Comments on: Time to save the postal service Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: jeffmisc Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:47:16 +0000 I do not know anything about the USPS operations but I have always been impressed with theire service. It’s amazing that they can deliver an envelope from my house, hundreds of mile to another house within a couple of days for less than $0.46.

I have no doubt there are many operational/expense/political issues that need to be addressed, but I am perplexed by this most recent stamp price increase….only $0.01? Why not increase price by say $0.08/pc? Would the general public be that deterred from purchasing stamps?

By: SayHey Wed, 06 Feb 2013 22:19:45 +0000 SciFiGuy – an ad hominem argument is aimed at someone’s character – no such argument appears in the post. To suggest that a position is rooted in the past, not the present, is not an ad hominem argument.

By: Federal-Farmer Wed, 06 Feb 2013 17:30:12 +0000 It’s this simple. The Constitution gives Congress power to establish postal services. But doesn’t allow Congress to create a monopoly mail delivery bureau, but that’s what USPS is. The post office is the only entity legally able to deliver mail currently. The Founders gave Congress power to establish a post office, but they also agreed private companies could compete against the post office. What we’re seeing now is USPS refusing to compete, succumbing to technology and free market forces just as any company would. The difference is USPS is really just government, so it doesn’t have to compete nor excel in order to be funded; Congress simply allocates it more tax money, but the deficits are no less real. The solution is to allow private market entities such as FedEx, UPS, and DHS to also deliver normal mail and compete against the post office. If USPS cannot compete it ought to be closed. If post office employees are the hardest working mail delivery personnel they’ll have no problem procuring jobs at the aforementioned private companies taking over mail routes. Further, federal taxes could be cut since USPS would dissolve, and citizens could keep more of their earnings, in turn paying lower mail delivery prices when actually needed to competing mail companies.

By: timbertown Wed, 06 Feb 2013 16:33:52 +0000 As a commercial user we see other areas of concern with USPS that have not been discussed in this article or elsewhere.

We ship nearly 80% of our small packages by FedEx even though USPS is less expensive because of 2 main problems with USPS, namely tracking and accountability that play out in 4 specific problems we have found. The USPS tracking system is not accurate and there is no assurance that packages will be scanned and progress posted while en route. It is completely normal for a package to ship from our location in Michigan by Priority Mail to a client in California and never once have any tracking information available online until the package is delivered even though it passed through several DNC / routing locations along the way. The problem is even more pronounced when dealing with packages that are shipped by services such as Media Mail, Parcel Post (now Parcel Select) and even First Class package service. Their system is also limited information to the public while the service personnel at the local Post office can often see further entries not available through the phone system or the online tracking system. By contrast a package we ship by FedEx will be scanned at every stop along the route and the information from every scan is available online.

The second problem with USPS is that they do not guarantee a delivery date for any domestic service except EMS. By contract FedEx gives us a guaranteed delivery date for every package we ship regardless of the service used and if the package is not delivered by the guaranteed date the shipping cost is refunded in full.

The third issue we have found and closely related to the previous problem is delivery time. We can mail 2 identical packages from our location in west Michigan by Priority Mail on Monday – one going to a client in Detroit, Michigan 200 miles away and the other package to a client in California 2400 miles away yet both packages will be delivered on Thursday. those same packages if shipped by FedEx- the Detroit package would be delivered in 1 business day (Tuesday) and CA would be 5 business days.

The final problem is lost and damage packages. In the last year alone USPS has lost or broken the packaging and had contents spill out on no less than 14 of our packages – the only communication we get from USPS is a note letting us know we have dead mail and any recovered contents will be sent to the Mail Recovery Center – in the dozens of lost/dead mail packages we have had over the years we have never once been notified that our package was located – it is an unending process of filing forms with no results. Compare this with FedEx who in the last 9 years has never once lost a package we shipped and although we have an occasional damaged piece the FedEx process allows for prompt reimbursement and they take full responsibility for the damage when we have packed it properly – USPS will never take responsibility and filing a claim for a damaged package with USPS is a murderously painful and slow process.

For us the choice is largely based on the shipping and client experience – because FedEx will take responsibility for our packages once they have picked them up until delivered and their communication process is direct we choose FedEx over USPS most of the time – our only exception to using USPS is for those with a PO box or those outside the continental US. If USPS wants to gain back our business they need to show integrity and take responsibility for the packages we pay them to deliver and which they have accepted.

By: SciFiGuy Wed, 06 Feb 2013 16:02:37 +0000 Argumentum ad hominem, Sayhey.

Murzak gave arguments and counterpoints without resorting to it. Personally, I wish more commenters used as much intelligence and eloquence on the internet.

I can’t speak with much knowledge on this subject but I see plainly that there is more going on in the eventual dismantling of the USPS than just fiscal responsibility.

For one, what is going to happen to the pension fund that’s so overfunded when the last pensioner dies? That’s a lot of money up for grabs without employees to pay.

Just something to think about and maybe consider that there is more motives involved here behind the curtain regarding the fate of the USPS.

