You've Got (No) Mail!

Tyler Durden's picture

In light of its 19th quarter of losses in a row, calls for a Federal bailout, and recent consideration of adding a Bitcoin exchange to its non-bank financial services (via a "postcoin"), we thought a glimpse how "postal" the USPS is set to become was useful. Some will call it progress of course but as the following chart shows, the number of US Postal Service employees has fallen to 50-year lows (and would and could be more) - "The Postal Service is doing its part within the bounds of law to right-size the organization,"  blaming federal mandates that restrict how it can conduct business and excessive funding requirements for its employee pension plan.



h/t @Not_Jim_Cramer

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Max Damage's picture

Algos go beserk trying to start a buying frenzy based on that chart. Who cares that they can't buy any. MOAR

fonestar's picture

Snail Mail.... replaced by 1's and 0's with no "intrinsic value".

Max Damage's picture

Ticker USPS up 27% the algos have seen the abbreviation and gone for it.......

quasimodo's picture

And on heavy volume! That is one active message board there too.

nuclearsquid's picture

I would trash the USPS here, but I vowed to begin posting counterarguments, at least when I can find valid ones.


The USPS relies almost entirely on postage stamp revenue and rarely takes taxpayer funding.  The are in dire straits now mainly because of a recent law that requires them to prepay pension and healthcare costs of retiress (in multiple large bullets).  Compare this to the states, and thousands of municipalities, where these obligations are met with unicorn farts and pixiedust.  No wonder they have to lay off (or hire less of) so many workers.

Good for them.

Who here on this site will attack a government agency that is attempting to run like a profitable business, all while cutting bloated labor expenses and remaining at least efficient enough for Amazon to rely on?

nuclearsquid's picture

P.S.  I only half-meant the above defense.  I think the idea of the government visiting every abode in the U.S. six times a week is scary and retarded at the same time.

macholatte's picture

I think the idea of the government visiting every abode in the U.S. six times a week is scary and retarded at the same time.


I think it's wonderful.

For less than half a dollar I can have a courier pick up an envelope at the location of my choice and deliver it just a short time later to nearly any location in the country with a very high degree of reliability. It's fantastic!

JoeSexPack's picture

USPS survives due to monopoly on stamps.


Allowing FedEx & UPS to sell stamps will kill USPS in less than a year.


Good riddance, most all my mail is advert's.

Flakmeister's picture

Hell, my local grocery store has been selling stamps for years and the USPS is still around... 

JoeSexPack's picture

They sell USPS stamps, monopoly-approved.


Illegal for FedEx or UPS to sell their own stamps.


Gov't stamp monopoly, be glad to see them vanish.

Droel's picture

Have you looked at the letter carriers lately? They look like they've given up.  They barely wear uniforms anymore and when they do they are quite disheveled.  They have no pride in their job anymore. 

JoeSexPack's picture

USPS is communism in America.


Gov't monopoly, can't be fired, hire mostly unemployable losers.


Contrast with UPS. Fast, efficient, professional. Never seen a UPS driver idle or fat.

balanced's picture

You obviously have no idea what you're taking about JoeSexPack.

The USPS exists today due to one thing - slave labor. I am unfortunate enough to have first-hand experience with their tactics. The vast majority of mail carriers are temporary contractors. After temping for a year, the USPS is supposed to hire them on as full time employees... so all temps get a week off every year during which they are officially let go then re-hired. Most of them drive their own vehicles which end up trashed. All of that is done for just over minimum wage and no benefits.

Flakmeister's picture

Sounds like what any Captain of American "Industry" would do to maximize the bottom line...

JoeSexPack's picture



The facts remain. USPS has a monopoly on stamps. Allow FedEx & UPS to sell stamps & USPS will die in a year.


Its actual purposes are to deliver mostly junk ad's & employ lazy losers. It's a political patronage program, or vote-buying scheme, for Dem's & their unions.


USPS is a drag on the US. Dump them & US is much better place. No junk mail & horrid USPS attitudes.

