anything.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Government around the US — at the local, state, and federal level — are experiencing the cold hard reality that the “let’s just increase taxes” solution to funding their pet projects, social engineering fantasies, and welfare state utopia does not, will not, and cannot work.

For example, even if Obama got the “tax on the rich” he wants it will not raise anywhere near the revenue projected for a number of reasons. Not to mention that even best case estimates would barely put a dent in the deficit.

farsighted on August 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

The answer has always been clear- charge a higher rate for rural customers while holding rates steady in high density population centers (think Democratic areas).

So basically, screw the rural areas, because they don’t count as much as some jerk from the Hills or Georgetown?

My, you Dems LOVE class warefare huh?

No, it’s about charging rural customers for the actual cost of mail delivery to their addresses. As the system stands today, customers in populated areas cover the cost of mail delivery, while rural customers are receiving ‘subsidized’ service which is basically another entitlement or source of welfare. But I guess entitlements are ok when Tea Party members are the recipients.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

I THINK I’ve read the entire thread, but haven’t seen ANY reference to that loan required ONLY of the USPS.
Did I miss it ??

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Providing uniform rates for all customers wherever they live in the country is one of the reasons for being of the USPS. If it no longer provides that then there is little reason for the USPS to exist as a government protected, favored, and subsidized entity.

If it will no longer provide that service then lets get rid of it. Private enterprise can do the job better, cheaper, and more efficiently. I’m all for getting rid of the USPS as we have known it.

The other reason for the existence of USPS is extraordinary legal protection of packages against theft and tampering, provided by federal prosecution and penalties. If people want to use the USPS for that protection let them pay for it on a letter by letter, package by package basis.

farsighted on August 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

No, it’s about charging rural customers for the actual cost of mail delivery to their addresses. As the system stands today, customers in populated areas cover the cost of mail delivery, while rural customers are receiving ‘subsidized’ service which is basically another entitlement or source of welfare. But I guess entitlements are ok when Tea Party members are the recipients.

bayam on August 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Alright then, but I’m more for the idea that the *actual* cost of delivery is reflected: Not inflated for “fairness” decreased *unnecessarily* to try to undercut private industry.

If it’s actually .40 to mail a letter, I’m all for it. But if the cost can be decreased even by a PENNY to the end user, why not?

Conversely, if the actual cost to mail is a $1.40, then again, charge that price. Either the Market will support it or not.

Whenever you artificially tamper with the market it defeats the purpose of the tampering in the first place every time.

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 8:20 PM

It may be a good thing that USPS is so seriously on the skids. I have to say, I have a sentimental attachment to the Postal Service, largely as a link to a bygone era that was better in a number of ways.

But one of the Post Office’s chief functions in hamlets across America has, for a long time, been bringing a few important services of the federal government to the local populace. Unless you were on Social Security, the Post Office was the main (or only) federal government branch that you knew about. There was a friendliness to it, a sense of national unity and pride: a Post Office anywhere was the face of the US federal government.

That face has turned ugly and mean in the last 20 years, however. It is the opposite of friendly, it has nothing to do with community, neighbors, or local government, and it is now much better represented by the local “federal building,” where the many recipients of government benefits go to park in huge parking lots and stand in line for hand-outs. That building, you drive past and pray to God you never have to go into. Near or in the same building will be offices of the IRS and the FBI — and, if you’re lucky enough to live near the border, ICE.

The federal government is too big, does too much, and is a brooding encroachment on daily life now. It’s sad that the relic of the old Post Office vibe is no longer a reality about our federal government, but it’s the truth. Better to cut off the sentiment about a time gone by than be blinded by it and fail to get our national government back in its place.

