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  • Morning Bell: Is the Postal Service Doomed?

    Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat is supposed to stop the United States Postal Service (USPS) from delivering mail, but can it be saved from mounting debt, plummeting volume, and the not-so-slow-motion postal train wreck coming quickly down the road?

    Last week, the USPS barely avoided default when Congress extended the due date for a $5.5 billion payment due to the U.S. Treasury for retiree health benefits. It lost $8.5 billion last year, and it expects to lose nearly $10 billion more in 2011. From 2006 to 2010, overall USPS mail volume dropped by 20 percent, from 213 billion pieces of mail to 170 billion, all while incurring $20 billion in losses.

    The future doesn’t look so bright, either. In a new paper, Heritage’s James Gattuso explains how e-mail and moves toward other forms of communication have led to the USPS’s decline and what the near-term future looks like for the service:

    According to a 2010 study by the Boston Consulting Group, mail volume will decline an additional 15 percent by 2020, with first-class mail falling a jaw-dropping 35 percent. This means the average postal customer will receive only one first-class letter per day, down from around two today. At that level of mail, USPS will lose a staggering $15 billion per year.

    Gattuso says the “USPS is failing and needs to change. As currently structured, it cannot survive unless supported by tens of billions of dollars in subsidy.” To be sure, the USPS has significant problems and needs restructuring. It has already proposed several reforms, including reducing the postal workforce, closing post offices and other facilities, and discontinuing Saturday delivery of mail. Many of those reforms, Gattuso explains, would require congressional authorization to implement.

    On Monday at The Heritage Foundation, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), a successful businessman before coming to Congress, spoke about his plan to save the USPS from financial collapse. And in a special interview, he told Heritage about some of the reforms his plan would implement:

    The real reforms for the Post Office are get efficient vehicles, get efficient distribution centers–they have way too many of them–[and] have sufficient post offices to meet the needs of the post office and the people that they’re going to serve.

    You take all of those savings in efficiency, reduce the size of labor, have the new facilities, less facilities, what you need, and the Post Office can make a 2 or 3 billion dollar profit next year. We just have to do that, including the right number of workers.

    The USPS has a serious problem, and Congress should act quickly to address it. But “saving” the service shouldn’t be the goal–and taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for preserving an obsolete industry. Technology has rapidly changed, as has the way people communicate. With the evolution of digital communications, the USPS must adjust to the new way of doing business, and Congress should make it easier for the USPS to adapt–and that means making it easier for USPS to close post offices, reduce its workforce, and trim services. The USPS doesn’t have to become extinct, but Congress needs to allow it to make the changes it needs to survive.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    145 Responses to Morning Bell: Is the Postal Service Doomed?

    1. Andrew Constantine says:

      The post office's feature will really be with packages to deliver all our technology :)

      • STeven says:

        I don't know how to do a new post so I'll just piggy back on your post if you don't mind. There are two things that tick me off about this article. First, the Postal Service is not subsidized one cent from taxes. We have to borrow from a private institution when we are short just like any other business. Do you know any other federal entity that has it's hands tied in adjusting it's costs to inflation like the Postal Service? Did you know that for every penny gas prices go up that it costs $1 million annually? Do you know any other federal entity that provides a service to which you have the elected option to purchase it's services or not? Servicing every address and forwarded mail for a pretty damned cheap price. A stamp goes up 2 cents and people are ready to shut down the P.O. while gas goes up 20 cents and it's no big deal. Again, the P.O. is not presently funded under any part by tax payer dollars. Of all the federal entities it's amazing that people are so anxious to put 620,000 more people out of employment and onto more government payrolls. I'll post the second thing in the next comment…

      • Steven says:

        Ok…second thing that ticks me off…the "retirement payment to the treasury" is purposefully left only a partial story in what really happened that it seems purposefully reported this way by many conservatives to purposefully sway anger and resentment toward the P.O. In 2006 a committee formed under the direction of George W. Bush passed into law Postal reforms. Part of that reform bill was that the P.O. had to prepay future…FUTURE…retirees health benefits for the next 75 years. So they made up a formula as to what it would cost for the next 75 years of future retirees and said the service had to pay that amount within 10 years. There has never been another private or public organization or business that has ever been saddled with anything like this. We were just overnight saddled with an additional $5.5 billion a year of costs magically. This is presently solely responsible for the Post Offices debt. If not for that it would be in the black. Don't you just love how it's paid to the treasury too?? Not to something created to keep it safe but to the treasury where they'll spend it however they want. In addition the P.O. has overfunded civil service retirement by up to $70 billion and the FERS retirement by $7 billion. I agree that there is a case to be made about the future of the Postal Service but this other crap is just b.s. If you're going to tell the story don't hide facts just to sway the opinion of the American Public. That is what I absolutely hate about the left and now I'm seeing the same tactic being used by the right.

    2. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      Continue to elect lifer-politicians from the Republican & Democratic party and, guess what? You will get the same results. The Postal Service can be a viable entity, if the lifer-politicians who depend on union money and status quo support from union thugs & bureauacrats do not permit drastic changes.

      Also, if private companies were given the opportunity to deliver 1st class mail, you would see rapid changes in cost & customer service. The Federal & State governments do not create jobs…they create a luxuary life style for lifer politicians.

      • W Kerrigan says:

        Dr. , You hit a home run with those comments. Anything that congress tries to improve or fix eventually fails miserably. Look at what they've done to our banking system!

      • SANDY says:

        we should audit the postal service, i read that they paid moving expenses for upper management and further benefits. if they cannot honor their budget, time to privatize this failure.

      • Robert says:

        It seems to me that someone should have told the Postal service 20 years ago that they did not have to keep unprofitable branches.
        No other company could have done any better with the restrictions that congress has always had on the postal service. Add to that the requirement to Pre-fund retirements that no one else has to do and you create an impossible business model.
        Sure there has been management abuses but not likely more than any other company.
        But yet another thought. exactly where is that money, the billions that have been paid in to pre-fund retirement benefits, perhaps the same place that the Social Security money went?

      • Nick says:

        The republicans passed legislation in late 2006 to bankrupt the post office so they could later privatize it. In privatizing it you get rid of a large union and unions don't support republicans because republicans are anti worker.

    3. Janet says:

      Why is no one mentioning the obvious need to find ways to cut back on the unnecessary mail — which is the vast majority of it — being delivered? Most of what I receive is unwanted – catalogs, solicitations, etc. What a terrible waste, to say nothing of the tremendous cost involved. Junk mail is a huge financial wasteland.

      • brassia says:

        Actually the ONLY OBVIOUS reason is -UNIONS!!!! People with barely high school eucation are making 6 figure salaries, being paid triple overtime during holidays _ I know it for a fact as my best friend's nephews work in FL. post offices. And one woman was told to work the window , she felt her "legitimate break" was cut few min short, she walked out of her job, sued the post office- after year and a half of litigation and law suit not only she was awarded thousands of dollars for emotional distress, but also was given early retirement (she is only 42!!!!) .. And the person who handled her case isn't even an attorney, but he handled many such cases before!!!!
        .Now, tell me HOW ANY COMPANY can survive such abuse of funds.

      • Bill says:

        I suspect that junk mail is the post offices main source of revenue now.

      • Robert says:

        Advertiser mailings create substantial income for the post office and if it didn't work mailers would stop doing it.

