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The USPS

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
In 2006, during a lame duck session of Congress, the Republicans pushed through a bill that requires the USPS to fund their pension for 75 years. This is the only requirement of this type in the entire world. Absent this requirement, the USPS would be making a profit this year and every year.

This was a calculated effort to put the USPS out of business and it appears to be working very effectively.

Pretty soon we'll all have to pay $10 to send a letter by FedEx. Thank you, GOP. Not.
post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

In 2006, during a lame duck session of Congress, the Republicans pushed through a bill that requires the USPS to fund their pension for 75 years. This is the only requirement of this type in the entire world. Absent this requirement, the USPS would be making a profit this year and every year.

This was a calculated effort to put the USPS out of business and it appears to be working very effectively.

Pretty soon we'll all have to pay $10 to send a letter by FedEx. Thank you, GOP. Not.

I agree it is probably a back-door way to end the USPS. The simpler way would be to simply repeal the monopoly on first class mail delivery. That said, your contention that sending a letter would cost $10 is almost certainly wrong.

In the end the right thing to do here is to end the postal monopoly and let private carriers compete for the diminishing mail volume. Sure, let the USPS compete also, but also stop funding/subsidizing/bailing then out with tax money.

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post #3 of 25
The bill was cosponsored by 2 Democrats: Danny Davis (IL) and Henry Waxman (CA).

It never could have passed without Democrat support.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #4 of 25
Who would you want to pay the worker's pensions then, if not the employer that promised them that pension the day it hired them???
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

Who would you want to pay the worker's pensions then, if not the employer that promised them that pension the day it hired them???

There's no way any employer needs to hold any worker's pension 75 years in advance. The worker they have to hold money for today hasn't even been born yet.
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzguru View Post

The bill was cosponsored by 2 Democrats: Danny Davis (IL) and Henry Waxman (CA).

It never could have passed without Democrat support.

No bills can pass without at least some Democratic support. That doesn't make them Democratic supported bills, even with Democrats' names on them. What was the vote on this bill?
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

There's no way any employer needs to hold any worker's pension 75 years in advance. The worker they have to hold money for today hasn't even been born yet.

I get the impression you're not real clear on how pension "funding" works.
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From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that!" -...
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post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

In 2006, during a lame duck session of Congress, the Republicans pushed through a bill that requires the USPS to fund their pension for 75 years. This is the only requirement of this type in the entire world. Absent this requirement, the USPS would be making a profit this year and every year.

This was a calculated effort to put the USPS out of business and it appears to be working very effectively.

Pretty soon we'll all have to pay $10 to send a letter by FedEx. Thank you, GOP. Not.

The USPS loses billions every year, seemingly no matter what. It's organization is beyond weird...semi-independent, but with taxpayer support. It's both a business and an agency. It's "business" model simply doesn't work and is based on a product that loses demand every year.

Your comment on profitability appears inaccurate. According to what I found, excluding healthcare and pre-funding payments for the last quarter would still have netted a quarterly loss of 200 million. That means even without the "Republican" bill, the USPS would still be losing at least 1 billion annually.

All that said, the USPS needs to be restructured for todays' times. Mail is no longer that primary way people communicate and do business. People don't write letters. Most people pay bills online (with more starting to every day). UPS and FedEx are the companies of choice for packages. There are too many small post offices. We don't need Saturday delivery.

Personally, I check my mail no more often than once a week. I do so for mailed bills, pharmacy shipments and greeting cards. That's really about it. I suspect many people are now the same way.
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post #9 of 25

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #10 of 25
If something isn't meant to make a profit, conservatives apparently become very confused and want to immediately axe it. They can't think of the utility something provides unless it's raking in the big bucks. It would be a shame to have the USPS disappear and have all forms of written communication delivery rely upon the whims of private entities that do NOT work for the people--the loyalties of corporations are to themselves.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

If something isn't meant to make a profit, conservatives apparently become very confused and want to immediately axe it. They can't think of the utility something provides unless it's raking in the big bucks. It would be a shame to have the USPS disappear and have all forms of written communication delivery rely upon the whims of private entities that do NOT work for the people--the loyalties of corporations are to themselves.



Government-subsidized entities don't "work for the people." Businesses however rely on customers for their very existence.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

If something isn't meant to make a profit, conservatives apparently become very confused and want to immediately axe it.

Demonstrate that, please.

Quote:
They can't think of the utility something provides unless it's raking in the big bucks.

See above.

Quote:
It would be a shame to have the USPS disappear and have all forms of written communication delivery rely upon the whims of private entities that do NOT work for the people--the loyalties of corporations are to themselves.