J.E. Dyer on August 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Caught a mention of this from Trigon up the page … and I’ve been urging this for twenty years. First class postage for everything and every one. Book rates for books. Junkmailers pay FIRST CLASS POSTAGE for their JUNK. The pension issues need to be address also but for heavens sake are we not overwhelmed with JUNK MAIL?
Charge 50 cents for the first ounce (28 grams if you have to have metric) … and presorted stuff from non-profits get a ten cent brake.
STANDARDIZE envelopes … have digital markings on them for simple fast automatic robot sorting. How many different sizes and configurations of envelopes must there be? STANDARDIZE damn it!
Close a few post offices, merge service centers, etc.
Give them five years to reach solvency and there you go. If not then bust them up and deal them out to UPS, FedEX, DHL, et al.
And WHY must stuff be published in a local newspaper as mandated by law? What the hell is wrong with the internet?
/rant off

Missilengr on August 9, 2012 at 8:32 PM

The post office actually had an operating profit in the quarter. The only thing causing the loss is the insane and unique requirement by Congress that the USPS fully pre-pay the next 75 years of retirement benefits. No other organization on earth has such a ridiculous requirements.

AngusMc on August 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

I THINK I’ve read the entire thread, but haven’t seen ANY reference to that loan required ONLY of the USPS.
Did I miss it ??

pambi on August 9, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Are you talking about what Angus brought up? This is the reason the USPS is losing money right now. They have to sock away money for people who haven’t even begun to work for them yet. Unfortunately, the USPS is a big political favors handout for both sides of the aisle in Congress. It creates a bureacratic nightmare of cronies at the top and unions bleeding the taxpayers dry – the worst of all worlds. The few middle managers who are trying to actually figure out what to do have no power and no authority.

jya lai on August 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Hey, here’s an idea: Stop giving discounts to junk mailers!

Any real business would HATE an incredibly tiny customer base that harrassed the other 99.999999% of its customers. Private-sector email providers spend good money to stop Spammers and, when possible, put them in jail. The post office rolls out the red carpet for their real-world equivalents.

But the government has perverse incentives. Efficiency and customer service are the last things they want. Their goal is to to bloat their organization as much as possible; get as many union members on the payroll as they can, and keep them there for life.

logis on August 9, 2012 at 9:00 PM

J.E. Dyer on August 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Absolutely JE. Back in the day, the Post Office was as close to Federal interference as one could want or get.

But the PO, especially the carriers were supposed to be the “friendliest” face of the government outside your elected Representative. Now, not so much…

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 9:01 PM

They have to sock away money for people who haven’t even begun to work for them yet.

jya lai on August 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM

When I see something this stupid I immediately conclude government (politicians) and/or unions must be behind it.

Not even governments (politicians) follow this policy for their own employees. Politicians only do something like this so they can do something like increasing SS payroll taxes and then use the proceeds for other things while leaving IOUs in the “lockbox”.

So if this is the root of the problem the solution seems simple enough, even for politicians.

That is, unless the real objective is to deceive and shakedown tax payers.

So is this situation a) due to government stupidity or b) a government and union shakedown of taxpayers or c) both?

I’ll go with c), both — a perfect storm of government stupidity and a shakedown of taxpayers by politicians and unions.

farsighted on August 9, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Running the USPS should be easy money. My small local Post Office is humming with customers. Take the darn thing private. Its a money maker in the right hands.

steveracer on August 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Misleading.
The post office actually had an operating profit in the quarter. The only thing causing the loss is the insane and unique requirement by Congress that the USPS fully pre-pay the next 75 years of retirement benefits. No other organization on earth has such a ridiculous requirements.

AngusMc on August 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Yeah, and you know any other organization that was just handed perhaps a trillion in assets and a US wide monopoly in a business used almost all citizens? The USPS is a dinosaur that should be allowed to die this year.

Over50 on August 9, 2012 at 10:20 PM

The USPS is a dinosaur that should be allowed to die this year.

Over50 on August 9, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Not so much a dinosaur as just a potential worthwhile government project that’s lost it’s way.

With the budget it commands & the mission statement it supposed to fill, there is NO reason the USPS to run a deficit at any time.

You let a guy like ME run it for 4 years and see what can happen…It’ll be smaller, leaner AND a hell of a lot cheaper to the taxpayer while charging the end user a fair market rate.

Best of all, the surplus would actually go towards reducing the damn deficit AND budget because by the time the 4 years are up, it’ could be a totally independent (fiscally) agency.

