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USPS closings making small businesses nervous

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« on: November 15, 2011, 09:30:44 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/post-office-near-default-losses-mount-5-1b-210808129.html

11/15/11

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday it has lost $5.1 billion in the past year, pushing it closer to imminent default on a multibillion-dollar payment and to future bankruptcy as the weak economy and increased Internet use drive down mail volume.

The financial losses for the year ended Sept. 30 came despite deep cuts of more than 130,000 jobs in recent years and the closing of some smaller local post offices.

Losses will only accelerate in the coming year, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warned, citing faster-than-expected declines in first-class mail. He implored Congress to take swift, wide-ranging action to stabilize the ailing agency's finances as it nears a legal deadline Friday to pay $5.5 billion into the U.S. Treasury for future retiree health benefits.

Congress is expected to grant a reprieve, but that will only delay the day of reckoning for an agency struggling for relevance in an electronic age. Based on current losses, the Postal Service says it will run out of money — or come dangerously close — next September, forcing it to halt service.

"We are at a point where we require urgent action," Donahoe said.

In the event of a shutdown, private companies such as FedEx and UPS could handle a small portion of the material the post office moves, but they do not go everywhere. No business has shown interest in delivering letters everywhere in the country for a set rate of 44 cents for a first-class letter.

For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the post office had income of $65.7 billion, down $1.4 billion from the previous year. Expenses totaled $70.6 billion.

The loss of $5.1 billion was less than a previous estimate of $10 billion, but only because the $5.5 billion payment — originally due Sept. 30 — was deferred until Nov. 18 with the approval of Congress.

In 2010, losses totaled $8.5 billion.

Mail volume this past year totaled 168 billion pieces, compared with 171 billion in 2010, a decline of 1.7 percent. At the same time volume was declining, the post office was required to begin service to thousands of new addresses to accommodate population growth and new businesses.

The Postal Service, an independent agency of government that does not receive tax money for its operations, is not seeking federal funds.

Instead, postal officials want changes in the way they operate so they can save money. They have asked Congress for permission to reduce mail delivery to five days a week, which many lawmakers oppose, and to eliminate or reduce the annual payments of about $5.5 billion to prefund retiree health benefits. The agency also wants the return of at least $6.9 billion it says was overpaid into federal retirement funds.

The service also seeks more layoffs, which are barred by current contracts with its employee unions, and the authority to negotiate with unions on a possible alternate health care system that would cost less.

Postal Service losses have been mounting over the past few years as more private mail and bill payments have been switched to the Internet, and the recession has hurt returns on advertising and other business mail.

Of particular concern has been the decline in lucrative first-class mail, largely consisting of personal letters and cards, bills, payments and similar items. First-class mail volume fell 5.8 percent in 2011, 6.6 percent in 2010, 8.6 percent in 2009 and 4.8 percent in 2008. Traditionally, this mail has produced more than half of total revenue.

Volume for standard mail — advertising and similar items — improved somewhat, indicating some signs of economic recovery. But it generates less income.

The Postal Service has struggled to find its role in an Internet age but insists it can eventually return to profitability with legislative changes. It recently launched a TV advertising campaign that pokes at the vulnerabilities of email or online payment, noting that documents posted on a refrigerator or cork board won't get "hacked" or attacked by a virus. "Give your customers the added security a printed statement or receipt provides — with mail," the ad says.

A postal default on billions of dollars in federal payments wouldn't cause immediate repercussions. There are no criminal or civil penalties for failure to pay, and the health account already contains more than $40 billion so no retiree's benefits are at near-term risk. In June, the Postal Service defaulted on a separate, legally required payment into an employee retirement fund but now says it will make the $1 billion in accumulated payments following a Justice Department review.

Separate proposals recently passed by House and Senate committees would alter or scrap the annual payment requirement while differing widely on points including financial oversight and a reduction to five-day-a-week delivery. Congress is expected to pass a stop-gap spending measure this week that would extend Friday's payment deadline until mid-December.

The Postal Service has said a short-term delay of the $5.5 billion payment won't change its grim forecast of possible bankruptcy next year. Officials also said Tuesday that the proposed legislation currently falls short in reducing health care costs and authorizing immediate five-day-a-week delivery.

"We're hoping for long-term, comprehensive legislation that will solve the issue and make other changes so the Postal Service can be profitable again — not have more delays that just kick the can down the road," postal spokesman David Partenheimer said.

Last month, the post office said it will increase postage rates on Jan. 22, including a 1-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail, to 45 cents. But the rate increase, which is tied to the rate of overall inflation, will make only a small dent in financial losses. The Postal Service hasn't ruled out the possibility of further stamp price increases based on its dire financial circumstances.

The agency is also considering additional layoffs and reviewing about 3,600 underused post offices around the country for closing, many of them in rural areas.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found that registered voters were broadly in favor of ending Saturday deliveries to help with the agency's financial problems, with 79 percent supporting it. Smaller majorities favored raising stamp prices — 60 percent — or closing local branches, about 53 percent.

"The Postal Service is in a tailspin," said Art Sackler, coordinator of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, which represents the private-sector mailing industry. "Without congressional action, there is a strong likelihood the Postal Service will have to shut down sometime next summer, dealing another critical blow to the economy and the 8 million private sector jobs that still depend on the mail."
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 09:28:55 pm »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/industries/facing-bankruptcy-postal-service-pushes-forward-with-big-cuts-to-first-class-mail-next-spring/2011/12/04/gIQABN7CSO_story.html?wprss=rss_national

12/4/11

Facing bankruptcy, Postal Service pushes forward with big cuts to first-class mail next spring

WASHINGTON — Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail on Monday, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the cash-strapped Postal Service to quickly trim costs, seeing no immediate help from Congress.