    4. Joe Rogers says:

      This is the perfect time to open mail boxes to all delivery services and let the private sector take over the mail. The silliness of the Postal Service owning your mail box is obvious enough even for members of Congress to see. Well, maybe not all of them!

      • Bill says:

        I agree but the PO is part of the Constitution. How do we open this up to competition? Perhaps we should look at the parts of government that are NOT part of the Constitution and get rid of them entirely.

      • eyewatcher says:

        and what about the security of your mailbox….anyone can do anything….is that what you really want? The politicians STEAL from the Post office and this is why the post office is going downhill. The gov't constantly takes the money of USPS employees retirement accts and puts it in otherplaces to use that money. The Post Office was actually profitable last year but THEY dont want you to know this. Millions of jobs will be destroyed ADDING to the already unemployment issue. Local economies will be devasted cause that's more money people will not be spending in the restaurants, Stores, etc. This is a disaster coming and all for what?? Politicians are Lieing…..USPS employees should NOT be paying for retiree's benefits who are NOT hired YET. Is there any other company in America that has to pay for benefits for people 75 years in advance??? I think NOT.

    5. GWM says:

      The model that was used to form the USPS is no longer valid with the advance of technology. Drastic cuts in equipment, buildings,people and union contracts are the only actions that will save it now.

    6. Mary says:

      The Postal Service needs to unload the attitude they have employed over the years- it's the employees, not E-mail that is their demise. Remove the 'gift' area that robs the local shops of selling their cards, etc. And… the over-building of facilities when the in-town post offices were more convenient- and, feasible. Then, they wonder why people use E-mail. Since E-mail, the Postal Service has always had an envious eye- they have a website. Down-size the employment- and, then hire professional people.

    7. Postal wife says:

      Why didn't Heritage mention the pre-paid retirement fund that has depleted the Post Office of necessary funds for years, and would continue to do so? HR 1351 introduced by Stephen Lynch (D-MA), which now has 183 sponsors, is a current piece of legislation that proposes to help save the Post Office from an embarrassing demise, and saves jobs and offices in the process. There have been rallies this past week to supoort it, and it deserves is due credit. Please remember while Congress is partly ultimately responsible for its decline, it is responsible for the positive changes it could that won't require shutdowns and layoffs! There is money set aside for these retirement funds that would fund employees who aren't even born yet, and Congress needs to release them back to the USPS… No mention was made either, in this article, of how management (middle and upper) have failed the system, and have contributed to its inefficency. There is so much more to this story … the people need to know. The USPS is an iconic American tradition, not just another "government agency".

      • Gemfarmer says:

        All business owners have the common sense, that when they have to adjust, due to lack of "caretaking the household", the owners start examining it's in- house burdens, which are the easiest to target & quick- fix.
        However, the unions recognized that process many years ago ( in the mid & late 1800s), and the unions started planning ways to resist that in-house cleaning. So, today we have unions with perhaps Billions of dollars they can get their hands on, in order to fight these in-house cleanups. The USPS is a big, big priority for the unions because almost anyone with common sense can see the Labor overload of the USPS. ( and hundreds of other places that have the same Labor Overload!). The USPS leadership here in my town have made the comment (s) that if they start a lay-off, their friends at church, the members of their lodges, their fellow high school football player buddies, their fellow members of their hunt clubs, their fishin' buddies, their in-laws, will attack them, & so on & on it goes–the fear & threats of local labor cuts!! It is very difficult these days to allow COMMON SENSE PREVAIL!
        DUH!!!

      • Mike Brownfield Mike Brownfield says:

        Thanks for your comment. Heritage's James Gattuso discusses more of these problems in depth in his new paper. You can read it here: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/09/….

        Thanks for reading!

        • PETER says:

          This article was not too bad. It put the blame squarely where it belongs – Congress. It , however, ignores the fact that the USPS is being forced to fully fund 75 years (75 years!) of retirement costs IN 10 YEARS! This article also ignores a question to which I have been unable to find an answer: Where did the money go that the USPS made (profit?) in years it did not have a loss? And also, where are the funds coming from to form the committees Issa is proposing? (Of course, THE TAXPAYER!) As Postal wife suggested, please tell the whole story.

      • Mike Brownfield Mike Brownfield says:

        Thanks for your comment. Heritage's James Gattuso discusses more of these problems in depth in his new paper. You can read it here: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/09/….

        Thanks for reading!

      • RogCol says:

        The ore-pay for their healthcare is what all government agencies should have to do. Check out the amount of unfunded entitlements are on the books for civil service, its nearly as much as Social Security. The USPS is the tip of the iceberg.

      • eyewatcher says:

        Congress is NOT partly responsible for the demise of USPS…It is totally responsible….for it steals USPS monies and places them in other places. They also set forth the action to pay for health and retiree benefits for employees 75 YEARS down the road. What other company do yu KNOW that requires benefits to be paid for employees who are NOT even hired????????????

      • Robert says:

        and for those quick to judge and agree with mr. issa's bill, You could be next if they can at random abolish collective bargaining agreements, lay off and cut wages, it will not stop there and it is not just Union wages that will be at risk. This latest contract less than 6 months old saw many rather extensive consessions by Union negotiaters that was agreed to by Union and Postal service now they want to have congress abolish collective bargaining?

    8. Walter says:

      The Post Office used to be government subsidized before they made it a government business in the late 70's (?) Congress spent what profits it made like they have everything else. The Post Office was never established to make money. It was a service that was provided for the good of the nation. It is now top heavy with management and needs to be reorganized to once again be a service branch of the government.

      • brassia says:

        DE-Unionize it and put it in the same working rules as any private company …with the same salaries and benefits!!!!
        Why di we have to subsidize it when we don't have jobs or the benefits that ebven remotely resemble that of post office workers and their greedy management.

    9. dam1953 says:

      I can honestly say that only about 10% of my mail is of any value. The rest is junk. Of the 10% non-junk mail none is timing critical. Today, documents that must be delivered on time typically go FedEx.

      A simple solution would be to cut USPS mail deliveries to three days a week. Each post office would split mail recipients into two groups with half receiving mail on Mon, Wed, Fri and the other on Tue, Thu, Sat. This would cut the number of letter carriers and vehicles needed by 50%.

      Unfortunately, this can't happen because the postal service just recently negotiated a no-fire contract knowing the bleak future it faced. This is one more example of federal government mismanagement. The US needs to privatize the postal service and stop the bleeding once and for all.

      • PrairieHawk says:

        Before we go to 3-day a week delivery I'd sooner drive to my P.O. to pick up mail 6 days a week. Shut-ins who can't get out could get delivery by a private company for a fee. If they can't afford the fee, they could pool with their neighbors or have a volunteer service, run by a church or community group, bring the mail.

      • Brent says:

        You're right on! I'd further suggest that "general delivery" and stamp sales could be entirely relegated to UPS, Kinko/FedEX, and similar retail stores. They might even provide the service at little expense to the postal service in exchange for traffic into their stores.

        If 3-day-per-week deliveries were instituted in "shot-gun" fashion across the country over a period of a year, a great number of jobs could be accounted for by attrition and partial absorption by these retail outlets. If necessary, the apparent retirement fund reserve could be tapped (in addition to the primary cost savings) to offer older workers early retirement at a proportionally reduced rate (as is offered to Social Security recipients).