It's quite amusing to see what you lefties think is a crying shame. Forcing Catholic churches to pay for the morning after pill? No problem. Strangling employers with oppressive regulations and taxes? Good. Soaking the rich? Excellent. But suggest that the post office needs to restructure, and wow...then the tears flow.

Secondly, those evil corporations of which you speak do a better job than the USPS. They are faster, and often cheaper. I'm not advocating getting rid of the USPS, but it needs reform to compete in this century.
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I'm not advocating getting rid of the USPS...

Why not?

P.S. For the record I'm not pushing for explicitly ending the USPS. I would simply do two things: 1) Repeal their monopoly, 2) Stop government subsidization of it.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #14 of 25
Lately I've been reading some works by Lysander Spooner (one of the major influences of Murray N. Rothbard, the father of modern libertarianism), who started a direct competitor to the USPS called the American Letter Mail Company. It was promptly shut down by the government when it proved to be a successful challenge to their monopoly.

Interestingly enough, even though it was shut down after only a few years, it did have the effect of temporarily driving down prices of government-delivered mail.

I think allowing competition in this and many other areas where the government has a monopoly would be beneficial to all, driving down prices and increasing quality.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970[LIST

[*]End Saturday delivery[*]Close Post Offices [*]Make it easier to buy postage online[/LIST];2047510]Why not?

P.S. For the record I'm not pushing for explicitly ending the USPS. I would simply do two things: 1) Repeal their monopoly, 2) Stop government subsidization of it.

I don't know. The problem is that breaking up monopolies is not always good. My grandfather and father saw this first hand with Bell Telephone. My grandfather actually worked for American Telephone (worked on the WTC phones, incidentally) and has told many people that when Bell broke up, it led to a lot of service problems that simply didn't exist previously. Fragmentation, I suppose.

My thinking is that ending it's monopoly on letter carrying might lead to its demise and saddle people in many areas with subpar service. As for subsidies, I'm frankly not sure it can exist without them. It's basically a government agency, and we know how those are just AWESOME at making a profit!

In the end, I think the best option is really to reform it and retool it for this century. Stop running ads touting the security for mail (literally...have you seen these?) and do this:
  • End Saturday delivery
  • Make buying postage online easier
  • Close post offices that are near other large ones.
  • Compete more in the shipping/packing industry. Go after UPS and FedEx.
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post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I don't know. The problem is that breaking up monopolies is not always good.

First, doubtful. Second, there's a difference between the government breaking up a so-called monopoly and the government ending statutory monopoly protection of some entity. I'm talking abut the latter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

My grandfather actually worked for American Telephone (worked on the WTC phones, incidentally) and has told many people that when Bell broke up, it led to a lot of service problems that simply didn't exist previously.

Possibly true short-term. Long-term we seem to be better off. But again, this is an apples/oranges comparison. The example you are talking about is the government forcibly breaking up an alleged monopoly vs. ending statutory monopoly protections of some entity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

My thinking is that ending it's monopoly on letter carrying might lead to its demise...

Probably.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

...and saddle people in many areas with subpar service.

Possibly, but probably not. Well I suppose it depends on what is meant by "many" and "sub-par." Would some areas receive differing levels of service? Of course! But this is no different than almost anything else today. Go to a rural town, for example, and you might find that there's only 1 place to get your oil changed instead of 3. There might be only 2 drug stores instead of 5. Probably only 3 restaurants (and not open 24 hours) instead of 10.

In the end it is highly doubtful there would be no services available at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

As for subsidies, I'm frankly not sure it can exist without them.

Probably not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

It's basically a government agency,

Yep.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

In the end, I think the best option is really to reform it and retool it for this century.
  • End Saturday delivery
  • Make buying postage online easier
  • Close post offices that are near other large ones.
  • Compete more in the shipping/packing industry. Go after UPS and FedEx.

De-monopolization and de-subsidization would probably achieve ALL of those things...pretty quickly in fact.

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

First, doubtful. Second, there's a difference between the government breaking up a so-called monopoly and the government ending statutory monopoly protection of some entity. I'm talking abut the latter.




Possibly true short-term. Long-term we seem to be better off. But again, this is an apples/oranges comparison. The example you are talking about is the government forcibly breaking up an alleged monopoly vs. ending statutory monopoly protections of some entity.




Probably.




Possibly, but probably not. Well I suppose it depends on what is meant by "many" and "sub-par." Would some areas receive differing levels of service? Of course! But this is no different than almost anything else today. Go to a rural town, for example, and you might find that there's only 1 place to get your oil changed instead of 3. There might be only 2 drug stores instead of 5. Probably only 3 restaurants (and not open 24 hours) instead of 10.