The changes would provide short-term relief, but ultimately could prove counterproductive, pushing more of America’s business onto the Internet. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities.

That birthday card mailed first-class to Mom also could arrive a day or two late, if people don’t plan ahead.

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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 10:12:14 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/last-christmas-post-office-013600733.html;_ylt=AjbfsniQagB2Mo9XvQDPEITNt.d_;_ylu=X3oDMTRvb3A1ZWdvBGNjb2RlA2dtcHRvcDEwMDBwb29sd2lraXVwcmVzdARtaXQDTmV3cyBmb3IgeW91BHBrZwM0M2M4MWY3Mi1mOWUxLTMzZmQtOTdkOS1kMDZlMDE5ODVjMWIEcG9zAzQEc2VjA25ld3NfZm9yX3lvdQR2ZXIDYWQyMjBhMTAtMmRlNy0xMWUxLTliYzctNDc3MTNjYzY3NTNm;_ylg=X3oDMTNocW9vMzVrBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDYjBlOGQ1NTItMmFiOC0zYzU5LWFiMDgtMjYwNDJlYTU3NGE1BHBzdGNhdANwb2xpdGljc3xkZXN0aW5hdGlvbjIwMTIEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdlBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

12/23/11

A crowded post office is part of the scenery of the season-–long lines, arms full of packaged presents, spare Christmas decorations hanging under the humming lights.

But the post office as we know it is in peril, bleeding $5 billion a year in losses. The culprit isn’t just the rise of the Internet as an alternative to envelopes and stamps. It’s a series of stifling regulations imposed on the organization by Congress, such as requiring the U.S. Postal Service to fully fund all its future pension obligations outright--a measure that would bankrupt any city, state, or business.
 
It is a solvable problem, but unless our dysfunctional divided Congress takes action in the New Year, post office closures and reduced hours will be the least of our worries. Without reform, America faces the very real possibility that the USPS will not be able to make its payroll in the summer of 2012.

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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 04:31:08 pm »

2/17/12

The United States Postal Service may raise the price of first class postage to 50 cents.

The U.S. Post Office, facing financial losses of up to $18.2 billion a year by 2015, wants to charge more for postage, more for services, and to suspend Saturday delivery.
 
The 50-cent stamp would represent an 11 percent increase in postal rates.
 
USPS delivers 40 percent of the world's mail. Its revenues exceed $65 billion a year.

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http://news.yahoo.com/50-cent-stamp-other-postal-changes-coming-190143222--abc-news.html
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 07:36:03 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/senate-postal-bill-next-week-223742777.html


3/23/12
(Reuters) - Legislation to allow the struggling Postal Service to eventually end Saturday mail delivery is expected to be debated in the Senate next week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning a procedural vote as early as Monday evening to begin debating a bipartisan bill that would allow the mail agency to shrink to five-day delivery after two years, according to congressional aides and a chamber schedule.

Senators are still discussing the final shape of the bill with many calling for changes to protect rural post offices and others wanting to curb bonuses for postal service executives.

The mail organization would like to end a massive annual payment to prefund retiree health benefits but the bill would spread the payments over more years.

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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 01:29:45 pm »

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/usps-closings-making-small-businesses-144800934.html?l=1

The potential of 250 U.S. postal offices and distribution centers closing next month is spreading jitters among the nation's small business hubs.


On May 15, unless Congress steps in, the Postal Service will proceed on its plans to make these cuts in a bid to consolidate and save money.


Owners of small companies in cities like Tulsa, Okla., fear that their businesses will suffer if their local mail-processing and distribution centers are shut down.


Some areas have already faced closures in the past year, and small firms there are going through a difficult adjustment.


The more than 100-year-old post office in the beach town of Pass-a-Grille, Fla., closed last June.


As a popular tourist destination, Pass-a-Grille has a bustling small business community, with many stores lining either side of its 8th Avenue main street, designated as the shortest main street in America.


But when its post office closed, it caused problems for some of its small businesses. That's because the next closest post office in the area is about four miles away.


"The other post office is always crowded," said Barbara Calicotte, an employee at a boutique called Bamboozle, which was right next door to the now closed post office. "I've had to wait on line for 30 minutes."


Another problem is that sometimes packages have to sit in the store a day or two longer, because the boutique does not have an extra employee to run to the post office, Calicotte explained. She said she can't do it because she would have to close the store, which could mean lost sales.


Congress ready to tackle postal reform


Heather Preston, who manages her father's high-end jewelry store Evander Preston, has the same problem. Losing the post office has been "extremely inconvenient," she said.


Preston is the primary salesperson, and also does the mail runs. She now has to find someone to watch the store while she goes to the "overcrowded" post office. Since Preston is the only one who works the register, this means a potential customer could be waiting an hour or so until she returns. "I may possibly lose a sale because of it," she said.


In Huntsville, Ala., small business owners are nervous about their local USPS mail-processing and distribution center shutting down completely next month. USPS had already decided last year to phase out operations at that facility, separate from the 250 currently under evaluation, as part of its ongoing effort to shrink costs.


As a result, all outgoing mail generated in Huntsville for delivery to local zip codes is already going more than 100 miles away to a mail-processing center in Birmingham and then returning to Huntsville, said Sue Brennan, a USPS spokeswoman.


