U.S. Postal Service looking for an emergency increase in stamp prices?

posted at 7:01 pm on September 7, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The United States Postal Service has been hemorrhaging money for years now, and with their credit from the U.S. Treasury completely maxed out they continue to operate at a loss while attempts at reform keep getting punted around Congress like so many political footballs. The USPS has had trouble implementing reforms even when it actually wants to, because the ‘quasi-governmental agency’ has so many rules and regulations governing its operations that competing special interests have plenty of opportunities to gum up the works.

A prime example comes in the form of the USPS recently mounting another effort to try to increase the price of stamps — you know, to actually reflect market forces and cover their costs of doing business. The federal government requires that “market dominant” (i.e., monopolistic and in this case government-sponsored entities, good grief) products’ annual prices increases do not exceed inflation, but the USPS can request an increase above the inflation rate from their regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission, in the event of special circumstances.

However, the lobbyists for businesses that frequently use the USPS — like greeting cards and magazines — feel compelled to take the widely available opportunities to chime in, because they in turn don’t want their own costs of doing business to rise. Via The Hill:

The troubled U.S. Postal Service on Thursday postponed a decision on whether to seek price increases.

The service is widely expected to ask the Postal Regulatory Commission this fall to allow it to raise stamp prices to deal with its massive financial problems.

“The Postal Service Governors met today at a regularly scheduled Board meeting. As part of the agenda, the Governors considered pricing issues, including the possibility of filing for price adjustments,” the USPS said in a statement. “The Governors continue to listen to stakeholders and have postponed final pricing decisions until the next scheduled Board of Governors meeting, Sept. 24 – 25, 2013.”

Lobbyists opposed to the increase had expected the Postal Service to seek as much as a 3 cent increase in the price of the 46 cent first-class stamp and a double digit increase in the average 27 cent cost of mailing magazines. The price increases would take place in January, if approved.

And hey, if keeping prices artificially low for their own niche ends means driving the USPS further into debt and insolvency, why should these businesses and their lobbyists care? If they have the opportunity to rent-seek, they are going to rent-seek, and meanwhile, unions are staunchly resistant to the idea of actually privatizing and/or selling off the USPS for good and turning it into a properly functioning business. Heaven forbid anyone ever have to compete based completely on their own merits and consumer preferences based on free market signals, am I right?


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Let em increase the price.

-

OT–

Has there been a post about Australia’s election?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/09/07/Australian-Landslide

CW on September 7, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Save Money: Each postal carrier to have two routes. RT1: Mon-Wed-Fri, RT2: Tues-Thurs-Sat. Result 1/2 the carriers, 1/2 the vehicles. Savings HUGE!

Dasher on September 7, 2013 at 7:04 PM

$1 stamps and the USPS would still hemorrhage billions annually.

Jeddite on September 7, 2013 at 7:09 PM

How about stop forcing the USPS to pre-fund future pensions for the next 75 years in a decade, like Congress has made them do since 2006. No other gov agency has to do this. It’s a slow, deliberate death. They’d be having a surplus right now otherwise.

mythicknight on September 7, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Read my lips. No new price hikes.

bugsy on September 7, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Having recently purchased 2 or 3 hundred “FOREVER” stamps for office purposes can I assume now assume they’ll decide “well, maybe not so forever” ?

Marcus on September 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Let FedEx and UPS bid for the contract. Everybody wins.

SteveInRTP on September 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Let FedEx and UPS bid for contract.

SteveInRTP on September 7, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Want high fuel prices?

Get higher cost of EVERYTHING!

Wander on September 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Incompetent swine, go under already.

Schadenfreude on September 7, 2013 at 7:30 PM

So which is more likely to happen first: Obama’s mug on a USPS postage stamp or on a newly-issued $1 trillion bill?