JoeSexPack's picture

Some USPS stories, I need to vent.


Local Hermosa Beach, CA post office refused to put letter from me into PO Box in their station without a stamp. Surly black woman glared at me & said 'I can't be walkin' back there all day.' So I bought a stamp & she sent that letter downtown, reached PO Box 3 days later.


Visited Redondo Beach office on Artesia, & line went from 4 to over 10. Older black woman silently closed her window & walked out back, leaving friendly Philipino clerk on her own.


Package from Amazon went missing. Redondo office claimed delivered, but refused to name carrier. I visited to check & 2 different clerks told me to call supervisor Melvin, but wouldn't tell me his hours. Called Melvin 10 times over 2 weeks (no voice mail), then one day a woman picked up, told me Melvin quit 6 months ago & to call postal inspector dept. Inspection dept took my name & #, & said they'd call but didn't. Refused to give name of inspector involved. Local clerks lied to my face twice about a phantom-supervisor &  refused to give name of carrier. Inspection dept never called & refused to name inspector.


Told this to Amazon & they sent replacement BBQ thermometers overnight, no fee. Give me private carriers every time.

Midas's picture

I've got a very similar story, but mine is with UPS.  It has only been three weeks though, I haven't completely given up on my parcel.

StychoKiller's picture

Mebbe you should have called the Postal Inspector General and reported that someone had stolen yer package at the Redondo facility, just saying.

Oldballplayer's picture

When I was in college, my summer job was as a casual carrier.  I delivered mail in the ghettos of the local urban sprawl.  I was a big football player so they thought they could put me in the shitty areas and no one would bother me.

Here I was little white boy, having people follow me, stuff dropped off third floor windows in my way, and generally just getting hassled.

I learned that the US can be a scary place.  I learned there were places where the population lived off the government, and I delivered their checks--twice a month.  I learned that a common name was Jose Rodriguez-Colon.  I guess that was John Smith.

I also gained a huge level of respect for the regular letter carriers.  They really did a good job--and they got pissed if you screwed up the mail on their route while they were gone.

But finally, I realized at a young age, back in 1979-80, that this country was fucked.  There were just too many people sucking at the teat of the government.  I became quietly racist.  I became much more conservative.  And I learned to not trust the government.  There was just no way this was going to be able to keep going on. 

And here we are 30 years later and the cancer is just about spread to the point where the center cannot hold any longer.

And the government now sucks out all of the cash from the post office through the retirement program--so that the rest of the civil service pensions can be funded.  It reminds me of Goodfellas.  The post office is the bar that they bought.  Can you smell the sterno rags they are sticking into the cieling?  They government is just about ready to light them on fire.

Too bad.  They were good guys, doing good work. 


Midas's picture

Consider how many more addresses are in existence compared with 1960 and they are making the stops with the same number of employees as 1960.  Rather than worry about the USPS, why don't we figure out how to get the rest of the federal government back to 1960 levels?

epicurious's picture

I cannot say enough good things about the US postal system.  It is very efficient compared to a lot of other countries Canada for example is the most ponderously slow and inefficient.  On the island I live on part of the year it is the most reliable means of getting anything from the outside world.  UPS & Fedx lose stuff and are not as secure.   Jewelers and even Kitco use it to securely send very valuable shipments without any problem.  Unions the world over have been out of control in terms of layering cost on both private and public enterprise, so lay the blame where it belongs if you need to.

sleigher's picture

General Delivery.  At my leisure...

Max Damage's picture

Up 100% now according to the yahoo link. Needs a price to sales of 50 though to reach fair value

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Except that . . . a private company would automate most of these guys, err, voters, out of work.  Those letters can be scanned in and authorization to open the letter provided by the recipient (who sees the envelope on a website and decides) at which time the contents is also scanned in for online review.

Presto, no more mail trucks or drivers.

max2205's picture

More bullets for less employees. ..makes cents?

Flakmeister's picture

Let see Fedex or UPS do  2 day physical delivery for $0.48...

onewayticket2's picture

sure, if you let Fedex lose $9 Billion a year and underfund their pensions....