"Time is money for small businesses, especially in this economy," said Mayor Tommy Battle, a former businessman.


"A mail delay of three or four days could mean lost sales," he said. "So many small businesses today still aren't tech savvy and depend on direct mail to market their products and services."


Brennan said there could be changes in mail delivery, but couldn't say definitively what they could be.


Tulsa, Okla., is in a similar predicament as Huntsville. Business owners and city officials are fighting to prevent their local USPS mail-sorting center from relocating 100 miles away to Oklahoma City.


Tulsa is a buzzing hub, boasting 41,000 small businesses, half of which employ fewer than 10 workers.


One of those businesses belongs to Forrester Cameron, CEO & publisher of Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers, who is worried that the closure of the local mail-processing plant will hurt his company.


Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers prints and distributes 37,500 papers monthly in the Tulsa metro area. If the local center closes, subscribers who get their papers in the mail will get them a day or two late, said Cameron. Payments to the business will be delayed as well, he added.


The problem is that all mail coming from Tulsa for delivery to local Tulsa zip codes will go first to Oklahoma City for sorting and then back to Tulsa for delivery, according to USPS.


"It doesn't make sense," said Cameron. "Why is my mail going to a rival city only to then come back?


The potential closure could not come at a worse time. Tulsa is experiencing a surge in economic growth, with $350 million in capital investment planned for new area development this year in the downtown region, said Chris Benge, senior vice president of government affairs, with Tulsa Metro Chamber.


Challenges that almost ruined my business


Small businesses will benefit from new projects coming to the area, which include a new geothermal system that will provide heat and cooling in downtown Tulsa, said Benge. "With such heavy momentum on our side right now, we need to have our postal centers to support businesses," he said.


Brennan said it's too soon to speculate on the impact on mail delivery since the agency won't take any action on Tulsa's processing center until May 15.


Meanwhile, the USPS is expected to consolidate a few mail-sorting centers in West Virginia as well.


But not all small business owners are anxious about that.


"Consolidation is necessary," said Tom Crouser, president of Crouser & Associates, Inc., a small business consultancy in Charleston, W.Va.


"I am all for post offices," said Crouser, who also owns a successful 100-location national printing franchise. "I obviously use it for business purposes and to market my business."


But some of the post offices slated to go in the state are near others, he explained. "If you keep the ones with higher traffic open, it really won't make much of a difference."


Better to close some post offices so others can survive, he added. If the USPS goes bankrupt, that will be more "devastating to small businesses."


View this article on CNNMoney



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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 03:14:02 pm »

People basically stop using the post office for first class mail, then they wonder why they don't have a post office any more!

They need to stop and think how much money the post office is no longer getting from people now using email, etc. First class postage is what has kept the post office in business. As for shipping, it's been a mixed bag for decades as there are many companies that do package shipping, not just the post office.

They need to quit trying to partially compete with FedEx and UPS on package shipping, and focus on what they did from the start, which is indivial communications by mail. Trying to compete with private industry isn't working because the post office isn't that kind of company, nor do people look at it like that. It's the Post Office!

FedEx and UPS, etc sprang up to cover the larger package industry that the post office never really did that much of. The post office does small stuff and letters. They should stick to what they do best.
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 04:19:31 pm »


USPS to Cut Hours, Not Close Post Offices
By Amy Bingham | ABC OTUS News – 2 hrs 24 mins ago.

After 10 months of angst and outrage that spanned from rural Montana to Capitol Hill, the U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that the 3,700 post offices targeted in May for closing will remain open.
 
Instead, USPS plans to reduce the hours of operation at 13,000 rural post offices from a full eight-hour day to between two and six open hours per day, a move that the struggling mail service claims will save about $500 million per year.
 
"This is a win-win," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said at a news conference Wednesday. "The bottom line is that any rural community that wants to retain their post office will be doing that."
 
Under the new plan, about 9,000 current full-time postal employees will be reduced to part time and lose their benefits after the offices they work at are put got to two to four open hours per day.
 
Another 4,000 full-time employees will see their hours reduced to part-time, but will retain their benefits. These workers will be at post offices whose hours are reduced to six hours per day.
 
"If we can shrink the labor cost we can keep the building open, that's not hard to do, and ensure that customers have access," Donahoe said.
 
Even though many post offices will have vastly reduced operating hours, people will still be able to access their P.O. boxes all day.
 
"We think this is the responsible thing to do," Donahoe said. "Any company that listens to their customers would come up with a good solution like this."
 
But House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who has co-sponsored a postal reform bill in the House, said today's plan only addresses a small fraction of the Postal Service's massive budget shortfall. Rural post offices that will be impacted by the plan account for less than one-eighth of the $5 billion USPS spends each year on operating post offices, Issa said in a statement.
 
"To achieve real savings creating long-term solvency, the Postal Service needs to focus on consolidation in more populated areas where the greatest opportunities for cost reduction exist," Issa said.
 
Under the plan announced last summer, the Postal Service was reviewing 800 urban post offices for possible closure. All of those city offices, many of which are clustered within blocks of each other, will remain untouched under the current plan.
 
The postmaster general noted that USPS's plan to reduce operating hours achieves only a fraction of the $22.5 billion in cuts necessary to put the Postal Service back in the black. The USPS has posted a multi-billion budget shortfall last year in part because first class mail volume has plummeted 28 percent over the past decade.
 
Donahoe is also pushing for a plan to reduce mail delivery to five days per week and reform the postal employee retirement system, but has to have Congressional approval to implement either item. Postal reform is currently caught in a tug-of-war between the House and the Senate.
 