    10. Waldo says:

      The USPS needs to "right" size and do it now – just like all those in the private sector have been forced to do the past 3-4 years.

    11. Peter Wormwood says:

      It seems to me that the Post Office is there to serve it's retired employees and not the public.
      A perfect picture of what Government employee Unions have in mind for this country.
      If the Post Office really wants to be profitable it will need to innovate new technology and not try to find ways to just do the same thing for less but charge more. They need their own web based industry. Maybe in the official Government or legal document industry.

    12. Jeff says:

      In the last ten years or so, FedEx and UPS have aggressively lobbied our elected officials to the tune of nearly $30 Million. Do we really think that the USPS is going to survive when private enterprise is spending that kind of money to run them out of business?

    13. Bludog says:

      How many times do we do this and nothing happens?? The unions won't allow five day a week delivery as it cuts the O/T. No one wants THEIR post office closed so they cry to their congress-critter. You can hold all the meetings and propose all the cost savings you want, but until someone grows a set and says this is the way it will be: nothing will change!!

      • Pat says:

        Unfortunately, they just don't get it. Last night the USPS actually was running ads (at least here in Vegas) saying that snail mail was more secure and that businesses should get away from electronic communications for security reasons. Talk about having your head in the sand? Wonder how much the ads cost.

    14. Carol M Kite says:

      Realistically, the manner of communication has changed. As the phone booth became obsolete with cellphones, so too has the postal system been affected by the internet, specifically email. However, there will always be a need for snail mail so there is a need for the PO services to be trimmed and there is definitely a way to do that but unfortunately, the workforce will have to be less, shorter work week, less local offices. It will be a hurtful adaptation but necessary.

      • bill says:

        Since mail doesn't come in as offten we don't need you to work so much. Therefore your hours are cut. Sorry about your house payment.

    15. Robert, TX says:

      Man, the republicans are really getting after it. They have placed the Post Office in their bullseye to "make government smaller" – and that will save us $10 billion dollars? Somehow, I don't think so. First, at least the postal workers work for their money (I know our carrier puts in long days). That's more than I can say for 100 million welfare recipients; 12 million unemployment bums; and millions more who are defrauding social security with bogus disability and "supplemental income" claims. Attacking welfare (with a vengeance) would save a LOT more than $10 billion – try $300 billion, just for starters.

      • Gayle Hubbard says:

        I wish I could "like" this a thousand times, Robert. THANK YOU for making this point. My husband (who happens to be a conservative) is a carrier for the post office & he puts in very long days – come rain, shine, sleet, snow, 80mph winds, etc – he's out there delivering mail. And one thing he has had to deal with over & over again is the PEOPLE getting mad at HIM because their WELFARE or UNEMPLOYMENT checks aren't delivered on time. He sees some of these checks delivered to people who have nicer cars than you & I do. It just doesn't make sense.
        Thanks again for your post. You made my day!

    16. Bill says:

      What is the 2006 law that the TV tells me is the problem? I have yet to find details of this.

      • BrianET says:

        The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 mandates that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health care benefits for the next 75 years and do so within a decade–a burden no other public agency or private firm faces. The Postal Service is actually paying, out of its operating budget, the future retiree benefits of people who haven't been born yet. That cost–$21 billion since 2007–accounts for 100 percent of the agency's red ink over that period.
        The other big financial problem, which also has nothing to do with the mail, is that the Postal Service doesn't have access to tens of billions of dollars in earned revenue that are sitting in surplus funds. As a quasi-public agency, it needs Congress to give it access to it's own money.

    17. Peter Wormwood says:

      When an organizations retirement fund dominates that organization's reason for being there is a problem. It is completely unnatural in any kind of business.
      All future government and quasi-government employees including Congress should be included in the Social Security System. Having two unequal systems that pit the government employees against the rest of the country is maddness.

    18. Joanne says:

      My husband and I are conservatives and part of the tea party movement. He's worked for the Post Office for nearly 20 years. I would like to set the record stratight because there were facts left out of this piece. Congress has tied the hands of the Post Office to make good busienss decisions. They want it to operate like a private enterprise, but doens't give it the authority to do so. Yet Congress has said it's not supposed to make a profit, so it has taken the profits of the Post Office in the years it made profits. In 2006, Congress passed a law requiring the Post Office to prefund 75 years of retirement benefits in a matter of 10 years. I don't know of very many people that could pay a 30 year mortgage in 5 years. Also please keep in mind that the Post Office is an enumerated power in the Constitituion. It is a fundamental federal function. Please support HR 1351.

      • Liberalsownfalsehood says:

        Thanks. I know friends that work at the PO, and they are good people. Government red tape needs to be removed, easier said than done. Not blaming the USPS, but the overhead/government red tape over the USPS should be an example to all what a nightmare Obamacare will be.

      • Mike Brownfield Mike Brownfield says:

        Joanne, thanks for your comment. As I note in my piece, the USPS needs significant reforms, but it's up to Congress to allow those reforms to occur. You can read more about our ideas in this new paper: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/09/

        - Mike Brownfield

      • Mike Brownfield Mike Brownfield says:

        Joanne, thanks for your comment. As I note in my piece, the USPS needs significant reforms, but it's up to Congress to allow those reforms to occur. You can read more about our ideas in this new paper: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/09/

        - Mike Brownfield

      • Robert, TX says:

        Excellent post, Joanne! Thank YOU for reminding us that THE problem (with almost everything) IS CONGRESS!!! We need to remember that while we can substantially cut the size, scope and overall spending of the federal gov't – while returning to our Constitution – we do not have to harm federal employees in the process.

      • KC - NM says:

        Thanks for providing the facts! This is just another example of how our government messes up a good process for Americans. It is time to get government out of business and let private business run the organization. USPS could be a profitable and well run organization. Get the union influence out of the picture and completely reorganize – then grow and compete with Fed-X and UPS.

      • Gayle Hubbard says:

        Thank you for your post, Joanne. My husband works for the post office as a carrier & he, too, is a conservative. It really frustrates me to see some of these posts from people who get mad at USPS. I guess if they had a spouse or another close relative working for the postal service, they would do their homework before they would write their posts.
        Thanks again for your input. We need more people like you & your husband!!

    19. Lee says:

      This drop should not be a surprise to USPS. As the older generation declines, newer generations will use modern technology, such as the internet, for their communications. Every supplier I have asks me to go paperless for getting statements and receiving and paying bills. Only those items I must mail, or receive, that can't use email will be the future. I'm 67 and it took awhile for me to adjust to modern methods, I'm sorry to say. It must be the same for other "baby boomers".

      • tracy says:

        given a few moments I could rationalize away your existance as well. I'm not a boomer this is my life.

    20. WC Winger says:

      Received from a friend; a retired postal carrier who took his retirement after 30 years:

      The REAL reason the Post Office is in trouble. NOT a joke. This is the real deal. We are being hamstrung by some silly Congressional mandates, that no one else has to abide by. No wonder we are in trouble. What a shame. Watch the video.
      George
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl92Exgh9yI&am

      • Robert, TX says:

        Despite the source, that was informative. The fact that the republican sheep are circling the Ospreys around the Post Office tells ALL. We have: an imposter president; an INSECURE border; a nuclear IRAN; our brave [but thoroughly misled] troops are in harms way; our economy is a shambles; our financial house is a shambles; crime is out of control and the republican House is sitting on its hands.
        John Boehner is the biggest failure since James Fannin (of Texas) or General Richard Ewell at Gettysburg. And so are the 240 republicans who FAIL to remove him – all 240 – that includes Bachmann, West, Paul, King and Ryan.