ShainS on September 7, 2013 at 7:34 PM

And hey, if keeping prices artificially low for their own niche ends means driving the USPS further into debt and insolvency

Actually, what’s driving USPS into debt and insolvency is the requirement that they pre-fund all of their benefits for future retirees.

Stoic Patriot on September 7, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Shut down the US Postal Service.

Return to the US Post Office Department.

Pay them on the GS scale.

Same benefits.

Same requirements.

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

The US postal service hiked its overseas rate not long ago. This means I don’t buy stuff from America. (Unless it’s something like books on Kindle, where there is no postal cost.) Increasing domestic rates will have the same sort of double effect: suppressing economic activity and driving the movement to new technology alternatives.

The real driver of the cost of doing business by mail with Americans is that the US postal service is a political make-work institution. It exists to pay some people wages whether they are effective or not.

That’s why talk about an “emergency” increase in prices is a joke. A government monopoly make-work machine is going to waste money, increase prices and constrict economic activity because that is what it does.

David Blue on September 7, 2013 at 7:42 PM

OT – new sheriff:

Drudge

Australia ‘Under New Management’…

Conservative Leader Sweeps Into Power…

Vows to cut taxes, reduce deficit, crack down on asylum

Schadenfreude on September 7, 2013 at 7:42 PM

How about stop forcing the USPS to pre-fund future pensions for the next 75 years in a decade, like Congress has made them do since 2006. No other gov agency has to do this. It’s a slow, deliberate death. They’d be having a surplus right now otherwise.

mythicknight on September 7, 2013 at 7:09 PM

As problematic as that is for the USPS, at least they are being required to take care of their future pension responsibilities, rather than pretending that all the money will be there magically in the future.

Look at all the problems Detroit has with being unable to fund their pensions. I live in Chicago, and both the city and state here are on the road to having similar problems with pensions as Detroit is having now. Given that USPS isn’t likely to see increased use of mail in the future, it’s probably best that they pre-fund future pensions now rather than putting it off till the distant future.

J.S.K. on September 7, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Have any of you actually bought any stamps in the last few years? If so, do you have a landline telephone? You must have internet access to even read this, but do you have a Bell 300 modem or are you updated with a 1200 baud special? Do you pay your bank regularly for new checks? Do you consult your almanac and encyclopedia on your bookcase for updated information about the world around you? If so, you are basically screwing yourself (and those behind you in grocery lines with your checks).

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Keep doing what your are doing USPS at some future price point you will be committing suicide as we all find alternatives to your sub par over priced customer service model.

steveracer on September 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM

The only good/bad idea they have done in the last decade was “Forever Stamps”

..of course since it’s illegal to resale them it never became a commodity – otherwise I would have bought at least 30k worth.

And….this is the same USPS that gave over 10 million to Lance Armstrong for him to impress bicyclists to endorse people using the post office…to mail letters…what suckers and jokes there!

I bet ole steroid Lance laughed his off off all the way to the bank!

That alone should speak to their business acumen..

celt on September 7, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Actually, what’s driving USPS into debt and insolvency is the requirement that they pre-fund all of their benefits for future retirees.

Stoic Patriot on September 7, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Hardly. The real culprit is the drop in the amount of First Class mail, which has always been the main source of income for the USPS. The high point was somewhere around 2000, but the volume has dropped almost 40% since then (I believe the loss is somewhere between 30-40 billion pieces annually)

No business can survive the loss of 40% of it’s business and still survive. The benefits argument is made by APWU and liberals to try and prevent any layoffs or changes to union contracts.

PetecminMd on September 7, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Judging from what I get in the mail you could cut delivery to once a week. Although I’d need a much larger mail box. All that junk mail wouldn’t fit in the one I have now.

Oldnuke on September 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM

….again?

KOOLAID2 on September 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM

I believe our postal carrier is one of the laziest people on the face of the Earth. How many more are like him?

Mr. Arrogant on September 7, 2013 at 8:01 PM

You can do whatever you want with the price of stamps. If no one’s buying them it won’t make a bit of difference.