"This is just part of the way there and it's just part of an overall plant to address all of the issues we have from a cost standpoint," Donahoe said.
 
The postmaster general set a goal for Congress to pass, and the president to sign, comprehensive postal reform by this summer.
 
"Whether it's a Senate or a House issue, let's take that off the table," Donahoe said today. "Let's get this legislation done."
 
The Postal Service aims to start reducing office hours at selected rural post offices starting around Labor Day and have all 13,000 offices now under review operating under reduced hours, consolidated with a nearby post office or local business or closed in favor of rural delivery by the fall of 2014.
 
"We will not consolidate rural post offices without first having sought community input and we will only consolidate post offices if the community has a strong preference to do so," said Megan Brennan, the postal service's chief operating officer. "Our goal is to keep open as many rural post offices as possible."
 
Brennan said she expects that "very few" of these small-town post offices will close as communities opt for shorter hours instead.
 
One in four post offices bring in, on average, a mere $52 in revenue per day and serves about four people. A full quarter of the 31,000 post offices operated by USPS operate at a loss and the 13,000 offices now under review have less than one hour of work per day, on average, Donahoe said.
 
He said that by reducing operating hours and thus the number of hours people work and the number of employees receiving benefits, the postal service will cut operating costs at rural post offices by 40 percent.
 
Since USPS announced their decision to begin cutting post offices in July, 500 have already closed and will remain closed under the new plan. But the 400 offices that had been targeted for elimination will now remain open and operate for between two and six hours per day.
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 09:44:53 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/postal-begin-closing-plants-summer-153120373.html

Postal Service to begin closing plants this summer

5/17/12

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with a multibillion-dollar cost-cutting plan that will close nearly 250 mail processing centers, saying on Thursday it can no longer wait as Congress remains deadlocked over how to help.

At a news briefing, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the agency's mail processing network had simply become too big, given declining first-class mail volume and mounting debt. It will now consolidate nearly 250 plants as originally proposed, including 48 this summer, but will stretch out the remainder over a longer time frame in 2013 and 2014.

Earlier this month, nearly half the Senate had written letters to Donahoe asking that he hold off on closing any mail facility until Congress could pass final postal overhaul legislation. The Senate last month passed a bill that would halt many of the closings. The House remains stalled over a separate postal measure allowing for more aggressive cuts.

"To return to long-term profitability and financial stability while keeping mail affordable, we must match our network to the anticipated workload," Donahoe said. Failure to do so, he stressed, would "create a fiscal hole that the Postal Service will not be able to climb out of."

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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 07:48:02 pm »

The Constitution of the United States

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article. I.


Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

solves that problem.

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Guess that explains all the evolution pushed in Government schools.  Shocked
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 11:03:46 pm »

Excellent find, Mark! I did not know that!

And yeah, even though the US Constitution IS the law of the land, at the same time, you can't help but think that our "founding fathers" DID PLANT THE SEEDS for the NWO OWG that would take place sometime in the future! We are living in those times now!
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2012, 11:43:43 am »

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47571737/ns/business-us_business/#.T8EPx66vftA


The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will offer buyouts this summer to nearly all of its 45,000 mail handlers, part of a plan to consolidate operations at 140 mail-processing facilities in the next year.
The mail agency, which lost $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2012, plans to begin this summer moving mail-processing activities away from smaller sites to reduce annual costs.
As part of that plan, the Postal Service will offer $15,000 in two installments to full-time mail handlers who take early retirement or leave the agency, USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said on Friday.
Mail handlers are workers who load trucks and move mail containers between processing operations. Part-time employees also will be eligible for separation incentives in amounts based on the number of hours they work.
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 12:01:32 pm »

60 House Bills to Name Post Offices, Zero To Fix Mail Service

http://news.yahoo.com/60-house-bills-name-post-offices-zero-fix-144624190--abc-news-politics.html

8/1/12

In the 18 months the 112 th Congress has been sworn in, the House has introduced 60 bills to rename post offices. Thirty-eight have passed the House and 26 have become law. During those 18 months, the House has produced 151 laws, 17 percent of which have been to rename post offices, according to Congressional Democrats.
 
Not a single bill has come to the House floor aimed at reforming a Postal Service, which is bleeding billions of dollars because of Congressional mandates.
 
Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com
 
Today the United States Postal Service will default on a Congressional mandate to pay $5.5 billion to "prefund" health benefits for future retirees. On Friday, House of Representatives will leave town for a five week summer vacation. There is no plan to take up postal reform before that summer recess.
 
The Postal Service has attempted to enact an array of cost-cutting measures to pull itself out of a $22.5 billion budget shortfall. Over the past five years USPS has cut more than 110,000 employees. The mail service, which takes no taxpayer money but is regulated by Congress, has announced plans to close or consolidate 230 mail processing centers, cutting 13,000 jobs and saving an estimated $1.2 billion annually.
 
The service attempted to close 3,700 post offices under a plan announced last year, but after public outcry decided to cut operating hours to between two and six hours per day at 13,000 locations. USPS claims that move will save $500 million per year.
 
One of the largest cost-saving measures would be ending Saturday mail delivery, a move the Postal Service says will save $3.1 billion a year. But USPS can't cut delivery without Congressional approval, and partisan disagreements over whether Congress should take control of USPS's operations until it is solvent again or if it should leave the decision making to the postmaster general have halted any action on Capitol Hill.
 