    21. NCT says:

      One of the operational reasons the postal service operates at a loss is because they deliver packages at a loss – they cannot compete with FedEx and UPS. If they focused on letters, much physical complexity would be removed from their operations, with lower cost resulting. The Postal Service also needs to get their employee costs (wages, benefits, pensions) in line with reality.

      • grace says:

        not only that but I have seen that people go to the office just to get the "free boxes" and walk away

      • tracy says:

        No, they make money on the packages. They already go to that address. Every day. Maybe we can cut your befefits,wages and pension.

    22. J Hugh Nichols says:

      There are two other ways to save a fortune:
      1. Abolish rural free delivery for all addresses within 10 miles of the post office and provide a free or token cost P.O. Box.
      2. Consolidate rural post offices and reduce rural free delivery to 3 days per week (and don't hire full time delivery people to do the delivery. Several different measures could be used to determine consolidations and I am sure there are measures of cost that exist today. If not, they could be easily developed.

    23. JOHN PAUL JONES says:

      When I was a young lad, the postman came twice a day and the milkman once a day. I now need first class mail only twice or thrice per week to my home. Once per day at my business. Change is always inevitable. Just give people what they need, NOT what the government thinks they need.

      • tracy says:

        so now we only need you to work 1 day a week and that's all you will be paid for.

        • Dennis says:

          I agree the Postal Service has and hopefully will provide service daily. That is not the problem. It is how to accomplish services where and when needed. That varies depending upon the availability of alternatives and those become limited or remote in rural America. We at least owe our military a personal letter once in a while.

    24. EON says:

      Joanne's post is very informative. The postal system business decisions should not be controlled by the Congress. Also, postal services are not only mandated in the constitution, but in statute and case law. Many transactions in business are required to be made by certified mail or registered mail. We need to find a solution because UPS and FedEx are not capable of delivering the personal and business mail that the USPS does, and 170 billion pieces of mail is a lot of units to make money from.

      • Michael says:

        They or any government agency should not be allowed to unionize,unless the tax-payer votes on the contract.

      • Cathy says:

        My husband served 37 good years with the Postal service. In that time we saw a lot of changes. It is a wonderful service and has been being destroyed by the controls of Congress. Seems we are being held hostage by Congress in many areas of all of our lives. It is time to make a change in the government controls that are ruining our country!

    25. Deb says:

      It's interesting to note that the "solution" only lists changes that Congress must approve. That's a sure death-knell as they know nothing will happen for years, if ever. The issue is the over-inflated pensions that have placed a huge burden on the system. Most of the problems that exist are because of the demands placed on the system by the unions. They have little regard for the country or the tax payers. To them, it's simply a matter of "how much will it cost? How much have you got?" There will be no end to it without the accountability that comes from privately-run enterprise. Look at the money poured into Solyndra–let's have that sort of scrutiny focused on the Postal Service and other "bottomless pits. We simply cannot afford their wasteful and moneygrabbing exclusivity anylonger.

    26. Dennis says:

      Just wondering how 170billion pieces of mail, and still one of the countries largest employeers means the post office is obsolete?

    27. Mike Hadaway says:

      Another amazing story from the dark side of Washington. Invest in another "wind mill".

    28. Bingsley says:

      What about the concept of putting all of the postal properties and equipment up for sale for the likes of Fed-X and UPS to consider buying and functionally converting the postal system to a free enterprise for profit enterprise? Make sure competition is put in place so that BOTH Fed-X and UPS (or other interested company) buy, otherwise it would morph as just another form of a monopoly that it currently is. The revenues from the property purchases could be directed to current postal employees as means of early retirement pay as I suppose very many fewer workers will be needed once the postal system is a free enterprise and then subjected to the principles of driving towards a capitalistic profit and not as an austerity measure for our esteemed congress holes to continue to gain re-election based fodder!

    29. ricky bobby says:

      You all forgot the biggest drain on USPS is THE UNIONS, got it?

      • tom s says:

        I would believe that the unions are contesting any cuts in employees needed to lower the cost of doing business & the unions control congress & congress could fix the problems if they weren't controlled by the unions????

    30. Three years ago I contacted several CEOs of the different privately run national and international mail delivery services to see if they would have an interest in privatizing the U.S. Postal service. My theory was to have several of these companies and any new companies that would be needed to offer the right amount of competition, to propose lease/purchase agreements with the U.S. Postal Service and eventually privatize the mail services in this country. The government, according to the Constitution, is supposed to offer mail services to the people of this country and is one, if not the only service, the government is supposed to offer that has to be run as a business. If we look at the postal service over the last fifty or sixty years we see a pattern of inefficiencies and cost overruns and especially in the last twenty years consistently operating in the red at the taxpayers expense. I got no response from the private sector at that time but with todays problems and no money to bail the postal service out we may want to take a harder look at the privatization issue.

      • BrianET says:

        "…consistently operating in the red and at taxpayers expense." Really? Where are you getting your "facts"? The Postal Service has been consistently running in the black on average 3 out of every 4 years for decades, and hasn't taken a dime of taxpayer money since 1970.
        The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 mandates that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health care benefits for the next 75 years and do so within a decade–a burden no other public agency or private firm faces. The Postal Service is actually paying, out of its operating budget, the future retiree benefits of people who haven't been born yet. That cost–$21 billion since 2007–accounts for 100 percent of the agency's red ink over that period.
        The other big financial problem, which also has nothing to do with the mail, is that the Postal Service doesn't have access to tens of billions of dollars in earned revenue that are sitting in surplus funds. As a quasi-public agency, it needs Congress to give it access to it's own money.

    31. Whicket Williams says:

      If you get the gov AND the union out, the USPS will restructure, and continue to provide a service we want and need. We need to Shrink the fed WAY down, and releasing the USPS from ALL government ties is just a very small part of the reforms needed Congress needs to spend about 4 years repealing laws and regulations, and eliminating agencys We must reform the FDA and stop the GMO's or we will all be dead in a short while.

    32. John J. Walters says:

      I wrote a post about the obsolescence of the Post Office in mid-August, in which I proposed even more dramatic restructuring than they're talking about. Honestly, I don't see this as a bad thing. We simply don't need in-home mail delivery six days a week any more. In fact, I would go so far as to say we never need it. We could just get an email telling us to come down and pick up our package/letter/etc. and concentrate our efforts on running efficient post office locations.

      Here's the post: http://www.mdpolicy.org/policyblog/detail/nothing

    33. I am seeing a lot of "privatize" I couldn't agree more. Every privately run business does better than it's government counterpart if one exists. Fed Ex for example has one of the most streamlined operations on earth. UPS is right up there with them. They leave the USPS in the dust, efficiency-, knowledge-and tech- wise. I see EON's concern, however he/she should note that UPS and FedEx mail deliveries are regularly signed for, easily tracked, etc. The issues of certified mail, is in reality a non-issue. The Postal Service has long ago become an Albatross around the neck of the government and the citizens of the US. It should be privatized ASAP.