Oldnuke on September 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Privatize

Philly on September 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM

A prime example comes in the form of the USPS recently mounting another effort to try to increase the price of stamps

So….. Until we get realistic about the need for six day delivery. I’m not interested in listening to raising the price of stamps yet again.

Yes, I know most of the resistance comes from the unions but virtually no American requires six-day delivery. Three day would be adequate. Let’s talk about cutting costs there before we raise the price of “forever” again.

Happy Nomad on September 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM

…29 hours a week!

KOOLAID2 on September 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM

celt on September 7, 2013 at 7:55 PM

It is not illegal to resell US postage stamps.

Matter of fact there is a growing cottage industry doing just that.

We are the sole remaining country where one can use a postage stamp issued in 1860 and use it today to mail a letter , in combination with other stamps to make the current one-ounce rate.

I attend stamp shows all over this state and nearby states…part hobby, part shopping for postage. You can buy mint, unused, perfectly good US postage stamps at face value or less…up to fifty percent less…depends on what the dealer paid when he got them. Buy a major collection, as a dealer…you never pay more than one-quarter maybe a third of face value or catalog value. Pay more and you’ve killed your profit.

A good collector never pays catalog value…unless we are talking high-end stamps…in the above $500 range or well above for a single stamp at auction.

And, some collectors only collect full sheets.

The current economy has hundreds of such collectors liquidating their collections, or duplicate portions of their collections.

A lot of these mint, unused stamps may have minor flaws…minor tears or stamp hinge marks on the back, so for most collectors these are “junk.” But still perfectly good, still perfectly legal, to use on letters and packages.

I do it all the time. Using stamps issued in the 70′s and 80′s is cheaper than buying the same “postage” today at the local post office. And my customers love it…especially the overseas customers.

I haven’t purchased a new self-adhesive sticker from the post office, other than a singe here and there for my own collection, in years.

And the USPS will still deliver them, packages, too, anywhere in the world, with money they received well over two decades ago, if not longer.

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM

FedEx mad the case against the post office in 1982.

simkeith on September 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Judging from what I get in the mail you could cut delivery to once a week. Although I’d need a much larger mail box. All that junk mail wouldn’t fit in the one I have now.

Oldnuke on September 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM

What pisses me off is that I get no “real” mail on Saturdays or Mondays. Only the bulk mail stuff that has a secondary priority. Do away with those days and the labor costs of delivering six days a week.

Oh wait! That means less money for the unions. Let’s go ahead and pretend that Americans need mail delivery six days even though most of us pay our bills online.

Happy Nomad on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

The Postal Service is actually one of those rare enumerated powers in the Constitution that the federal government is supposed to take care of. And it’s a vital service, even in the face of new technologies like the Internet. It’s also not a viable option to let FedEx or UPS start carrying the mail, because there are so many parts of the country that it is not profitable to deliver a first class mail piece to.

Instead, let’s stop pretending it’s a private business. Make it the Postal Department again, a plain ‘ole federal agency. And let’s pay for it by eliminating all of the departments that find authorization nowhere in the enumerated powers of the Constitution, from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

I, too, advocate for the US Post Office Department…a Cabinet Post, one of the few enumerated in the Constitution.

[See above, 7:39 PM.]

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM

average 27 cent cost of mailing magazines

Another corporate subsidy for a dying industry.

slp on September 7, 2013 at 8:25 PM

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Interesting and informative; thanks, coldwarrior …

ShainS on September 7, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Thankfully, with the advent of the internet, I can pay bills online. Who needs stamps.

rickv404 on September 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM

The only people who want USPS mail are old doddering fools. Excommunicate the whole sorry lot of them.

antisense on September 7, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Instead, let’s stop pretending it’s a private business. Make it the Postal Department again, a plain ‘ole federal agency.