USPS claims that if Congress does not act, the mail service will default not only on the $5.5 billion payment due today, but also on another $5.6 billion payment for future retiree's benefit due September 30.
 
The Postal Service has pleaded with Congress for years to end the requirement that it pre-fund its retiree's health benefits. But many lawmakers claim that because USPS has such a massive workforce - there are 614,000 Postal Service employees-if it does not pre-fund retirement benefits, it will not be able to pay them in the future.
 
And as long as these disagreements persist, it looks like naming post offices is the closest Congress will get to passing postal reform.
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 09:26:23 pm »

http://nationaljournal.com/congress-legacy/postal-service-prepares-for-second-default-in-two-months-20120926

The U.S. Postal Service will default this week on a $5.6 billion congressionally mandated obligation to pre-fund retiree health benefits, marking the second time in two months the cash-strapped agency has done this.
 
The Postal Service last month failed to pay $5.5 billion for its fiscal 2011 prepayment obligation, which originally was due in September 2011 but was deferred by Congress until Aug. 1. That was the first time it ever defaulted on a payment to the Treasury Department. The $5.6 billion due this week, on Sept. 30, represents this fiscal year’s obligation.
 
Before this year, Congress helped USPS defer pre-funding payments required by a 2006 congressional mandate. Postal reform has challenged this Congress. Lawmakers warn that when they revisit the issue after the November election they likely won’t reach agreement on as major an overhaul as some deem necessary. USPS lost $5.2 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2012, $2.1 billion more than during the same time period in 2011.

Health care for current retirees is paid for from the Postal Service's general operating budget and will not be affected by the default. The agency’s inability to make its payments will not affect mail delivery or employee pay, said USPS spokesman David Partenheimer.
 
The Senate passed a postal-reform bill this spring and its architects have derided the House for stalling on a vote on its version of the bill. The two bills have some similarities, but would address retiree health care prepayment obligations differently. The Senate bill restructures the prepayments to make them more manageable; the House bill, which passed out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

 earlier this year, requires the agency to pay $1 billion of its fiscal 2011 prepayment obligations and make up the remainder in fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016.
 
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chief architect of the House bill, wanted to include postal reform measures in the six-month continuing resolution passed by Congress last week, but the proposal failed to make it into the legislation.
 
Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., a sponsor of the Senate bill, called that House effort a “piecemeal, short-term fix.” He also said that the default this week further erodes confidence in the future of the Postal Service.
 
“I urge the House to come together and pass a bill quickly so we can work out our differences in a conference committee and help achieve our shared goal of preserving the Postal Service for future generations,” Carper said in a statement provided to Government Executive.

Partenheimer said that USPS continued to encourage comprehensive reform in the current Congress, which is in recess. “Comprehensive reform of the laws governing the Postal Service is urgently needed in order for the Postal Service to fully implement its five-year business plan and return to long-term financial stability,” he said.
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2012, 06:00:54 am »

They could solve this issue by doing away with Gaverment agencies that are unconstitutional and shouldnt exist, say like the Department of Education, the IRS, the FBI... Just those 3 would free up a massive amount of money.
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 06:56:35 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/post-office-reports-record-loss-15-9b-145003156.html

Post office reports record loss of $15.9B for year

11/15/12

WASHINGTON (AP) — The struggling U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in payments to avert bankruptcy.

The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand, putting it at risk in the event of an unexpectedly large downturn in the economy.

"It's critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn this year to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health," said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, calling the situation "our own postal fiscal cliff."

Much of the red ink in 2012 was due to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses. Without that and other related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion, lower than the previous year.

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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 05:26:05 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/1-cent-increase-stamp-price-gets-regulatory-ok-220648149--finance.html

1-cent increase to stamp price gets regulatory OK

11/16/12

WASHINGTON (AP) — The cost of mailing a first-class letter will go up by a penny in January.

The Postal Regulatory Commission on Friday approved the proposed rate increase, which raises the price of a first-class domestic stamp to 46 cents.

The price of a postcard will increase from 32 cents to 33 cents, while a new global "forever" stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10. Currently, the prices for international letters vary.

The prices go into effect Jan. 27.

The U.S. Postal Service, which posted a record annual loss of $15.9 billion, proposed the rate increase last month.

The rate increase is tied to the rate of overall inflation. It will make only a small dent in the mail agency's financial losses.
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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2012, 02:51:20 am »

So why bother?  Roll Eyes

1 cent? Uh, the way they are crying losses, and the risk of shutting down service to some degree, I would think the public wounld't mind a much larger increase to help keep the postal service running as usual. Increase it by 50%, and it's still a deal to mail a letter anywhere in the US. Even a 10-15 cent increase, something. One cent is a joke of a fix, unless they are crying poor mouth when they might not be so poor!

When it gets down to it, the real problem is with business I suspect in their protests of any increase at all over the years, and now look at the situation. Business stopped sending direct mail pieces, and instead are sending out spam all over the place to every device known to man. Plus, no doubt individuals have all but stopped writing personal letters, and instead text and email.
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2012, 10:41:34 am »

http://news.yahoo.com/cash-strapped-post-office-tests-same-day-delivery-140931589.html

11/23/12

Cash-strapped post office tests same-day delivery

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emboldened by rapid growth in e-commerce shipping, the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is moving aggressively this holiday season to start a premium service for the Internet shopper seeking the instant gratification of a store purchase: same-day package delivery.