BlaxPac on August 9, 2012 at 10:43 PM

US wide monopoly in a business used almost all citizens

True story: the US Postal service is one of the few explicit, specific powers granted to the feds in the Constitution. It can be run better than it currently is run, for sure. But no private company will take on its mission because delivering 50 cent envelopes to small towns and rural areas isn’t profitable.

AngusMc on August 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM

The simple solution is to privatize. Let private companies bid for the service in each zip code, with the proviso that they must serve all addresses. Those with more rural addresses would draw lower bids and be subject to higher rates – which should be regulated like utilities, on a cost-plus basis.

Eventually there will no longer be a need for first class mail at all, but until then it is in effect a utility.

Adjoran on August 9, 2012 at 11:33 PM

This is a sidebar, but the “job creation” graph that the Obama Campaign puts out intentionally excludes public sector jobs (including the post office) because there have been job losses there that would get in the way of their “29 straight months of job gains” message.

ITguy on August 9, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Where I live, we don’t get mail. We have to drive 4 mile to the PO.

To save money they cut the hours that the PO is open.

Now get this, they are now open from 9:30-3:30 M-F and
11am til noon on Sat.

I guess the FN bone heads that made that call don’t realize that their customers now can’t buy stamps or ship a package if they work fron say, 9 to 5.

They need some business minded people like some Walmart executive to turn that loser around and get rid of the FN postal worker’s union.

esnap on August 10, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Heh. Those lossEs seem to be unsustainable, despite post.

However, by Oct. 15, the agency’s cash crunch could result in a $100 million shortfall, according to David C. Williams, the service’s inspector general.

socalcon on August 10, 2012 at 12:04 AM

decertify the postal workers’ union

bring their ridiculously overinflated wages/compensation down to market value

stop offering ridiculous Ponzi pensions. Make it a defined contribution retirement plan

problem solved.

There’s a reason postal jobs are incredibly hard for average joes to get– they’re ridiculously overcompensated for mindless jobs that high school dropouts could perform

Labor costs have bankrupted the USPS, and the idiot republicans refuse to touch the issue

thurman on August 10, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Privatize the entire thing.

They are a sunken pit.

Schadenfreude on August 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Yeah, let’s get the execs from Pets.com or Enron to run it.

Privatization is not a panacea.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 10, 2012 at 2:55 AM

UPS should have never teamed up the USPS. UPS’s reputation is suffering because of it. I own a pack and ship center, and my customers are complaining that their packages are not arriving on time.

txsurveyor on August 9, 2012 at 5:50 PM

What else did anyone expect? Big Government has a looong history of frelling up free meals.

Free Market Enterprises succeed much more often than any government institution. They always have and they always will.

DannoJyd on August 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM

So the government can’t make a delivery service break even but we’re expected to believe that the government is going to make an industry as complicated as healthcare more cost efficient. No wonder people here think liberals are morons.

Scrappy on August 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Scrappy, there are actually LOTS and LOTS of reasons I think liberals are morons. Shall I enumerate? How about:

The fact that they can’t keep their paws off other people’s money. No, that makes them thieves, not morons.

The fact that they’re using foul trickery to circumvent our founding documents. No, that makes them traitors, not morons.

The fact that they use proxies, such as the criminal organization, A.C.O.R.N., to illegally register and vote multiple times. No, that makes them douche bags, not morons.

The fact that they demand President Romney produce his tax records, when their own guy, Obumbler, he of the Connecticut Social Security Number, forged Birth Certificate, sealed school, health, Selective Service, and tax records, won’t release ANY information. No, that just makes them phonies, not morons.

That Obozo and his minnows…whoops, minions, that is…think he’s going t slide all this BS past the American people. Surely that proves liberals are morons.

And, finally, they’re not trying to make things more efficient they’re trying to make things more commodious for their pals, the union leaders. What the unions have demonstrated time after time is that they only make things more costly. That makes them morons.

uncle_fweddy on August 10, 2012 at 3:12 PM