      Glynnda

    34. victorbarney says:

      After all, we did vote for a promised "fundamental transformation of our government into Marxism, didn't we? If our Republic is doomed, why should the post Office survive? I'm just asking…

    35. David W. Bruce says:

      The U.S. government was given 16 enumerated powers. One of these powers is: Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7, "To establish Post Offices and Post roads." That has been accomplished.

      Congress has delegated to the Postal Service the power to decide whether others may compete with it. The USPS has given itself exclusive access to customer mailboxes thereby creating their own monopoly.

      It's time Congress sends the USPS into the free market with no tax payer support to compete for first class mail service. We the people can decide who will carry our letters if any at all. Forcing the USPS to be more efficient in order to survive. Thus, eliminating tax payer support for their wasteful spending on high pensions, salaries, benefits, over employment and infrastructure!

      • BrianET says:

        The hasn't been any taxpayer support for the USPS since 1970. It has been completely self sufficient for the past 40 years. What are you talking about?

    36. Al Connelly says:

      Eliminate some offices, particularly where there are multiple offices in the same area or an area of 20 mile diameter. We have two offices and kiosk in a city of less than 50,000 plus three more offices within 18 miles, that is ridiculous. Go to more efficient vehicles, also taking advantage of less distance, and use cluster boxes to reduce the amount of stops and the miles traveled. Retire all employees who are eligible for retirement now and stop the practice of keeping retirees on the payroll. The USPS needs to be run like the military, when you reach retirement you are out!

    37. Bill says:

      Streamlining the postal system is great and should be done. Also a short-term fix is to adjust postal rates. The consensus is that first class mail generates the bulk of revenue and bulk mail (advertisements and flyers) generate the largest volume of mail. Raise the rate on advertising flyers sufficient to pay the cost of handling. This will either increase revenue and/or reduce volume of mail handled. If it reduces the volume of mail handled then reduce the staffing of the postal system accordingly.

    38. Ben C. says:

      Joanne's post says it all: once again Congress has well intentioned legislation with unintended consequences. How about we sell the post office to the highest bidder and let private enterprise do what it does best – make a profit.

    39. patricia a dailey says:

      Don't eliminate the usps. Many people don't use digital ways of communication; nor pay bills electronically.
      How would greeting cards be sent? I personally send written letters and notes as well as receive them–
      They're more personal.

    40. Janice says:

      If the USPS goes under, hopefully that could open up the door for an entrepreneur to take over delivery of first class mail. It would be wrong to totally rely on technology to communicate. So many people still rely on the postal service and one cannot depend alone to communicate totally with computers and iphones.

    41. David says:

      I can't imagine anyone objecting to residential USPS service every other day. Is anyone in that much of a hurry to get their junk mail?

    42. Barbara says:

      One big problem with the Post Office is the unions – notice unionS. They have many. A neighbor is a union representative and I just see red when he brags about the lastest perk the unions have gotten for the employees. He claims the problem is with the supervisors who don't follow the union mandates. Like asking an employee who is in the building to pick up a piece of another route. NO! he is to call in an employee from the "willing to do overtime" list. And if he doesn't the employee that was at the top of the list to be called gets paid anyway – overtime!!!-, even though he did nothing!!!! I don't know about you but I have to work for my perks.

    43. Frank says:

      Privatize the USPS. I know that will mean some people in rural communities won't get mail delivered to their home… they will have to "drive into town" to pick up their mail, say once a week, if it is a long drive… or ask others to pick up the mail for them & deliver it to them, if they can't drive. There will be problems to iron out, but by privatizing it, the USPS will no longer be a drain on US taxpayers any more. A private company should also be allowed to fire every single present USPS worker, have them re-apply for their jobs & only allow back in the best workers. Also, dump the USPS union.

      • jrt says:

        Some great ideas, but perhaps you don't live in a rural area?
        I would love to be able to ""drive into town" to pick up their mail" because I work in town, but my post office is 20 miles in the middle of NOWHERE and not convenient to anything. I haven't been there in 5 years.
        If I have to buy stamps or send a package, I go to the USPS in town. Why did they build a million dollar building in what used to be some farmer's field? Heck if I know! Stupidity…

        Perhaps a better solution would be to allow Wal-Mart to put in a bid to house post office boxes… we ALL go to Wal-Mart to shop in rural communities and mail would be more likely to be conveniently checked there~ lol~ but so true!

        That being said, I believe a more equitable situation is to provide delivery to everyone but limit it to 3 days a week. Honestly, if rural folks have to go pick up their mail, then the urban ones should too. Let's not have any silliness of prejudice against any citizen, rural or urban but treat them the same.
        Treat all people the same. :)

        • Robert, TX says:

          Amen, jrt. Actually, it should be the other way around. Constitutional government services for our rural citizens are NOT the problem. I think the unconstitutional "services" that are being sent to our large, urban war zones in the form of hundreds of billions of welfare dollars, unemployment dollars and fraudulent medicare and medicaid claims cost 1,000 times MORE than allowing our rural citizens to get their &%@#$ing mail.

      • BrianET says:

        The USPS hasn't been "a drain on US taxpayers" since 1970. It is fully self-sustaining.
        The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 mandates that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health care benefits for the next 75 years and do so within a decade–a burden no other public agency or private firm faces. The Postal Service is actually paying, out of its operating budget, the future retiree benefits of people who haven't been born yet. That cost–$21 billion since 2007–accounts for 100 percent of the agency's red ink over that period.
        The other big financial problem, which also has nothing to do with the mail, is that the Postal Service doesn't have access to tens of billions of dollars in earned revenue that are sitting in surplus funds. As a quasi-public agency, it needs Congress to give it access to it's own money.

    44. Dan says:

      Cut residential delivery to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for half of the the routes, and Tues, Thursday and Saturday for the rest of the residential routes. Number of deliverers are cut in half. Number of trucks cut in half. Maintenance and fuel costs cut in half. And bills still get received and paid in a timely fashion. The truth is, even twice a week delivery would probably be adequate. The problem is, we still have gov't officials, who aren't interested in cutting costs. But they get elected by public worker unions, who in most cases, represent welfare recipients with the additional requirement of punching a clock in order to receive their premium "pay and benefits".

    45. javid parker says:

      Postal service employees have, as with most industries, changed, and not for the best. Many times during rush periods employees leave their positions to take a break. No thought is given to the customer. The unions have destroyed yet another great American enterprise.

      The solution is to sell or contract all mail services to private contractors under stringent performance criteria.

      The USPS retirement system needs to be changed to a individual contribution system like private industry is moving to. Post offices in small towns need to be closed and in bigger towns consolidated. Bulk mail prices should be increased by a penny.

    46. Peter Vanderzee says:

      Why don't we privatize this service? Let FedEX and UPS bid on a state by state delivery service for 5 years, which will keep the postal delivery service more aligned with best business practices in delivering to various addresses across the U.S. The USPS can then sell all their assets to reduce Federal debt and FedEX and UPS could hire who they want from the legion of USPS workers. Further, allow FedEX and UPS to price this service, allowing them to make a decent profit – bet junk mail will reduce in volume overnight. In fact, FedEX and UPS could deliver at night to residential addresses, using their existing vehicles, which will increase efficiency, since no traffic jams are likely. And, why not deliver to residences only 3x per week, i.e. every other day? This is a opportunity that is perfect for companies already in this business.

