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(Reuters)   All businesses that did not lose $3.2 billion last quarter take a step forward. Not so fast USPS   (reuters.com) divider line 114
    More: Followup, U.S. Postal Service, eBay Inc., businesses  
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1291 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 May 2012 at 12:04 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-12 10:18:33 AM
All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS
 
2012-05-12 10:45:56 AM
You can thank a meddling Congress, subby. Why do you hate America?
 
2012-05-12 11:10:16 AM
The USPS is a "business"? And here I thought it was an independent agency of the U.S. Government created by Congress as mandated by Article I of the U.S. Constitution. Wow, who knew that being required by law to personally deliver a piece of paper from East Swampfark, Florida to the doorstep of a person in Upper Palinville, Alaska for less than half a buck would be a money-losing proposition?
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-05-12 11:10:18 AM
It is kind of unreasonable to expect the post office to keep unprofitable rural offices open and make a profit too.
 
2012-05-12 11:25:03 AM
What was the Department of Defense's profit last year? Department of Energy? Homeland Security? They surely raked in the big bucks for us.
 
2012-05-12 11:39:26 AM

Cyberluddite: The USPS is a "business"? And here I thought it was an independent agency of the U.S. Government created by Congress as mandated by Article I of the U.S. Constitution. Wow, who knew that being required by law to personally deliver a piece of paper from East Swampfark, Florida to the doorstep of a person in Upper Palinville, Alaska for less than half a buck would be a money-losing proposition?


Three Crooked Squirrels: What was the Department of Defense's profit last year? Department of Energy? Homeland Security? They surely raked in the big bucks for us.


We're done here.
 
2012-05-12 11:47:22 AM

Marcus Aurelius: You can thank a meddling Congress, subby. Why do you hate America?


Yeah! And let's get Congress of out JPMorgan while we're at it. They've nearly ruined those guys with their excessive regulation.
 
2012-05-12 11:56:13 AM
Why should any government agency be expected to turn a profit?
 
2012-05-12 11:58:19 AM

Three Crooked Squirrels: What was the Department of Defense's profit last year? Department of Energy? Homeland Security? They surely raked in the big bucks for us.


Actually, you raise a valid point. I would be okay mandating that the Department of Homeland Security get cut for failure to turn a profit.
 
2012-05-12 12:16:52 PM
The USPS: Held to the standards of a business while being forced to play by rules that make success as a business impossible.
 
2012-05-12 12:17:43 PM

ArkAngel: All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS

The Postal Service lost $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 and was unable to make a massive annual payment for future retiree health benefits, which is required by law. The agency said much of the loss during the second quarter of 2012 came from setting aside funds for the $11.1 billion that is due this year.


The USPS even admits that the Prefunding is only part of the the issue. The USPS along with their unions like to put the blame on Prefunding whenever possible but it is only part of the issue. The other disturbing issue is that the USPS can't layoff anyone because of union restrictions. You have an organization that is losing volume and revenue every year but can't cut people, which is why their labor cost is incredibly high.

The USPS is supposed to be 'independent' and not recieve tax dollars, sure they take a loss in some areas, but that is supposed to be overcome by a surplus in others. Surplus as in junk-mail and selling your name and address to junk mailers.
 
2012-05-12 12:22:26 PM

Three Crooked Squirrels: What was the Department of Defense's profit last year?


Profit? Not so much.

Revnue? Probably a shiatload. We sell a lot of weapons. I'm sure it's like .000001% of what they spend, but they are taking in quite a shiatload of cash.
 
2012-05-12 12:23:01 PM
That'd be "Revenue", Chet.
 
2012-05-12 12:24:08 PM
I think their primary business function is to deliver junk mail for businesses.

They need to stop pretending they do much more than that and design a business plan around it.
 
2012-05-12 12:25:14 PM

Lt_Ryan: The USPS even admits that the Prefunding is only part of the the issue. The USPS along with their unions like to put the blame on Prefunding whenever possible but it is only part of the issue. The other disturbing issue is that the USPS can't layoff anyone because of union restrictions. You have an organization that is losing volume and revenue every year but can't cut people, which is why their labor cost is incredibly high.