Teaming up with major retailers, the post office will begin the expedited service in San Francisco on Dec. 12 at a price similar to its competitors. If things run smoothly, the program will quickly expand next year to other big cities such as Boston, Chicago and New York. It follows similar efforts by eBay, Amazon.com, and most recently Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which charges a $10 flat rate for same-day delivery.

The delivery program, called Metro Post, seeks to build on the post office's double-digit growth in package volume to help offset steady declines in first-class and standard mail. Operating as a limited experiment for the next year, it is projected to generate between $10 million and $50 million in new revenue from deliveries in San Francisco alone, according to postal regulatory filings, or up to $500 million, if expanded to 10 cities.

The filings do not reveal the mail agency's anticipated expenses to implement same-day service, which can only work profitably if retailers have enough merchandise in stores and warehouses to be quickly delivered to nearby residences in a dense urban area. The projected $500 million in potential revenue, even if fully realized, would represent just fraction of the record $15.9 billion annual loss that the Postal Service reported last week.

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« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2012, 09:21:52 am »

Postal chief: Stop Saturday mail to survive
'We have our own fiscal cliff'


The U.S. Postal Service reported a record annual loss last week of almost $16 billion — nearly three times higher than the year before. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is asking Congress to act now.

Donahoe said on “CBS This Morning,” “What we’re facing now is our own fiscal cliff in this lame duck session. It’s hard. I’ll tell you — all the fiscal cliff (in the news). Hey talk about us a little bit. We have our own fiscal cliff. If they act now, we’ll get this whole thing behind us and we can be profitable and then focus on growing the postal business.”

In order to improve the organization’s financial situation, Donahoe said on “CBS This Morning” that he’s asking Congress to refinance retiree health benefits and eliminate Saturday delivery of mail. He said, “We’re not asking to get dug out from under, we’re taking the responsibility of doing it, but rather than pay $5.5 billion a year we think we should be paying around a billion a year (in retiree health benefits). The second thing we want to do is eliminate Saturday delivery of mail, not packages, just mail. So we would have post offices open Saturday and we would still have package delivery.”

Read the full story › http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505266_162-57555757/u.s-postmaster-general-were-facing-our-own-fiscal-cliff/
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2013, 08:15:16 pm »

http://news.yahoo.com/usps-cuts-saturdays-congress-reacts-swift-strong-204600273.html

As USPS Cuts Saturdays, Congress Reacts Swift and Strong

2/7/13

Several members of Congress in both chambers and in both parties reacted vociferously when the U.S. Postal Service announced it would stop Saturday delivery of regular mail Aug. 1. CBS News reveals Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe announced Wednesday at a press conference that packages, medicine, priority mail and express mail won't be affected. Postal stations currently open for business on Saturdays would remain so, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission . Unlike letter-sized mail, package deliveries have increased over the past three years.

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« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2013, 06:15:49 am »

No more mail at your door? Delivery changes eyed

Door-to-door mail delivery is about as American as apple pie. With the Postal Service facing billions of dollars in annual losses, that tradition could be virtually phased out by 2022 under a proposal in Congress.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday approved a plan to move to cluster box and curbside delivery, which includes mailboxes at the end of driveways.

The proposal is part of broader legislation by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the oversight and government reform panel, designed to cut costs at the cash-strapped agency by up to $4.5 billion a year. The Postal Service had a $16 billion loss last year.

The bill was approved on a party-line vote, with 22 Republicans supporting it and 17 Democrats opposing it.

Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said the agency would evaluate Issa's bill based on whether it would enable the agency to make $20 billion in savings by 2017.

"The Postal Service looks forward to working with Chairman Issa and the committee to improve the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process," Partenheimer said.

The agency has been moving toward curbside and cluster box delivery in new residential developments since the 1970s. The Postal Service in April began deciding whether to provide such delivery for people moving into newly built homes rather than letting the developers decide.

"A balanced approach to saving the Postal Service means allowing USPS to adapt to America's changing use of mail," Issa said. "Done right, these reforms can improve the customer experience through a more efficient Postal Service."

About 1 in 3 mail customers has door-to-door delivery, Issa said. The shift would include safe and secure cluster box delivery areas, he said, especially for elderly customers who receive Social Security checks and prescriptions through the mail.

About 30 million residential addresses receive delivery to boxes at the door or a mail slot. Another 87 million residential addresses receive curbside or cluster box delivery.

The cost differences are clear. Curbside delivery costs average $224 per year for each address, while cluster box delivery averages $160. Door-to-door delivery costs the agency about $350 per year, on average.

Sue Brennan, a Postal Service spokeswoman, said, "While converting delivery away from the door to curb or centralized delivery would allow the Postal Service to deliver mail to more addresses in less time, doing so is not included in our five-year plan."

Brennan said the agency's five-year plan does call for shifting 20 percent of business address deliveries from door-to-door to curbside and cluster box delivery through 2016.

Rep. Steve Lynch, D-Mass., said the plan to move some 30 million residential addresses from to-the-door to curbside and cluster box service would be virtually impossible in dense urban areas such as his hometown of South Boston crowded with triple-deckers - three apartments stacked on top of each other.

"You'd have to knock houses down in my neighborhood to build cluster boxes," Lynch said. "This will not work."

It might work in places like Manhattan with big apartment buildings, he said.

"Look, there's no availability for cluster boxes in many communities around the country," Lynch said.

Issa's plan allows for people with physical hardships to get waivers allowing them to keep door delivery. There's also a provision giving people the option to keep door delivery by paying a special fee to cover the additional cost.

Issa's bill also allows the Postal Service to take into account factors such as poverty rates and population density in deciding which areas would be allowed to keep door delivery.