    47. Dale says:

      One commenter made the statement that the post office needs to cut offices, people and…union contracts. I say yes to all of the above and then some. Tuesday in our city is what I call 'JUNK MAIL' day. Our mailboxes are crammed full of the most ridiculous flyers that I take out of the mail box and put directly into the trash. I have one friend that takes them out, marks on them RETURN TO SENDER, and does it every week![ He claims that a fair amount of his junk mail has slowed down a little] So I think a good start would be to stop wasting time and effort for something that the vast majority of people pay no attention to. I for one do not care if I get mail on Saturday and so do a lot of my friends. Let them shut down Saturday delivery if that will help. But the biggest obstacle they are facing are the asinine demands of the labor union they are affiliated with. They need to either tell the union that there are GOING to be some changes or just de-certify the union if they will not agree to the changes the post office needs! It's time to also realize that with technology comes changes. Just as the telegraph went out of business with the advent of the telephone and pay phones went away because of cell phones, The post office needs to rearrange its service to meet the demands of technology or they will meet the same demise that telegraph and pay phones did.

    48. Most of the mail I receive from the Postal Service is 'Junk Mail'. Since most of it goes directly into recycling, I requested that they stop delivering it.

      They would not stop the delivery… so every day they drive up in their trucks and deliver my daily ration of junk!

      I wonder what the carbon footprint of all those USPS trucks is?

    49. Lee Hazel says:

      Right now I get 6 to 10 pieces of mail daily. Of this about 60% is political (I would expect this to increase in the future as campaigns become a continuous feature of our society). The remainder (40%) is flyer's, a few magazines, and other promotional mail. I get one or two letters or cards from relatives or friends per month.
      Additionally I will get a package or two per month from EBay, Amazon, or a mail order house such as Blair.
      Other than the packages there is nothing that I get that could not be sent electronically.
      The amount of mail that I get and the amount that is necessary are vastly different. I find it difficult to justify my part of making up an annual multi-$billion deficit to keep that hugely bloated dinosaur alive and well in its present proportion
      If We The People stopped subsidizing so many categories of mail and charged the real cost the need for a post office as we know it would disappear very quickly.
      Among other possible cost reductions Franking privileges need to have some Electronic Usage requirements where feasible. This alone would drop my snail mail to a drip.

    50. leftshot says:

      The current situation with USPS is a microcosm for why government shouldn't manage, run or own businesses–they are very, very bad at it. These steps and more would have been taken a long time ago if the USPS was truly a private company.
      - To the Government, a $10 billion loss per year and declining revenue isn't a big deal; in the private sector, it is
      - To the Government there is no urgency when new technologies come out that threaten the business or present new opportunities, no urgency when new competitors come in that way outperform the government run operations; in the private sector these are urgent matters

      Virtually every service the government provides should be left to the private sector or outsourced. And the government needs to get completely out of the mode of trying to manage businesses and industries through regulation. They are infants when it comes to understanding these industries, much less understanding the consequences of their own regulatory actions.

      In fact the only industry I can recall that our lawmakers had any clue about was the investigation of the egg farms a couple of years ago. They are both really good at laying eggs.

    51. Pete Houston says:

      Congress doesn't need to do anything. Obama will just do an executive order and save the union in response to the need for the minority vote next year. Evolve or die as a business. When will people learn that their is no such thing as a guaranteed job. Keep your self needed/marketable and you will have employment. Society does not owe individuals a job and businesses are not guaranteed to be profitable.

    52. toledofan says:

      The Post Office should have been privatized some time ago and until that happens nothing will change. Let's face it with e-mails, faxes, tweets, twits and whatever else the need to mail stuff isn't as important when there was no technology, you know the pen and paper days. Just like anything else if you don't keep up with the technology you get left behind. So, Congress can't find savings to reduce the deficeit and we're expecting them to close offices, reduce the workforce and make the Post Office profitable, not! It won't happen, so, it will take someone to lead the charge, develop a plan and implement it and it can't be a Democrat.

    53. Curt Krehbiel says:

      There are so many good ideas and suggestions in the foregoing comments that need to be considered. But who should do the considering? It is not a likely job for any government employee or congress or the senate. Perhaps an independent organization. But who? It sounds like a good project for Heritage. What about it folks?

    54. Capt_V says:

      What about all the "junk" mail that is sent to us at cut rate prices. Why nit charge them the same as regular customers pay? Maybe they would have more cash on hand and we would have less mail to throw in the garbage.

    55. W WAllace says:

      My opinion, get the Union out of the Postal Service first, then any employee that thinks they can't

      work without a Union should also go. Then the Post Office can get back to the "Ole Way" where

      service was important and mail was delivered on time.

    56. Jim Patterson says:

      Ok, we have a new set of postal workers, the welfare recipients, those on disability, etc. and since they are already being "paid" the costs to USPS go down.

    57. Al Engel says:

      Get rid of junk mail – charge same first-class rate that I must pay.

    58. T.A. says:

      Have you ever been in a post office and watched *some* of the employees work??? Sometimes it takes two people to watch… they move in slow motion and act like their is absolutely NO need to move any quicker and there are 25 patrons in line… I say get rid of the Union and let the best and most efficient person have the job. I would bet a 100$ that if the union was gone and put a business man in charge with the power to hire and fire… in five years the PO would be in the black… I was in a union at one point in my life and I did half again as much work as many but was paid the same. The reason I left was I looked at the people who had been in the union many more years than I and thought is that what I want in 30 more years?

    59. Judy says:

      My only comment about the USPS would be: I feel closing the very small town post offices is right. Instead of getting rid of a lot of employees by lay offs would be to stop Saturday deliveries!!!There isn't one person that wouldn't survive by not getting their mail on Saturdays. I would rather see something like this (maybe with exceptions) than for people to loose their jobs in these financially hard times.

    60. Tom Holst says:

      Most of the stuff the post office delivers is "Junk Mail"! That needs to change. We subsidize this junk mail by giving companies reduced rates. If all the rates were the same, these companies would think twice before sending out some of the useless junk they now deliver. That would be better for the environment too, since most of the junk mail goes directly into the recycle bin anyway. What a waste! One of the arguments for keeping junk mail is that without it, many people would lose their jobs! What a surprise. GOOD! That's what we need to do, cut useless jobs and SAVE MONEY!

    61. paul says:

      The problem is that Congress controls the USPS business prsctices (when they can deliver mail, what they charge…) but contrary to popular belief – they are NOT FUNDED by the gov't. They must play by congress' rules, but receive no compensation or support.

      The ONLY way to salvage it is get the gov't totally out of it – let them set the rates, and let competitors fight for the business. Privatize it!

    62. Jeanne Stotler says:

      The USPO has done itself in, I subscribe to two papers, one the Scottish Banner, the other the Danish paper, these are dated, yet I get them as much as 10 days late, even with first class I've had mail lost, once found my mail laying in the street. I see carriers sitting on the side of the road reading magazines and I've gotten mail intended for others. We had one sub mailman who would not deliver anything that would not fit in the box, he leave it for the reg. mailman. I remember when mail was delivered by foot, twice a day and during the holidays as much as 5 times a day, this was not a big city either. I used to mail letters to my mother in Fl. on mon. she'd get them on Wed,(1960's) now I mail my son in Fla and it takes 5 days or longer. Why has delivery gotten worse, yet more expensive??