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Agreed. But after 200 years of technolgical evolution shouldn’t we stop and ask what we expect of the USPS? They used to deliver twice a day. With the advent of other means of commnication, they mostly deliver junk mail and birthday cards.

If we stop pretending it’s a private business, can we stop pretending that the current model of delivery and service works too? Between on-line USPS services for address changes and vacation holds and on-line bill paying….. it has literally been years since I have had to stand in line at the DMV-like post office other than to pick up packages.

Happy Nomad on September 7, 2013 at 8:30 PM

charge $0.47 for each email.
then move on to Twitter and Facebook.

Kenosha Kid on September 7, 2013 at 8:32 PM

rickv404 on September 7, 2013 at 8:29 PM
antisense on September 7, 2013 at 8:30 PM

There are still many who buy and sell and mail things at one ounce or maybe two ounces per package/letter…and until they develop teletransportation for the home, using the mail is the only way to move product or purchases. Fedex and UPS, DHL and the rest will not normally handle a one ounce package (and there is that federal issue about doing so) unless you are willing to pay a lot more than the current postage rate.

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Gee, first they might stop running advertisements on how mean old Congress is forcing them to run at a loss. Second, can anyone tell me how their world will end if Saturday delivery stops. I’m finding it hard to believe that this will cause some huge public outcry as I have been lead to believe.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM

OT – new sheriff:

Drudge…

Schadenfreude on September 7, 2013 at 7:42 PM

….thanks!

KOOLAID2 on September 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM

No. They can start cutting back overpromised pensions.

rdbrewer on September 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Oh, but I must point out that I use their Priority Service every once and a while and I am very very satisfied with it. I wonder if that is a losing proposition also.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Hear, hear!

pannw on September 7, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Have any of you actually bought any stamps in the last few years? If so, do you have a landline telephone? You must have internet access to even read this, but do you have a Bell 300 modem or are you updated with a 1200 baud special? Do you pay your bank regularly for new checks? Do you consult your almanac and encyclopedia on your bookcase for updated information about the world around you? If so, you are basically screwing yourself (and those behind you in grocery lines with your checks).

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Ummm… I’ve bought some stamps. So you’re saying that if I had the newest Apple i-thingie, I could get my facts about the world around me from dKos and HuffPo, then I’d be less likely to be “screwing yourself (and those behind you in the grocery lines with your checks)”?? WTF?

bofh on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Everybody else has to cut back, cut back, cut back. But not these people! No, if the economy and tax base tanks you have to pay more. Because heaven forbid they cut back too.

rdbrewer on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

And, nearly half of the population do not have access to the internet nor have a home computer…or laptop…or Iphone…notebook, tablet, whatever.

And many are not doddering old coots…

Just do not have it, or cannot afford it, or simply do not want it.

Mail, for them, is a primary form of communication, still.

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Instead of raising the price of a stamp, how about increasing the amount that postal workers have to contribute to their healthcare plans, and their retirement plans? Why is normal business practice for private industry off-limits for the USPS?

Oh my, have I committed blasphemy?

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

…even though most of us pay our bills online.

Happy Nomad on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Second look at buggy whips?

and for the paying, those of us who can — we’ll survive, somehow.

If only they, the elites, could shackle us with high energy costs, what?

Kaboom cereal (h/t Ace) and gruel and mud pies.

Will this nonsense end in my lifetime or will my lifetime end?

mickytx on September 7, 2013 at 8:45 PM

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

The USPS is not private industry.

Nor is it a government department.

Make it a government department, say, the US Post Office Department, and make the head of it Postmaster General of the United States, and make all the employees Civil Service, subject to the same pay and bebefits, and requirements, regulations and restrictions as all the rest of the civil service bunch…could save billions right there.

Then kill SATURDAY DELIVERY.

Then step back to local sub-stations and delivery to Post Offices only…unless one pays an extra fee for home delivery.