And they also cannot raise stamp prices to cover shortfalls without Congressional approval.
 
2012-05-12 12:33:45 PM
Cyberluddite

mandated by Article I

Nope. Allowed by Article I, not mandated.

The USPS has a monopoly by law. How you can have a monopoly and cant break even is beyond me (and properly funding pensions is only part of the problem -- and if the USPS doesnt want to do that, they can switch to a defined contribution plan, instead of defined benefits and budget problem solved).
 
2012-05-12 12:35:08 PM
It's supposed to lose money. Jesus, that 3.2 billion is the best money we spend every year.
 
2012-05-12 12:37:25 PM
Appropriate to the topic:

American Letter Mail Company
 
2012-05-12 12:39:27 PM
AH yes the Postal Service, proving that if we ran the Nation like a Business, we would have been liquidated to China years ago!
 
2012-05-12 12:45:40 PM

Tjos Weel: The USPS has a monopoly by law. How you can have a monopoly and cant break even is beyond me (and properly funding pensions is only part of the problem -- and if the USPS doesnt want to do that, they can switch to a defined contribution plan, instead of defined benefits and budget problem solved).


Ask their Board of Directors - Congress, like Enrons BOD did they run iot for what thye cna get out of it. from mandating Delivery days and Costs to telling them where to have a Post Office Congress runs it as a vote gathering income producind machine with no eye on running it as a true Business. As for the Pension Plan the problem there is that Unlike any other Business in the World they are forced to fund any employees pension at time of hire, now the kicker is if they lose an employee before retirement they do not get back the excess funds they paid, making them congresses own little slush fund
 
2012-05-12 12:49:04 PM
My USPS solution.

Keep daily deliver to PO Boxes at post office branches (no need to close any, even rural ones, with the rest of my plan).

Home delivery is reduced to once per week. If you need your mail more often, buy a PO Box. Fire 5/6ths of the route delivery staff. Okay, maybe 2/3rds, as the amount of mail carried at once will increase, so might need slightly more carriers per delivery.
 
2012-05-12 12:52:20 PM

ArkAngel: All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS


Done in one.
 
2012-05-12 12:52:20 PM

Tjos Weel: Nope. Allowed by Article I, not mandated.

The USPS has a monopoly by law. How you can have a monopoly and cant break even is beyond me (and properly funding pensions is only part of the problem -- and if the USPS doesnt want to do that, they can switch to a defined contribution plan, instead of defined benefits and budget problem solved).


Yes, it's "allowed" rather than "mandated" in the same manner that all of Congress' other enumerated powers in Article I, section 8 are "allowed" and not technically "mandated," such as the power to establish and army and a navy, declare war, create a system of federal courts, create taxes, excercise control over the District of Columbia, etc. It's hard to believe that Congress would ever decide not to do any of them, though.

And the USPS doesn't exactly have a monopoly--you can send something by UPS, FedEx, or a dozen other services. But FedEx--or any other for-profit entity--sure as hell isn't going to deliver a letter from a rural post office in the backwoods of Maine to at hut at the end of a dirt road in the most unpopulated and isolated island of Hawaii for 45 cents, or even for 10 or 20 times that much. And that is why the USPS can't "break even"--it's because it's a government service, not a for-profit business, and is required to serve all American citizens, not just the ones it can turn a profit off of. If they had to charge the actual cost to deliver mail from one isolated post office to another (and recover the cost of keeping all of those isolated post offices open), nobody could afford to mail a letter. And given the widespread use of e-mail, e-billing, e-payments, and other electronic communications, they don't handle the volume of mail they used to have, so they've lost the efficiency of higher volumes and the incremental, per-piece costs get higher.
 
2012-05-12 12:52:45 PM
Azlefty

iot for what thye cna

Did you have a stroke in the middle of that sentence? It cleared right up.

Ask their Board of Directors - Congress

I suggest they vote in a new BOD. They have had a D run and an R run BOD. Maybe they should try a different option.
 
