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  • Post Office Closures: NIMBYism Wins

    Yesterday, faced with stiff congressional opposition to its plan to close over 3,600 post offices, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) blinked.

    It was hardly a profile in courage on either side, with Members of Congress unable to resist the reverse NIMBYist urge to protect their local post offices at all costs and the USPS not wanting to pick a fight with Congress and put other reforms at risk.

    By any objective standard, the Postal Service’s plan to close some 3,600 retail branches was a sound one. According to USPS figures, the bottom 4,500 post offices take in, on average, a grand total of $52 per day and serve fewer than five customers. And, despite the rhetoric, the proposed closings were not exclusively in rural areas. New York City, for instance, had 34 post offices on the list. Washington, D.C., had 19, including several in government buildings such as the Capitol and the State Department.

    Despite the controversy surrounding these closures, the money involved wasn’t large, with savings pegged at some $200 million per year. As a result, the Postal Service had to quickly come up with a Plan B, under which business hours at some 13,000 post offices would be significantly cut—to a little as two hours a day. This plan is expected to save $500 million annually.

    Which plan is better? Frankly, it doesn’t really matter. With losses projected at as much as $20 billion annually, both plans—and more—should be adopted. When your ship is heading into an iceberg, you don’t debate whether to turn away or try to stop. You do both.

    The USPS management does seem to get this. Despite dropping the post office closure plan, it is still holding firm on other proposed reforms. Significantly, this includes plans to close several hundred mail processing centers. This alone is expected to save $2 billion.

    But it is not at all clear that Congress understands the gravity of the situation. Rather than recognizing that USPS is a failing enterprise that needs a radical overhaul in order to survive, legislators still are treating it as a source of federal largesse to be doled out. It’s a dangerous game, one that endangers both the USPS and the taxpayers, who doubtless will be asked to pick up the pieces. Congress should stop playing this game and allow the Postal Service to change.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Post Office Closures: NIMBYism Wins

    1. JustDamnMad says:

      Perhaps what Congress REALLY ought to do is rescind the law that was passed REQUIRING the postal service to fund retirement funds IN ADVANCE, and return the hundreds of millions of dollars so that the bleeding is reduced to a trickle. In addition, they ought to quit regulating the amount the postal service can charge for postage . . . I can afford to pay much more to mail a letter rather than send it FedEx or UPS!!!!

      Maybe the real problem here IS the Congress, not the postal service!!!!! For those living in populated areas with numerous choices of mailing their letters and packages, closing Post Offices may not be a problem. But the logistics here in rural America are dramatically different. Perhaps if it is not fiscally feasible to keep my post office open, I should just quit paying taxes because it really isn't in MY best interests to take the money out of my bank account!!!!

    2. Ken Marx says:

      I can't believe no one has thought of a simple solution for at least a portion of this problem. All of these underperforming post offices are across the street or down the block from some type of mom and pop business. They all have facility and personnel costs. What could be simply accomplished would be to contract out the business to these mom and pop businesses on a revenue sharing basis. The mom and pop would provide a corner in their store and manpower in return for a percentage of sales and services. USPS would still deliver and pick up one or more times weekly, but it would not have the expenses involved in maintaining facilities and employees in under performing situations. Why is no one in authority considering such a plan?

    3. Bobbie says:

      The problem is the ignorance of mismanaging. How can all government connected entities claim billions in lost revenue as if it happened yesterday? This is unacceptable! People in high places connected to government don't have accountability showing themselves unqualified and less than standard. There have been plenty of good ideas not government related. It's ethically right that the accountable pay the price! No one should sacrifice or force obligation to pay for stupidity in control!

    4. Alan VerValin says:

      Heritage, you are missing some hughly important perspective here. The PO's problems are a direct result of the managements historical and ongoing lack of understanding about hoe to compete in the private sector.
      The wizards of smart years ago decided to allow Stamps.com to market official postage, even though every single ad that company runs attacks the PO and harms their brand. The PO can and does provide the same but better service at usps.com, so they should discontinue that contract. Also, years ago we entered into the "last mile" program with UPS, wherein they get the bulk of the revenue from a shipment, and we deliver the parcel where it is not economical for them to send a truck. If they can't/won't deliver in certain areas, shippers would have no alternative but to ship via usps. Upper management has made very bad business decisions and they should discontinue this contract as well. Fedex flies our priority mail, so we can't cut the cord with them unless Congress lets us fly our own planes, which they have prohibited by law as we would be in competition with the private sector.

    5. George says:

      Start w/reducing your overload of Employees. ( BAD working Emps must go first) Saturdays Deliveries STOP. 1st class postage- .50 cents per ounce. (small P>O> MUST Close) OR, one employee(4hrs per day) -5 days.–If NOT functional after 6 mos, then CLOSE it) NO pay Raises to anyone ,effective immediatly. ( New work day-6hrs-5 days a week) FOR everyone.

    6. TheBlackPiper says:

      If the gutless wonders in Congress can't agree to close Post Offices that serve fewer than 5 people and take in less than $52 dollars a day; how can the American public ever expect then to resolve the budget crisis. Every single current Representative or Senator ought to be voted out of Office (since we cannot courtmartial then for dereliction of duty) and start over with a new bunch. And do the same thing until we finally get a group that will represent the People rather than big government, big business, big unions and, most of all, their own self-interest at public expense.

    7. Frank Selig says:

      What really needs to be fixed is the way many politicians think. Favoring the rich and taxing everybody is severly ruining the U. S. I realize they are interested only in themselves. The president, Congress, state lawmakers, county and city leaders oppose more taxes only to the rich because they would lose money paid them by these rich people. These politicians are to blame for the large amount of unemployed and welfare applicants. I really hope that I will be allowed to work until I want to retire.

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