The financially beleaguered Postal Service, an independent agency, gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations, but is subject to congressional control.

The Postal Service is pursuing a major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, it has reduced annual costs by about $15 billion, cut its workforce by 193,000 or 28 percent, and consolidated more than 200 mail-processing locations.

The service's losses are largely due to a decline in mail volume and a congressional requirement that it make advance payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees. About $11.1 billion of last year's losses were due to payments for future retiree health costs.

The volume of mail handled by the Postal Service has decreased steadily as the popularity of email, Facebook and other electronic services has grown. Total mail volume handled by the agency fell to 160 billion pieces last year from its all-time high, 213.1 billion in 2006. Revenue fell to $65.2 billion last budget year, from a high of $74.9 billion in 2008.

The Postal Service is considering several options to fix its finances, including negotiations with unions to reduce labor costs and another possible increase in prices.

The service earlier this year backpedaled on its plan to end Saturday mail delivery after running into opposition in Congress. It has tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully over the past several years to persuade Congress to approve ending Saturday mail delivery and to free the service from the advance health payments. Issa's bill would end Saturday mail delivery, but keep six-day package delivery.

The Senate last year passed a bill that would have stopped the Postal Service from eliminating Saturday service for at least two years and required it to try two years of aggressive cost cutting instead. The House didn't pass a bill.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_POSTAL_DELIVERY?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-07-24-20-36-16
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2013, 01:44:05 pm »

Quote
Postal stations currently open for business on Saturdays would remain so, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission

Well, that hasn't held true! Not in our area anyway. Two different locations are now closed on Saturdays that use to be open here. And one post office closed completely down that I know of personally.
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« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2013, 05:15:31 pm »

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/postal-had-740-million-third-180723369.html
Postal Service had $740 million third-quarter loss

Postal service reports $740 million third-quarter loss, asks Congress for help to rebound

8/9/13

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Postal Service has trimmed its losses to $740 million over the last three months by consolidating processing facilities, cutting hours for workers and post offices and reducing workers' compensation costs, the agency said Friday.

Still, year-to-date, the Postal Service had losses totaling $3.9 billion, and the agency said that without help from Congress its financial woes will worsen.

The report for the financial quarter ending June 30 comes as Congress considers proposals to fix the agency's finances. The agency lost $16 billion last year and is trying to restructure its retail, delivery and mail-processing operations.

Over the first nine months of its fiscal year, the Postal Service said 104 mail processing facilities were consolidated, career employee work hours were reduced by about 41 million and operating hours at 7,397 post offices were reduced.

The service wants to end most Saturday and door-to-door mail delivery. It also is seeking to reduce its congressionally mandated $5.6 billion annual payment for future retiree health benefits. The agency says ending Saturday mail delivery would save $2 billion each year.

Joe Corbett, the agency's chief financial officer, said in a statement that "without comprehensive postal reform legislation signed into law, our hands are tied and we expect multibillion dollar annual losses to continue."

The third-quarter loss was far less than its $5.2 billion loss for the same period last year. Postal officials said its cost-cutting and efficiency moves helped lower losses, along with a $918 million decrease to its workers' compensation expenses due to interest rates.

Shipping and package revenue continued to be a bright spot for the agency, increasing 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year. That helped operating revenue rise 3.6 percent to $16.2 billion in the third quarter, compared to last year's third quarter.

First-class mail revenue, the Postal Service's most profitable category, declined by 0.9 percent compared to the same period last year. Total mail volume was 37.9 billion pieces, down from 38.3 billion pieces for the third quarter last year.

The Postal Service for years has been wrestling with declining mail volume and a 2006 congressional requirement that it make advance payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees, something no federal agency does. The agency expects to miss a $5.6 billion health care payment next month at the end of its fiscal year. It defaulted on two similar payments last year.

The pre-funding requirement for future retiree health benefits accounts for the brunt of the agency's red ink and underscores the urgency for Congress to end the mandate, postal officials say. About $11.1 billion of last year's $16 billion agency losses were due to the annual health care payments.

Earlier this year, the agency backpedaled on its plan to end Saturday mail delivery after running into opposition in Congress.

The National Association of Letter Carriers says ending Saturday delivery would hurt small businesses along with rural residents and the elderly, who depend more heavily on the mail for prescription drugs and other goods.

Postal officials also want permission to ship beer, wine and spirits to compete with private shippers such as FedEx, saying it could bring in as much as $50 million a year. The service also favors gradually ending most door-to-door deliveries in favor of curbside and cluster box service to save money.

Congress is beginning to tackle plans to help the Postal Service.

A Senate bipartisan proposal would let the agency end Saturday delivery in a year and make changes in how pensions and retiree health care costs are calculated in an attempt to stabilize the agency's finances.

It also would impose a two-year moratorium on closing mail processing plants. The agency also would be allowed to ship alcohol. Hearings on the bill are expected after Congress returns from its summer break next month.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently approved a bill to end Saturday delivery and to change how pension and retiree health costs are calculated to curb the agency's losses. The GOP measure did not win any Democratic votes. The bill also directs the agency to gradually shift from door-to-door delivery to cluster box and curbside delivery as a cost-cutting move over the next decade, something which many House Democrats oppose.

The Postal Service is an independent agency that receives no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.
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« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2013, 12:14:15 pm »

Was at the post office the other day, and noticed that after years and years(in my lifetime, that is) of the PO giving that confirmation label(to track your packages and mail) option for about a dollar extra or so...NOW...it's called USPS tracking, and while it's free for all packages sent, nonetheless it IS mandatory and is printed on your paid receipt.