2012-05-12 12:53:00 PM

Lt_Ryan: ArkAngel: All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS

The Postal Service lost $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 and was unable to make a massive annual payment for future retiree health benefits, which is required by law. The agency said much of the loss during the second quarter of 2012 came from setting aside funds for the $11.1 billion that is due this year.

The USPS even admits that the Prefunding is only part of the the issue. The USPS along with their unions like to put the blame on Prefunding whenever possible but it is only part of the issue. The other disturbing issue is that the USPS can't layoff anyone because of union restrictions. You have an organization that is losing volume and revenue every year but can't cut people, which is why their labor cost is incredibly high.

The USPS is supposed to be 'independent' and not recieve tax dollars, sure they take a loss in some areas, but that is supposed to be overcome by a surplus in others. Surplus as in junk-mail and selling your name and address to junk mailers.


Pre-funding is 5.5 billion per year and last year the loss was 5.1 billion. That would have been 400 million in the plus. Not saying there shouldn't be some degree of pre-funding but the current requirements are nothing but union busting by law.
 
2012-05-12 12:54:05 PM

Lt_Ryan: The USPS is supposed to be 'independent' and not recieve tax dollars


Why the fark not? It's the bloody post office It's a critical part of this nation's infrastructure and specifically authorized by law.

I find it somewhat interesting that in the US people only go to the post office to send/pick up letters and packages. Pretty much the only "extra" services they offer is passport applications, selective service registration, and PO boxes. In Europe the post offices offer a lot more services. In Switzerland (where I'm currently residing) the post office offers the basic postal services but also has a coin-op public copy machine, a modest "convenience" shopping section (where one can buy various knicknacks like batteries, travel power adapters, flashlights, and other stuff), they're a sales agent for the various mobile phone companies in the country, and they're also a full-featured bank with ATMs at every branch (and the postal clerks can also take care of everyday financial transactions like deposits).

Honestly, I don't get how the USPS can charge so little for what it does. Roughly $0.50 to send a letter anywhere in the country? That's pretty awesome, but I can't imagine it pays the bills. Here it's about $1 to send a domestic letter by 3-day mail (a sort of "second-class" letter mail) and $1.15 to send it overnight "first-class" mail and the country's tiny.

Whatever the reason it's sucking, the USPS really needs to get its head out of its ass.
 
2012-05-12 12:56:32 PM

Tjos Weel: My USPS solution.

Keep daily deliver to PO Boxes at post office branches (no need to close any, even rural ones, with the rest of my plan).

Home delivery is reduced to once per week. If you need your mail more often, buy a PO Box. Fire 5/6ths of the route delivery staff. Okay, maybe 2/3rds, as the amount of mail carried at once will increase, so might need slightly more carriers per delivery.


So, because it costs a little money to have a decent system, we should have a postal system less convenient and efficient than the most ass-backward third-world shiathole country's system? U-S-A!! U-S-A!!
 
2012-05-12 12:56:36 PM
Cyberluddite

And the USPS doesn't exactly have a monopoly--you can send something by UPS, FedEx, or a dozen other services.

Wrong. None of them are allowed to deliver "non-urgent" letters. The USPS allows competition with urgent letters and for package delivery, but not for standard mail delivery. See my American Letter Mail Company link for an example. They have an absolute monopoly on regular mail.
 
2012-05-12 01:01:18 PM
Cyberluddite

A system with daily deliver to your local post office PO Box isnt backwards. It is very convenient and efficient. Less convenient than the box on the street, but barely.

I have a PO Box for business. I dont visit it daily, but it isnt out of the way or anything. Heck, I dont visit the box in my front yard daily either (actually, technically my neighbors side yard as its across the street from my house).
 
2012-05-12 01:03:14 PM

Lt_Ryan: ArkAngel: All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS

The Postal Service lost $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 and was unable to make a massive annual payment for future retiree health benefits, which is required by law. The agency said much of the loss during the second quarter of 2012 came from setting aside funds for the $11.1 billion that is due this year.

The USPS even admits that the Prefunding is only part of the the issue. The USPS along with their unions like to put the blame on Prefunding whenever possible but it is only part of the issue. The other disturbing issue is that the USPS can't layoff anyone because of union restrictions. You have an organization that is losing volume and revenue every year but can't cut people, which is why their labor cost is incredibly high.