By: SayHey Wed, 06 Feb 2013 14:15:27 +0000 Murzak is an example of a hopeless longing for the past – a post office in every village a mile apart, staffed by artificially highly paid low skill employees with gold-plated benefits. Not pre-fund excessive retiree benefits? – that must be done in the private sector – so this either is the federal government or it’s not. This is a bloated public agency – not “private” (who represents it when it is sued? – the US Attorney- just like any other government agency). With all of its built-in advantages, it is telling that it is not even a shadow of a competitor with FedEx and UPS.

By: Dragos111 Wed, 06 Feb 2013 13:17:01 +0000 What a great business model they have going here. Times are tough. Business is down. Revenues are down. What is the solution? Raise your prices and cut your services. That is what the USPS is doing.

This is a standard government agency reaction to this kind of problem. In other parts of the government if they start running out of money they simply raise taxes. They actually have the power to tell us that we need to pay more.

The USPS, however, is a business that competes against other companies. When their business goes south they should be doing what every other company does. They should attempt to become more competitive. They would do this by cutting costs so they can LOWER their prices or IMPROVE their service.

Every time they raise their prices they simply drive more customers away. Instead of making more money, they make less. Now that they are doing away with Saturday delivery there will be one less reason to use the USPS.

Yes, they need to do something. But, they are going about this bass ackwards.

By: leftleftleft Wed, 06 Feb 2013 07:56:27 +0000 Postal employees can retire with 80% pay at 40 years, 8 months of revice IF they are a CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System) employee. The last CSRS employees were hired in 1984. The newer retirement system, FERS (Federal Employees Retirement System)pays between 33% and 40%.

By: murzak Wed, 06 Feb 2013 02:57:13 +0000 There’s one big problem with this ‘article’. It’s a lie. I use that word as Mr. Walker promulgates talking points he must know to be false given the positions he’s held. The Postal Service is not in trouble. Their only red ink is that which was created by the passage of PAEA by Congress in 2006. The federal government has used this to divert billions of postal monies into the US Treasury to use as its own bailout. How can it be considered borrowing when it’s the Postal Service’s own money, Mr. Walker?
The USPS isn’t remotely like the federal government. They don’t receive any tax monies and haven’t for over 30 years. They haven’t dug any hole, but are being buried in a mountain of red tape created solely by Congressional legislation to place them in exactly the situation they find themselves in now. The government has required them to fully fund their retiree healthcare (PSRHB) for 75 years, through 2081, over the span of a decade. The federal government doesn’t prefund its retiree healthcare at all.
The deficit he speaks of is entirely fictional. Over 83% of it is due to the prefunding of PSRHB. The $40+ billion currently in the fund is enough to pay for all past, present and future retirees currently working for the USPS. It will be fully funded within 20 years via interest accrual alone. They also fund civil service and federal employee retirement systems (CSRS and FERS) at over 100%. The Fortune 500 gold standard is 80%. The federal government currently funds its retirement systems at about 30%. Minus these legislative handicaps, the USPS would’ve remained in the black throughout the entire recession.
I will concede the postal service being at high risk due to ineffective, inarticulate and incompetent management up to and including the PMG who started off his postal career as a clerk in Pittsburg 35 years ago and now brings home more than the President of the United States in salary and compensation. The internet is a red herring and UPS and FedEx could not exist without very lucrative, multi-billion dollar contracts with the USPS, which process their combined annual volume twice a week.
Six day universal service is part of the charter of the USPS. The only ‘excess’ infrastructure is that necessary to maintain existing 1st class service standards. Postal Service corporate management has already begun to modify, euphemism for degrade, 1st class service standards insofar as mass facility closures and massive workforce reductions have necessitated doing so. They’ve already closed over 200 processing facilities in the last 6 years and eliminated over 40% of their workforce, 350,000+ good paying jobs lost, since 2000. Mr. Walker fails to mention this as does most of the rest of lame stream media which would most assuredly be crying foul if this were ANY other entity.
The last-mile concept, which they already provide for many UPS and FedEx parcels, is the least profitable for the USPS. What Mr. Walker proposes is to destroy an American institution which has existed since before the Constitution was penned and was mandated by the same to serve you. He wants to take your postal service, which processes over 40% of the world’s mail more efficiently and inexpensively than any other major post, and parcel out the most profitable parts of it in an ill-advised and wholly unnecessary attempt to privatize it.
What do Mr. Walker, Rep. Issa, Rep. Ross, PMG Donahoe and their like have to gain from this? The USPS supports a mailing industry which pumps over $1 trillion into the economy annually and supports over 10 million jobs. That’s an awfully attractive pie, cooling on the window sill, waiting to be plundered. It’s your postal service. Let them know that it’s NOT ok to pull it out from under you. Thank you.

By: buddy4 Tue, 05 Feb 2013 23:24:15 +0000 I was wondering how it was possible that the USPS could be in such a hole but recently was given an indication. I went away for 2 months and asked my local PO to hold my box mail as it would be overflowing by the time I returned. No problem except that when I came back my box was closed for nonpayment and all mail returned to senders. Why wasn’t I warned of this possibility beforehand? Why didn’t they take into account that mail was being held for an absent box owner and allow for their return to take care of business? The clerk acknowledged the inherent idiocy of this policy but stated she could do nothing as the system was “automatic”. Also, to rub salt in the wound had to pay a $20 fine called a handling fee to get my box reopened. Any successful modern business acknowledges customer care as paramount to its viability. The USPS has flunked out with a callous disregard for the people that pay its bills.