What I read was Confirmation Label(in blue print) is now USPS Tracking(in red print) - anyhow, it looks like they're getting everything on the fast track of tracking as much of everything as possible.
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« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2013, 02:56:53 pm »

The "pitch" is obviously convenience, and people buy into it. Who wants their package to not show up? Who wouldn't want their package to be handled properly? THAT is the carrot, because on the surface, it makes total sense and is innocent enough, and really, the digital concept of following an item throughout a process to make sure it gets to the intended person seems reasonable.

The "hitch" is what can be done with the resulting data, which is at the nature of electronics, it produces data and uses databases to operate as efficiently as possible. It doesn't care who you are or what you are doing. All it knows is what it's programmed to do, the whole HAL 9000 thing. The "string" is what people do with said data.
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« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2013, 12:36:00 pm »

http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=AP&date=20131115&id=17113357
11/15/13
Post office reports loss of $5 billion for year

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service said Friday it lost $5 billion over the past year, and postal officials again urged Congress to pass legislation to help the beleaguered agency solve its financial woes.

The agency's seventh straight annual loss came despite its first growth in revenue since 2008. Operating revenue rose 1.2 percent to $66 billion, thanks to growth in the post office's package delivery business and higher volume in standard mail.

But that was not enough to offset long-term losses in first class mail — the post office's most profitable service — where revenues declined by 2.4 percent.

"We've achieved some excellent results for the year in terms of innovations, revenue gains and cost reductions, but without major legislative changes, we cannot overcome the limitations of our inflexible business model," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said.

The Postal Service has struggled for years with declining mail volume, but the lion's share of its financial plight stems from a 2006 congressional requirement that it make annual $5.6 billion payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees. It has defaulted on three of those payments.

Postal officials have been pressing Congress to let the agency end Saturday mail delivery and reduce the payments for retiree health benefits. But prospects for a legislative fix are increasingly unlikely this year.

"The lack of action is simply unfair to customers and employees and all the stakeholders that depend on a healthy postal service," Donahoe said.

The Postal Service also has asked for an emergency rate hike in the cost of a first-class stamp from 46 to 49 cents. That request must be approved by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.

Donahoe said the postal service saved $1 billion over the past year by consolidating 143 mail processing centers, eliminating 1,400 delivery routes and modifying retail hours in 7,000 post offices. It has also reduced its career workforce by 37,400 through attrition.

The $5 billion loss is less than a third of the record $15.9 billion loss the Postal Service reported last year.

Earlier this week, the agency announced a lucrative deal with retail giant Amazon to begin package delivery on Sunday. While growing Internet use has shrunk the volume of first class mail dramatically, the rise of online shopping has been a boon to the postal service's package delivery business.

Revenue from package services rose by $923 million, or 8 percent, last year and shipping and package services now represent 16 percent of the agency's revenues.

The Postal Service is an independent agency that does not depend on tax money for its operations but is subject to congressional control.

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« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2017, 10:04:21 am »

http://redstatewatcher.com/article.asp?id=86771
WOW: Amazon Subsidy Exposed!

According to a new analysis, Amazon receives the equivalent of a $1.46 subsidy on every package it delivers.

From The WSJ:

In my neighborhood, I frequently walk past “shop local” signs in the windows of struggling stores. Yet I don’t feel guilty ordering most of my family’s household goods on Amazon. In a world of fair competition, there will be winners and losers.


But when a mail truck pulls up filled to the top with Amazon boxes for my neighbors and me, I do feel some guilt. Like many close observers of the shipping business, I know a secret about the federal government’s relationship with Amazon: The U.S. Postal Service delivers the company’s boxes well below its own costs. Like an accelerant added to a fire, this subsidy is speeding up the collapse of traditional retailers in the U.S. and providing an unfair advantage for Amazon.

This arrangement is an underappreciated accident of history. The post office has long had a legal monopoly to deliver first-class mail, or nonurgent letters. The exclusivity comes with a universal-service obligation—to provide for all Americans at uniform price and quality. This communication service helps knit this vast country together, and it’s the why the Postal Service exists.

In 2001 the quantity of first-class mail in the U.S. began to decline thanks to the internet. Today it is down 40% from its peak levels, according to Postal Service data. But though there are fewer letters to put into each mailbox, the Postal Service still visits 150 million residences and businesses daily. With less traditional mail to deliver, the service has filled its spare capacity by delivering more boxes.

Other companies, such as UPS and FedEx , compete with the Postal Service to deliver packages. Lawmakers, to their credit, wanted a level playing field between the post office and its private competitors. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act made it illegal for the Postal Service to price parcel delivery below its cost.

But with a networked business using shared buildings and employees, calculating cost can be devilishly subjective. When our postal worker delivers 10 letters and one box to our home, how should we allocate the cost of her time, her truck, and the sorting network and systems that support her? What if the letter-to-box ratio changes?

In 2007 the Postal Service and its regulator determined that, at a minimum, 5.5% of the agency’s fixed costs must be allocated to packages and similar products. A decade later, around 25% of its revenue comes from packages, but their share of fixed costs has not kept pace. First-class mail effectively subsidizes the national network, and the packages get a free ride. An April analysis from Citigroup estimates that if costs were fairly allocated, on average parcels would cost $1.46 more to deliver. It is as if every Amazon box comes with a dollar or two stapled to the packing slip—a gift card from Uncle Sam.

7/14/17
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