The USPS is supposed to be 'independent' and not recieve tax dollars, sure they take a loss in some areas, but that is supposed to be overcome by a surplus in others. Surplus as in junk-mail and selling your name and address to junk mailers.


They are independent. They receive not a dime from taxpayers.

They don't need to cut people, when they've already been paying overtime for the excess capacity. This is why they're trying to cut Saturday service to free up desperately needed workers for other services.

They are also critically underfunded because congress mandated they pay 70 years of retirement benefits right now, while simultaneously blocking them from raising any money to actually pay. It's an impossible situation. Any other minor problems are lost in this massive money hole's vortex.
 
2012-05-12 01:04:39 PM
heypete


In Switzerland (where I'm currently residing) the post office offers the basic postal services but also has a coin-op public copy machine, a modest "convenience" shopping section (where one can buy various knicknacks like batteries, travel power adapters, flashlights, and other stuff), they're a sales agent for the various mobile phone companies in the country, and they're also a full-featured bank with ATMs at every branch (and the postal clerks can also take care of everyday financial transactions like deposits).


When I lived in Switzerland, I got paid at the post office (via the bank). Does the PO still run the postal buses between towns?
 
2012-05-12 01:04:54 PM
My solution is for the government to stop sending out envelopes with "No Postage Necessary if Mailed Within the United States". Social Security Administration, IRS, etc. send out probably billions of those pre-paid envelopes every year. Make people stick a stamp on those and you could probably cover the shortfall.
 
2012-05-12 01:10:52 PM
Cyberluddite

It's hard to believe that Congress would ever decide not to do any of them, though.

Many of the founding fathers were opposed to a standing army, so they hoped congress wouldnt use that power, except when necessary. Its also why the Army (but not the Navy) can only be funded for 2 years at a time.

grant letters of marque and reprisal

They have pretty much ignored this power.

Ditto these:

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
 
2012-05-12 01:18:25 PM

ArkAngel: All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS


All businesses that can go under step forward. Not so fast, USPS.

/Or GM, Chrysler, Goldman Sachs ...
 
2012-05-12 01:18:45 PM

ArkAngel: All businesses that have to pre-fund 70 years worth of retirement benefits step forward. Not so fast everyone except USPS


This.
 
2012-05-12 01:20:38 PM

Tjos Weel: When I lived in Switzerland, I got paid at the post office (via the bank). Does the PO still run the postal buses between towns?


Yup, the PostAuto buses still run to places the trains don't.

The post office also handles some (all?) of the inter-bank money routing and electronic billing.
 
2012-05-12 01:23:06 PM

Tjos Weel: How you can have a monopoly and cant break even is beyond me


Because congress has to approve any rate hikes.
 
2012-05-12 01:23:19 PM

Tjos Weel: My USPS solution.

Keep daily deliver to PO Boxes at post office branches (no need to close any, even rural ones, with the rest of my plan).

Home delivery is reduced to once per week. If you need your mail more often, buy a PO Box. Fire 5/6ths of the route delivery staff. Okay, maybe 2/3rds, as the amount of mail carried at once will increase, so might need slightly more carriers per delivery.


OR, instead of saying, "rent a box if you want more frequent mail," how about letting people pay private entities to pick up their mail at the PO and bring it to them, such as the same folks who deliver daily newspapers? They're coming to your house anyway and the incremental cost should be quite reasonable.
 
2012-05-12 01:25:35 PM

Tjos Weel: Many of the founding fathers were opposed to a standing army, so they hoped congress wouldnt use that power, except when necessary. Its also why the Army (but not the Navy) can only be funded for 2 years at a time.


Actually, the power to create a standing army was explicitly debated and not granted. They didn't intend congress to have that power at all- that's what the 2nd amendment is for. Militias were supposed to be the first line defense for an invasion.

Times have seriously changed, which is why I have no problem with the standing army setup we have. The scope of it I'll contest, but we should absolutely have a standing army.
 