Rural delivery may be a problem though…

But, such worked for most of our postal history, going back to 1847 when stamps were first issued…home delivery and rural free delivery (RFD…as in Mayberry RFD) are 20th century innovations. prior to those innovations, “general delivery” to a local post office, was the norm. It was well into the second half of the 20th century in a lot of America. Still is, in rural or remote locations.

I have letters addressed simply Mr. Jacob Smith, Elmore, Ohio, or The Standard Corporation, Cincinnati, noother addressee information at all, from the 1940′s and 50′s…the recipients had to walk all the way down to the post office to pick them up, too. Won’t kill us if we did that sort of thing again. Would cut down on a lot of junk mail, too.

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Hell yes I have a land line, I apparently live in a bunker neighborhood impenetrable by cell service no matter who provides it. I have stamps in my wallet and I do write checks. What’s your point?

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Ummm… I’ve bought some stamps. So you’re saying that if I had the newest Apple i-thingie, I could get my facts about the world around me from dKos and HuffPo, then I’d be less likely to be “screwing yourself (and those behind you in the grocery lines with your checks)”?? WTF?

bofh on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

I guess you either don’t shop at stores or are a very patient person (with regard to check writing Luddites in line in front of you). Also, your assumption about dKos and HuffPo being the only destinations on the Internet (even though we are talking on Hot Air) is absurd on the face of it!

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 9:04 PM

“Forever” just ain’t what it used to be…

viking01 on September 7, 2013 at 9:05 PM

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

According to the poor poor pitiful me ads they run, they are required to put more in their pension fund than anyone else in the world.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 9:10 PM

Cindy Munford, I never dreamed I would go against you. Do you have some special attachment to the Postal Service?

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 9:11 PM

No, but it’s just one of those things where I believe they could provide a service for at least break even costs. There are still far to many people who don’t do the computer thing. The Husband hates on line banking while admitting that the banks transfer funds via the net. My aunt wouldn’t even attempt the computer because she was sure she would break it. The time is coming but it isn’t here yet.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Cindy Munford, read your response and fully respect it.

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 9:39 PM

I have a landline and stamps and I still wish the post office would go away.

Philly on September 7, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Is it okay for me to just scream in frustration now? I just had one crapola of a workday, and today’s articles are just more sh!!t icing on a crap sandwich.

The USPS is garbage, and anyone with at least half a brain knows it. Hmmm…what does that say for those pinheads in Congress who support it? Let Fed Ex take over. If I recall correctly, UPS is union, and you’re just going to have the same crap sandwich eventually with different bread.

sage0925 on September 7, 2013 at 9:48 PM

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

According to the poor poor pitiful me ads they run, they are required to put more in their pension fund than anyone else in the world.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 9:10 PM

That’s the amount that the USPS corporation has to put into a sequestered fund for pensions, but I suspect it all comes from the USPS. If the employees paid something for their healthcare premiums and pension premiums (like most of us) then USPS’s financial situation would improve greatly.

Being greedy-union types I suspect the employees get all fringies for free.

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2013 at 9:54 PM

CW on September 7, 2013 at 7:04 PM

If things get worse in the USA, perhaps our friends in Australia will let us Conservatives immigrate?

Decoski on September 7, 2013 at 9:57 PM

All I know is, whenever I see that a package is being shipped USPS, rather than UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc, I groan, knowing the chances of my stuff being damaged, misdirected, delayed or just lost have gone way up.

I used to send Christmas cards to friends around the country and world. When the stamp rates went up past what I considered a reasonable rate, I stopped. I know I’m not the only one. These days, I might mail one or two things a month.

salmonczar on September 7, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Cliffie Clavin and “Hello, Newman!” could not be reached for comment.

This story is a non-starter for the average USPS consumer, as most stamps in general usage now are the so-called “Forever” stamps with no printed price on the stamp itself.