In the end it is highly doubtful there would be no services available at all.




Probably not.




Yep.




De-monopolization and de-subsidization would probably achieve ALL of those things...pretty quickly in fact.

I just don't know. In fact, the more I think about it the more I'm convinced that there would be no USPS in a short time. We can't forget this thing is run by government bureaucrats. I seriously doubt they'd have any clue how to actually compete. If we privatized it, I think it would fail without being completely rebuilt from the ground up.
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post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I just don't know.

Yep. We can't know what the future will be for sure. The market though tends to be a great mechanism for delivering what we want and need.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

In fact, the more I think about it the more I'm convinced that there would be no USPS in a short time.

I'm nearly 100% convinced of that!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

We can't forget this thing is run by government bureaucrats. I seriously doubt they'd have any clue how to actually compete.

Agreed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

If we privatized it, I think it would fail without being completely rebuilt from the ground up.

Probably. But, again, private companies would fill in the gaps.

Understand that my concern is not about the USPS at all. I couldn't care less if it went away. My goal here would be to let the market provide what services are needed and desired and stop propping up a failing, antiquated entity. If the USPS can do that, great. If not, good riddance.

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post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post

Yep. We can't know what the future will be for sure. The market though tends to be a great mechanism for delivering what we want and need.




I'm nearly 100% convinced of that!




Agreed.




Probably. But, again, private companies would fill in the gaps.

Understand that my concern is not about the USPS at all. I couldn't care less if it went away. My goal here would be to let the market provide what services are needed and desired and stop propping up a failing, antiquated entity. If the USPS can do that, great. If not, good riddance.

I don't think you'd see anywhere near the same level of service in many areas. The one thing the post office does is provide access everywhere, from poor urban areas, to small towns in the Midwest. I look it as more of a service than a business. The problem with privatizing it is that if, say, UPS decided it had no reason profit-wise to do business in Nowhereville, IL...there might not be any real mail service (potentially).
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post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I don't think you'd see anywhere near the same level of service in many areas.

Maybe. Maybe not. So?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I look it as more of a service than a business.




Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

The problem with privatizing it is that if, say, UPS decided it had no reason profit-wise to do business in Nowhereville, IL...there might not be any real mail service (potentially).

Possibly. Probably not though. Besides, no one said it would have to be one of the existing carriers. There could be smaller, localized carriers that provide this service. They may provide additional services if this part of their business is a "loss leader" for some reason. Be a little creative. Think outside the box here.

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post #21 of 25
Perhaps the Fed Gov could take the subsidy money it currently spends on the USPS, and instead spend it on bandwidth improvements in rural areas... (Let the USPS die)
Letters are unnecessary anyhow... email, fax(haha) can handle correspondence... packages are much better served already by FedEx and UPS...
Judging by MY mailbox... more than 90% of what the USPS delivers is SPAM anyway ... reduced-price, bulk-rate advertisements. Crap I don't need or want, but have no way of opting out of receiving it.

I don't receive a single bill or invoice or statement by mail... it's ALL handled by eMail or direct web-access.
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post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

I don't think you'd see anywhere near the same level of service in many areas. The one thing the post office does is provide access everywhere, from poor urban areas, to small towns in the Midwest. I look it as more of a service than a business. The problem with privatizing it is that if, say, UPS decided it had no reason profit-wise to do business in Nowhereville, IL...there might not be any real mail service (potentially).

I agree with you 100%, sir. That is a very rational, well thought-out argument.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
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post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

I agree with you 100%, sir. That is a very rational, well thought-out argument.



Good one.



Ummm...you were being sarcastic right? Because the only other explanation would be...uhhh...nevermind.

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post #24 of 25
Hey, if he's thinking through consequences and admitting something that does generally run contrary to his belief system, that's demonstrating a measure of intellectual honesty that I appreciate. So, no, I wasn't being sarcastic.

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
-Sagan
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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 
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post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BR View Post

Hey, if he's thinking through consequences and admitting something that does generally run contrary to his belief system, that's demonstrating a measure of intellectual honesty that I appreciate. So, no, I wasn't being sarcastic.

And I appreciate you not being sarcastic on this. Honestly, "it" doesn't necessarily run counter to be belief system. I do think the government has a role to play in providing certain services, including maintaining the infrastructure. There's an argument to be made that the postal service is included in that.

Then again, looking at my own use of the USPS, I agree with Kingofsomewhere on this one. It's mostly spam. I do get some bills, but that's about all.
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