2012-05-12 01:27:21 PM

cptjeff: Tjos Weel: Many of the founding fathers were opposed to a standing army, so they hoped congress wouldnt use that power, except when necessary. Its also why the Army (but not the Navy) can only be funded for 2 years at a time.

Actually, the power to create a standing army was explicitly debated and not granted. They didn't intend congress to have that power at all- that's what the 2nd amendment is for. Militias were supposed to be the first line defense for an invasion.

Times have seriously changed, which is why I have no problem with the standing army setup we have. The scope of it I'll contest, but we should absolutely have a standing army.


I should mention that that's the reason they've ignored the militia clauses. Because once you ignore the intended prohibition on standing armies, it's meaningless.
 
2012-05-12 01:32:34 PM
It's a sad and slightly scary day.

Government functions are privatized to contractors with little to no oversight. Government services are expected to operate as and compete with businesses.

Not everything in this world is suppoed to be for profit because not everything in this world is supposed to have profit as it's main goal.

What if the military had to turn a profit? We might be maurauding on 6 of the 7 continents.
What if your local department of transportation, or the highway system had to turn a profit? You might not be able to afford to drive.

This is why we pay taxes. Because if everything was for profit our civilization would consume itself with corporate fascism.

*looks at the newspaper*

ah shiat,
we accidently the whole thing didn't we?
 
2012-05-12 01:36:46 PM

Tjos Weel: The USPS has a monopoly by law.


No, they don't.
 
2012-05-12 01:37:18 PM

heypete: I find it somewhat interesting that in the US people only go to the post office to send/pick up letters and packages. Pretty much the only "extra" services they offer is passport applications, selective service registration, and PO boxes. In Europe the post offices offer a lot more services. In Switzerland (where I'm currently residing) the post office offers the basic postal services but also has a coin-op public copy machine, a modest "convenience" shopping section (where one can buy various knicknacks like batteries, travel power adapters, flashlights, and other stuff), they're a sales agent for the various mobile phone companies in the country, and they're also a full-featured bank with ATMs at every branch (and the postal clerks can also take care of everyday financial transactions like deposits).


In Europe - post office reform in most countries has already happened (including completely privatizing the post office in some). In the US - it hasn't. And the Post Office is not allowed to do it itself - its needs Congress which is completely stuck in partisan bickering at the moment.
 
2012-05-12 01:38:19 PM

cptjeff: Actually, the power to create a standing army was explicitly debated and not granted. They didn't intend congress to have that power at all- that's what the 2nd amendment is for. Militias were supposed to be the first line defense for an invasion.


And up until WW2 - we largely dismantlement our forces after a major conflict.
 
2012-05-12 01:45:50 PM
SharkTrager

No, they don't.

Yes, they do.

Private Express Statutes
 
2012-05-12 02:03:38 PM

Forgot_my_password_again: I think their primary business function is to deliver junk mail for businesses.


That and provide forwarding addresses to businesses when I move. I'm still getting letters from my alma mater asking me to donate money to them. How the fark do they know my address? The USPS gives it to them.

I'm sure there are other ways for businesses to track me but this is the easiest.

They need to stop pretending they do much more than that and design a business plan around it.
 
2012-05-12 02:31:30 PM

MurphyMurphy: Not everything in this world is suppoed to be for profit because not everything in this world is supposed to have profit as it's main goal.


shaddup, commie.
 
2012-05-12 03:20:26 PM
Did the US military make a profit? No? Then STFU
 
2012-05-12 03:36:51 PM

Tjos Weel: Cyberluddite

A system with daily deliver to your local post office PO Box isnt backwards. It is very convenient and efficient. Less convenient than the box on the street, but barely.


A PO box is also a helluva lot more secure than a roadside, unlocked mailbox, if identity theft means anything to you.
 
2012-05-12 03:41:58 PM
This is like comparing test scores between private schools that can pay top-dollar for talented teachers and throw out problematic students who will hurt their scores, and public schools that pay shiat and have to take everyone.

The USPS provides a government service. You can't demand coverage to every backwater town from Cousinfark, AL to Justrocks, WY and then complain that they don't turn a profit.
 
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