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Point to oneway.

But you could fire all those guys and replace them with scanners.

Oldballplayer's picture

Their pensions are not underfunded. 

The Federal government requires them to fully fund every employee from the day they are hired.  100%.  There is no other company in the world that has to do that.

The reason is that they funnel their money into the Civil Service pension.  In essence, the post office is keeping the rest of the system afloat.  Why do they do this?  Because the post office is the only non military service that is specifically defined in the Constitution.  They CANNOT do away with it.  Even if they wanted to.

The whole retirement thing is an interesting read.  And it is the scam of all scams.

WillyGroper's picture

Why not?

They've done away with everything else in the Constitution.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Why not?

They've done away with everything else in the Constitution.

It's the only thing left in it that still works.

sleigher's picture

It is the only thing in it that they are still following the rules of.  The other things work too, we just have a bunch of criminals running shit...

Flakmeister's picture

Why don't you research the role of the firm Sullivan and Cromwell in coopting American foriegn policy for coorporate interests, hint, you need to go back quite a ways, long before "Big Gubmint"....

akak's picture


Except that . . . a private company would automate most of these guys, err, voters, out of work.  Those letters can be scanned in and authorization to open the letter provided by the recipient (who sees the envelope on a website and decides) at which time the contents is also scanned in for online review.

Oh yeah, that is JUST what we need --- some third party opening and scanning the last bastion of communication privacy, our personal physical mail.

Oldballplayer's picture

You obviously have no idea how the letters get from point A to point B. Most of the time the last finger to touch them before the carrier delivers it to the other side of the yours. 

The technology is amazing.  The volumes are amazing.  And the accuracy is simply astounding.  Most public companies would kill to have those numbers.

You need to do some reading.

edotabin's picture


Yes. Having done mail order in the past, I was very pleased with the USPS overall. Now with, Endicia and others you not only get discounts but every package is trackable (albeit not real time). In any case, the USPS really did deliver. Just my experience.


JeffB's picture

It seems to me that wouldn't work for everyone. Some people don't have computers, or don't want to have all of their stuff sent to them electronically, or they would have authorized it to the senders in the first place.

Maybe they want paper documents but can't or don't want to print them out.

Or they're receiving things like credit cards or driver's licenses that can't just be printed out and used.

Or as others have mentioned are getting other physical objects, like pens or whatever.

Of course maybe the day is coming when they'll just receive those things electronically as well, to be printed on their 3D printers, eh? ;)


seek's picture

I found the same when I researched this. It's pretty clear the USPS was being set up to fail, and if you dig just a little deeper, you'll find lobbyists connected to major package shippers behind it -- so just more crony capitalism, and in this rare case the winners picked aren't part of the government. Remember even with this pension burden USPS is routinely able to ship at lower cost than compeitors.

The USPS is probably the only major government entity that has its shit even halfway together.

nuclearsquid's picture

The nuclear navy does, as well.


RKDS's picture


The USPS is probably the only major government entity that has its shit even halfway together.

And that's exactly why the privatization parasites are so hell-bent on destroying it.

strayaway's picture

You forgot the weather bureau. That makes two.

seek's picture

True -- actually the dept of commerce (which NWS is in) in general is way better than most other areas at the federal level, though I'm sure there's plenty of waste/abuse there as well, particularly in the "economic development" area. But NWS, NIST, NTIA, NTIS are all pretty solid, and USPTO tries when it's not abused politically.

Canadian Dirtlump's picture

absolutely nuclear squid, thanks to hastert the corpulent bastard they have a millstone around their neck, but oddly, prbably will always have a funded pension.

Ignatius's picture

Bad analogy unless you've figured out a way for your girlfriend (?) to email you a lock of hair.

fonestar's picture

That is a very real possibility in the not too distant future.

are we there yet's picture

Or email a 3-D print of other parts of your girlfriend.

Motorhead's picture

And you don't have to lick a bitmail....