Have to admit, I still use snail mail (and stamps) several times a month. And in recent years the USPS has put out some great special issue stamps, like the Johnny Cash one they did earlier this year. And their great Ray Charles stamp is coming out later this month.

Del Dolemonte on September 7, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Ceteris Paribus on September 7, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Thanks, I see your point also, I just have the luxury of straddling the continuing to try to live in this century and old fuddy duddy age groups.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 11:11 PM

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Hadn’t consider that, so it’s just us taxpayers footing the bill. Nice.

Cindy Munford on September 7, 2013 at 11:12 PM

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

This

deepdiver on September 7, 2013 at 11:53 PM

The Postal Service is actually one of those rare enumerated powers in the Constitution that the federal government is supposed to take care of. And it’s a vital service, even in the face of new technologies like the Internet. It’s also not a viable option to let FedEx or UPS start carrying the mail, because there are so many parts of the country that it is not profitable to deliver a first class mail piece to.

Instead, let’s stop pretending it’s a private business. Make it the Postal Department again, a plain ‘ole federal agency. And let’s pay for it by eliminating all of the departments that find authorization nowhere in the enumerated powers of the Constitution, from the Department of Education to the Department of Agriculture, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

hear hear…

equanimous on September 8, 2013 at 12:50 AM

They need an increase so the Salaries of Union members can go up.
No more price hike. Live within your means like the rest of us are trying to do.

Delsa on September 8, 2013 at 1:09 AM

Government monopolies and labor unions are like the Soviet Union and work about as well.

flataffect on September 8, 2013 at 2:06 AM

Great article Erika. You got it right. The post office isn’t allowed to make money. Congress has turned them into yet another subsidy for big business at the tax payers expense.

DFCtomm on September 8, 2013 at 2:06 AM

One of the things I looked at a few years ago was the power of Congress to establish a multi-company postal system.

The US started out as a multi-company system run with interservice exchange agreements between companies for the delivery of mail across the early US. That pre-dates the US and Ben Franklin who was Postmaster General oversaw that system. It wasn’t government run, but had government requirements on exchange of mail and service to citizens.

It is not unusual for the US to have multiple Federally granted licenses to haul and deliver mail, with the most recent example being the Air Mail system which was based on performance of aircraft and timeliness of delivery with one engine out on the aircraft. Believe it or not, that spurred the development of a twin engine aircraft that could lose one engine at high altitude and still reach its destination: DC-3.

There is no reason to have one company do mail service.

What is needed is a requirement that all service areas within a region getting service, but that can be done through cooperative inter-exchange requirements set by government contract. While we bemoan advertising junk mail, would you pay for a stamp that had advertising on it and cost a fraction of what a stamp costs today? And have the same guarantee of delivery and service, but without the USPS running the show or even being a part of it?

Remember that service requirements are what matters and for those areas so far off the beaten path that no one can deliver mail to, like in the rural mountains of AK, AR, NC and others… well the USPS doesn’t DELIVER TO THEM ANYWAYS and people pick up their mail at the post office. Does it matter WHO runs the post office so long as the mail is available there to those who currently get no service because the USPS doesn’t deliver there NOW?

And if that is a sticking point, then the USPS can be turned into a much smaller rump organization to run the most rural parts of the mail system until rural citizens get fed up with it and decide to replace it with something BETTER on their own as a charity or private company.

Or as one of the comments was just a bit ago by one of the stalwarts here:

Fine sure, whatevs, but can’t private money do that? Why does the state have to be involved?

libfreeordie on September 1, 2013 at 10:39 AM

ajacksonian on September 8, 2013 at 7:18 AM

Longtime postal sorter here..we’re being told our biggest “business” is packages now.
We can’t increase stamp rate without Postal Rate Commission approval.
46 cents is still a bargain and if we have to pay that stupid
pre-funding for 75 years (!) maybe a substantial increase for that will help knock the deficit down.

