13 August 2011

Post Post

Filed under: Culture — ktismatics @ 11:33 am

The US Postal Service lost $8.5 billion in 2010 and $20 billion over the past 4 years. The news articles report that losses have been mounting primarily because mail volume has dropped 20 percent. The USPS has already laid off 100 thousand workers and they propose to axe another 120 thousand. They also propose to withdraw the entire remaining workforce from Federal government health and retirement plans.

What percent of all pieces of mail are sent by businesses? I couldn’t find the statistics, but at least 95 percent of the mail that shows up in my box is either an ad or a bill. So here’s a service run by the Federal government largely for the benefit of private industry. UPS and FedEx, the two biggest private-sector delivery companies, are both making profits. Is it because they’re so much more businesslike, so much more efficient, so austere? I’d say it’s pretty austere to lay off almost a quarter million workers. Or is the Postal Service losing money because it’s underpricing its services? Instead of charging its corporate customers the full cost of its services, the Post Office is shifting costs to the taxpayers.

It may well be that physical mail is becoming obsolete, and consequently that some significant percentage of postal workers really ought to be doing something else for a living. I’m also not persuaded that I want the government to run a delivery service on behalf of corporate interests. But having the Postal Service cut benefits for its workers in order to keep its corporate customers from footing the full bill for services received? I don’t think so. How about this: run it like a business and raise the rates.

Soon the Postmaster General will deliver his proposal to the Postal Workers’ Union for accepting draconian cuts in benefits, including reduced pensions for already-retired workers. What should the Union do with this proposal? I asked Elvis when I saw him at the Denver Greyhound station the other day. Here’s what Elvis had to say:



  1. I love Elvis – no matter how bad the movie – and reckon there’s an Elvis song applicable to every issue or occasion. In fact, we need a blog where you could just post an Elvis song to comment on the day’s big news item. However, Tom Parker’s zombie would likely emerge for a fat cut of the action. Insisting on adverts and porn links to generate revenue.


    Comment by W.Kasper — 13 August 2011 @ 1:12 pm

  2. I have some vague memory of an old radio show in which snatches of popular songs would be incorporated into the routine. E.g., a White House press conference: “Mr. President, how did you feel about the latest budget brouhaha on Capitol Hill?”

    “Mr. President, what’s the biggest obstacle to a achieving a bipartisan solution?”

    And so on.


    Comment by ktismatics — 13 August 2011 @ 2:17 pm

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