    63. Pat says:

      Here in Vegas last night the USPS was running ads on TV saying that snail mail is more secure and that businesses should consider using snail mail over electronic communications to avoid breaches in security. Anybody think this will work?
      How much money is being spent on this nonsense?

      • Jerry S. says:

        I am in Vegas as well. Last week we received three pieces of mail from the same business. All mailed from the same zip code on the same day. We received them the day after they were sent. The fact that the three pieces of mail came from a Government subsidized business may have something to do with the fact they all said the exact same thing, from the exact same person. Ironic isn't it. The people sending excessive mail are being paid by the government. The people moving that mail too quickly are being paid by the government. We the people are paying for all of it. If it wasn't so sad it would be funny

    64. Another Postal Wife says:

      Ditto to Joanne. Well said.

      Remember USPS is NOT government funded but it is government run. USPS is not the bad guy here.

      Also keep in mind, as the 2nd largest employer in the US, there will be economical impact when employees are laid off, especially if its done too quickly.

      Oh, and the pesky junk mail? It puts food on our table. :)

    65. doc-polymer says:

      The united states enjoys one of the very best and economical mail services in the world due to the USPS. Congress and their rules and regulation, coupled with the unions are destroying it. certainly there are needs to access the efficiency of the postal service and then implement the necessary changes. Less post offices, reduced delivery days, fewer employees. However, the congress has mandated that the USPS fund health care for the next 75 years at a cost of 55 billion dollars. No other agency has this burden, without it the USPS would be , or at least close to solvent. The USPS affords America a luxury that most countries can only envy and that do it at surprisingly reasonable cost compared to UPS or FedEx.(two great delivery services). Junk mail seems consume the greatest percentage of the mail we receive, and then it is discarded. An increase in junk mail would accomplish two things, more revenue and less junk mail. The USPS must be saved and made efficient with less government mandates along with union concession.

    66. John Therrien says:

      Why can't more be charged for junk mail which is 90% of what seems to be received.

    67. Jon Mickley says:

      Just one small, well not so small, problem about getting rid of the Post Office.

      It's existence is in one of Congress' enumerated powers in the US COnstitution. Article I, Section 8 "To establish Post Offices and post Roads".

      Downsizing, streamlining, more efficient, maybe. But eliminate…not without changing the Constitution.

      • howiem says:

        There are issues about the interpretation of the word "establish". Search for postal power at the justia.com web site. After all Congress did establish the postal service which could easily be considered the fulfillment of its obligation. That does not mean it has to exist forever. In addition why should the way the Constitution is written mean that ONLY congress can operate a postal service? If that is true, then all the courier services would be illegal.

    68. john daugherty says:

      Sell it to a private company and watch it thrive, let other private companies compete. Then watch the answers come – oh- and keep the unions out of it.

      john

    69. Darlene S Iokepa says:

      Let the private sector take over as soon as Congress can pass the bill to do so! On Oahu, I have a "Satellite Post Office" in a very Popular grocery store that I use all the time as it is convenient. What they take in is delivered to the Main Post Office at the Honolulu Airport as is done at all Post Offices. Reforming this "Money Pit" would help lower the debt (Commission of 12-are you listening?)

    70. tucanofulano says:

      1) eliminate junk mail rates – charge the same by weight equally to everyone all the time, 2) eliminate employees whose duties have been handling junk mail, 3) charge a fair, profit-making, price for mail service. A couple of tiny steps fraught with politics absolutely required is usps is to survive

    71. DKID says:

      8 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT C,MON!!!!!!!!!!!!

    72. MSB says:

      Five years ago the Postal Service was in very good financial shape. Congress cannot stand to see a "pot of Money" that they cannot get access to. Thus they invent the retired Postal Employee health fund. No other entity in this country has been tasked with a like requirement. Now congress has the Postal Service put $5.5 billion a year into the general treasury. If the Postal Service had that $22 billion returned, they would have a lot more breathing room while they make needed changes. Currently, they are making "knee jerk" reactions to a situation our congress created from their own greed. Anyone want to wager how many Postal retirees will see any health care benefit from the fund they instituted?

    73. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      I don't know. Saturday delivery's been around for 150 years. The Postal Service should close unprofitable branches if that's possible.

    74. Robert, TX says:

      That's great, Heritage. We just wasted a valuable day arguing about problem # 3,651 – a completely, meaningless problem meant to take our eyes off the ball. Please explain the priorities of the Heritage Foundation because it appears to be: protecting gutless republicans [at any cost], praising George Bush, and blathering about beltway drivel. Please notice that our Constitution; excessive, wasteful spending; serious National Security issues; and a devasted economy were not on the first list. It appears that donating money to Heritage would not accomplish anything real – or relevant – toward rebuilding America.

    75. Ecl says:

      I am old enough to remember when the post office made a 100% productivity increase by switching from twice-a-day delivery to once-a-day residential delivery. Has the time come to make another 100% productivity increase by switching to 3 day a week delivery?

      Proposal: Deliver to half the addresses on M-W-F and the other half on Tu-Th-Saturday. Most time critical messages are currently handled by email, fax or overnight express mail. There is very little mail that, one day more or less, makes any difference. Does anyone really care whether bills and/or junk mail come today or tomorrow? In the western USA especially, but really all over, the USPS mandate of universal service everyday except Sunday is very expensive; e.g. some residences are at the end of 50 mile long roads. When the P.O. has a choice they should favor routes serving business on M,W,F and residential on Tu, Th, Sat.

      Advantages of this proposal include cutting the Postal Service cost of delivery approximately in half, reducing the number of Jeep vehicles in half, reducing gas & oil by half not to mention pollution. There is even an advantage to the customer; in this era of mail box theft, the customers need only promptly empty their street side mail box 3 days a week. On non-mail day’s people can be away without concern about theft.

      Implementation of this plan does not require $billions of capital investment, just a serious interest in reducing the cost of operation. Could be accomplished by attrition. As postal workers retire routes can be converted to 3-day-a-week service.

      All this would be accomplished by now thru attrition if the USPS had started in 2002 when I first began posting this message. Of course, we can’t forget the over half a million workers, including spouses and dependents, over one million voters.

    76. Greg says:

      I am a letter carrier I think one improvement would be to inform the public about the most efficient means of delivery is a curbside box or MBU. We have far too many walking routs in out city and I'm sure in many other cities. If we were completely curbside just in my office we could reduce the number of routs by 5 or 10 at least. That reduces the number of carriers. With attrition, retirements and no new hires no one would loose their job. A mailbox at your front door is last century.

    77. Jerry S. says:

      Could someone tell me how a company that supposedly functions under the constraints of a budget can lose $8 billion. Isn't the purpose of a budget to avoid that eventuality. When my checkbook says $zero balance, I am done. Period and ! How does one continue to spend another $8 billion. That is real money, not chump change.

    78. howiem says:

      If we abolished the postal service, that would be horrible. Here's why: Congress renames about 20 post offices a week. If congress were prevented from doing anything else, they could rename more, and really make a bunch of constituents happy. However if the post offices are turned over to the private sector, congress will have to do something else, and everything else it does results in disaster.. Thus we will be much better off if congress is only allowed to rename post offices. Sadly it would take an act Congress for this to happen , and that ain't gonna happen. But we should demand that the postal service be phased down to an organization that only serves the Federal government and let the private sector take care of the rest.