Govt employees salaries have been frozen for several years–exc the military.
More machines, less people; facilities closed down and consolidated.
Early retirement. All kinds of cost cutting, but yes people paying bills online (I do it too) has an effect.

USPS is trying to get cluster boxes in more and more places. Delivery to your door? Naah, go down the street to the cluster boxes or drive a few miles to the post office…

We still do have lots of people getting newspapers and magazines
through the mail…birthday cards, notices for jury duty, postcards (these days I guess facebook cuts into that for personal communication) et al.

raccoonradio on September 8, 2013 at 8:24 AM

The problem with the USPS is not that it has to fully-fund its employee pension plan like every private company that still has a defined-benefit pension plan; it is that it has to fully-fund its government union employee pension plan.

The solution isn’t to make it once again like every other government entity because all that does is turn the USPS pension plan into Illinois’ public pension plans; it is to axe said pension plan like so many private companies have once they came under the fully-fund mandate. Of course, since it’s government and union, that won’t happen.

Steve Eggleston on September 8, 2013 at 8:58 AM

coldwarrior on September 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

+++++

Old Country Boy on September 8, 2013 at 9:19 AM

The Postal Service is actually one of those rare enumerated powers in the Constitution that the federal government is supposed to take care of.

Shump on September 7, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Actually, it’s an enumerated power that the federal government is allowed to take care of. The Constitution gives Congress the power to establish post offices and post roads, but nothing in the Constitution requires Congress to do so.

J.S.K. on September 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Two things will fix the USPS…. simple…..

1. Get rid of the levy that the Congress has put on them. Not Constitutional
2. Privatize the whole organization, unions or not.

Simple. Too bad the simpletons in DC won’t do either one. A lot of postal workers will be losing their jobs thanks to the incompetent boobs in the legislature.

ultracon on September 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM

A lot of good solutions offered here by people who know the USPS.

As a consumer, and I don’t know how many others have noticed this, I do not really read physical mail any more, and I rarely send physical letters. If a business wants to get my attention, they need to do it on-line. even local coupon-clipping has gone on-line. Physical mail, outside of packages, is an anachronism.

The residual users of the system are government entities, local charities, credit card companies and the legal profession.

As for the stamp rate hike, it won’t be used for normal business reasons, but to bolster some part of their unfeasible operations. It’s just prolonging the agony.

virgo on September 8, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Use standard business concepts:

1. Move to a defined contribution retirement plan.
2. Cut 6 day delivery to 4 or 5 days per week to compensate for
change in volume.
3. Cut staffing to reflect the change in volume.
4. Freeze hiring, promote early retirement, without huge giveaways,
and layoffs if necessary.
5. Base raises and promotions on productivity and work performance.

If any business entity had a 40% change in volume, they would have to change their day to day operation to reflect the change. It could ultimately become a revenue center, instead of a cost center if modeled on intelligent business practices.

Dog bites on September 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM

unions are staunchly resistant to the idea of actually privatizing and/or selling off the USPS for good and turning it into a properly functioning business

The dirty little secret, and you can google it till your heart is content, is that the Postal Service actually profited $700 million in the last 4 years. Crazy am I? Heres the scoop:

There is a 2006 Congressional mandate put on the Postal Service thats in the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006” to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees, a 75 year liability over a 10 year period. No other agency or corporation is required to do this to this extent. This provision costs the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year. If you took out the onerous pre-funding mandate, the Postal Service actually shows a $700 million profit over the last four years instead of the $20 billion loss.
This cash is sitting there for congress to borrow over and over, hence, congress’ inactivity to alter anything with this cash cow.

malkinmania on September 8, 2013 at 2:34 PM

I bought a book of 12 forever stamps when they first came out. I think I have 6 or 7 still left! I don’t pay anything by mail, the only mail I receive is “junk” mail, everything else is electronic.
The USPS is outdated, and if they don’t modernize, they will go onto the trash bin of history.

p51d007 on September 8, 2013 at 9:05 PM