    79. tcbarb says:

      I will continue to use the postal service regardless of the fact that they are pricing themselves out of business.

    80. ira allen says:

      This article failed to mention the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act passed by a Republican President and Congress in 2006. This Act, passed just before the Democrats took over Congress, forced the USPS to prefund its healthcare for retirees for the next 75 years, and to do it in 10 years. In other words, due to this Act, the USPS has to make a 5.5 billion dollar payment to the treasury every year. No other agency is required to do this. If not for this payment, the USPS would have been making a surplus the past four years. The 2006 Act passed by the Republicans was a transparent mandate to "kneecap" the USPS and to break up one of the biggest unions in the country. Without this over the top 5.5 billion dollar payment, the USPS would be able to address the real issues that confront it.

      Presently, there is a bill in Congress, H.R. 1351, which would allow the USPS to get to its own money, approximately $75 billion, in retiree overpayments throughout the years. Congress is blocking the USPS from getting to its own money.

      There are two sides to this story. I urge Heritage Foundation followers to do their research.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t78OPbq6pCw

    81. jim says:

      The USPS should be an internet provider (IP); and should have been put in charge of the internet from the beginning. It would be deriving income from the internet instead of trying to compete with it.

    82. Martin Lackner says:

      IN MY HUMBLE OPINION IT MIGHT BE HEPFUL FOR THE POST OFFICE TO SUBDIVIDE ITS SERVICES IN TWO PARTS. ONE division would handle LETTERS only and a separate division should handle PACKAGES only. Both sections should be located in ONE MAIN warehouse per city. (For larger cities, several warehouses, located at reasonable distances can be provided) The sorted mail and the sorted packages can then be transported in large vans to pre-selected areas of a grid. From these secondary points, SUV's, or Jeeps or Postal trucks can pick up mail, and secondary SUV's, or Jeeps or Postal trucks can pick up the packages separately. Delivery will be made over a grid to individual recipients. Stamps and postal supplies will only be sold through E-Mail and no public walk in traffic would be available OUTGOING MAIL AND PACKAGES can be picked up at the time delivery on the way BACK TO THE MAIN WAREHOUSE IN THE PM……It might be slower, but miight do the job more efficietly JUST A THOUGHT

    83. BrianET says:

      The mail is not subsidized. It hasn't been since 1970.

    84. Tom says:

      The postal service has people that have no administrative skills in administrative positions. There are problems with the delivery of mail due to the closing and merging of mail processing plants. The administrators have a mindset that more reports by the supervisors and postmasters will alleviate this problem.Many hours a day are wasted filing these frivolous reports.
      Do not be afraid to file a complaint. If we want a better postal system, we need to get involved and hold the postal service accountable as we do our politicians.

    85. twister says:

      The Post Office is like a store that only sells 8 track tapes. Fine for the 60s but not so good for today.

    86. Jon says:

      I read many posts from current and retired Postal workers. I too am retired, Delta Air Lines to be precise. Three years after I retired they declared bankruptcy and as part of it they basically cancelled our defined benefit retirement and passed on to the PBGC.
      As a result I got 50 cents on the dollar of my retirement and will see no more than that for the rest of my life.
      So what is so "magic" about Post Office retirees? Is not the "business" they work for in as bad (or much worse) shape than Delta Air Lines? They are losing billions, why don't they just declare bankruptcy and cut the cost of the retirement fund?
      This may sound cruel and heartless, but how long are those of us who pay taxes, and may have had our retirement cut by 50%, expected to keep funding their retirement?
      Enquriging minds and all that!

    87. DKID says:

      HOW ABOUT FREEZING SALARIES INDEFINETLEY ,THAT WOULD BE A START!

    88. tracy says:

      j hughs nichols he let me guess you live in a city huh?

    89. Dennis says:

      I too believe there needs to be changes to adapt to the lifestyle of those served. Among those who depend upon mail are our Armed Forces who look for letters and photos from home. I hope the U S Mail continues and we need the service in rural America where it is still an important part of business. The Union, government and benefits come at the expense of facilities and service. It is time to slim down and modernize the Postal Service because it is still a vital part of life in most of America.

    90. Ed Wrather says:

      Darrell Issa is right. Taxpayers may have to pick up the tab after the overpaid pension funds are returned to the postal service. However, the overpaid pension funds are not extra monies laying around for Issa and others to use to make it appear that they are paying down on the debt. It is not the taxpayers money. It is not Issa's money. It belongs to the Postal Service. Darrell Issa is simply wro…ng to want to use those pension funds for other purposes. Issa's plan is deceitful at best and criminal at worst. How would employees of a private company feel about their employer using pension funds to fund company operations? There would be an outcry, an investigation, and someone would likely go to prison. Issa's plan is no different. Issa's plan is damaging to this country.

      This issue of post office closings is quickly becoming a Democratic vs Republican issue and a rural vs urban issue. If it continues, voters in rural areas that have been voting Republican, like myself, will be forced because of this issue to vote Democratic in the 2012 election.

    91. Linda says:

      The USPS needs to look at the top end of the Service. Like most government-type programs, the USPS is top heavy and has too many people sitting behind desks. In the past, I remember where some one at the top completely re-decorated her office at a huge cost. The Distribution Centers has eliminated the local mail drop-in service. Why should a letter dropped in a local post office box, addressed to a local individual or business have to go to a regional distribution center, then returned a second time to the local post office for distribution. That one piece of mail is handled twice by the local postal employees plus someone handling it at the Distribution Center. That mail can easily be processed and directed by the local postal employee. Shutting down local post offices is only curtailing postal service to the people who are paying for it. I thought the name of the game was to service the public. If the postal service is a government service, it should be funded, at least in part, by the federal government. Someone with some common sense needs to examine the public postal service and search for the most efficient service. By the way, the cost of mailing is cheaper in the United States than in other countries. Check it out.

    92. Steve burns says:

      The larger picture is much different than Congressman Issa's. The reality is that the USPS has overpaid it's prefunded Retiree's Health Benefit trust by an estimated $76Billion. If the government gave them credit for that it would make them revenue neutral since the Postal Act of (what?) 2002. The congress mandated they prefund this in a mere 10 years while most companies do it in 30 and this funds the benefit forward for 75 years. The Congressional Budget Office gave them the wrong calculation and now no one wants to give credit to the only…ONLY…governmental agency to prefund anything.
      Come on, Congressman Issa. Let's get real.
      I'd also expect an organization like Heritage to get the whole story right.

    93. Joe says:

      The U S Post OFFICE was one of the best jobs I ever had up until 10 weeks ago. I've been in the PO for 29+ years. The pay and benefits were fantastic. BUT as the MANAGEMENT of the Post Office is so backward, They are killing the very job that we all have. Yes we have competition. But we have been beating them in spite of our own POSTMASTER GENERAL ans CONGRESS!!!!!!
      The republicans, starting with BUSH SR. have been trying to destroy us so SOMEONE will take over our job. IT IS SAD that now all of congress is in with all of it. There are still a few representatives that still support and promote our Post Office. But they are slowly dieing or retiring, so our support is slipping away.
      Bill after bill they slowly and sadly the PO is loosing. The workers see it daily. They did it to AT&T, They did it to the auto workers, After we go the only large union is the teamsters. I guess that will be their next target. We will probably be gone in the next 10 years. And then you will see what happens to your mail service and pricing. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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