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The Bailout Of The US Postal Service Begins: Cost To Taxpayers - $110,000 Per Union Vote "Saved Or Gained"

Tyler Durden's picture





 

A week ago, when reading between the lines of what had heretofore been considered an inevitable USPS episode of austerity in which hundreds of thousands of labor union workers would lose their jobs but in the process would streamline a thoroughly outdated and inefficient US Postal Office bureaucracy, we asked if a US Postal Service bailout was imminent, focusing on the following: "Enter Ron Bloom, Lazard, and the very same crew that ended up getting a taxpayer funded bailout for GM. From the WSJ: "The Postal Service's proposal to close thousands of post offices and cut back on the number of days that mail is delivered "won't work" and would accelerate the agency's decline, according to the six-page report by Ron Bloom, President Barack Obama's former auto czar, and investment bank Lazard Ltd., LAZ who were hired by the union in October." That's right: after all the huffing and puffing about "sacrifice" and austerity, the labor union took one long look at the only option... and asked what other option is there." The other option, it turns out courtesy of news from AP, is the first of many incremental bail outs of the US Postal Office, better known in pre-election circles as hundreds of thousands of unionized votes up for the taking, and which could be bought for the low low price of $11 billion in taxpayer money, or $110,000 per vote! And so the latest bailout of yet another terminally inefficient and outdated government entity begins.

 From AP:

The Senate offered a lifeline to the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday, voting to give the struggling agency an $11 billion cash infusion while delaying controversial decisions on closing post offices and ending Saturday delivery.

 

By a 62-37 vote, senators approved a measure which had divided mostly along rural-urban lines. Over the past several weeks, the bill was modified more than a dozen times, adding new restrictions on closings and cuts to service that rural-state senators said would hurt their communities the most.

 

The issue now goes to the House, which has yet to consider a separate version of the bill.

 

"The Postal Service is an iconic American institution that still delivers 500 million pieces of mail a day and sustains 8 million jobs," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., a bill co-sponsor. "This legislation will change the USPS so it can stay alive throughout the 21st century."

One would think that the USPS workers would be delighted as a result... One would be wrong. This is merely the beginning:

The mail agency, however, criticized the measure, saying it fell far short in stemming financial losses. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said if the bill became law, he would have to return to Congress in a few years to get emergency help.

 

"It is totally inappropriate in these economic times to keep unneeded facilities open. There is simply not enough mail in our system today," the Postal Service's board of governors said in a statement. "It is also inappropriate to delay the implementation of five-day delivery."

In the meantime, we can now add another zombie to the endless list of insolvent organizations on the government's dole, whose only saving grace is it has nearly half a million votes that can be bought by the highest bidder.

The Senate bill would halt the immediate closing of up to 252 mail-processing centers and 3,700 post offices, part of a postal cost-cutting plan to save some $6.5 billion a year. Donahoe previously said he would begin making cuts after May 15 if Congress didn't act, warning that the agency could run out of money this fall.

 

The measure would save about half the mail processing centers the Postal Service wants to close, from 252 to 125, allowing more areas to maintain overnight first-class mail delivery for at least three more years. It also would bar any shutdowns before the November elections, protect rural post offices for at least a year, give affected communities new avenues to appeal closing decisions and forbid cuts to Saturday delivery for two years.

 

At the same time, the Postal Service would get an infusion of roughly $11 billion, basically a refund of overpayments made in previous years to a federal retirement fund. That would give it immediate liquidity to pay down debt to forestall bankruptcy and finance buyouts to 100,000 postal employees.

 

The agency could make smaller annual payments into a future retiree health benefits account, gain flexibility in trimming worker compensation benefits and find additional ways to raise postal revenue under a new chief innovation officer.

And some more details on the bailout:

—Place a one-year moratorium on closing rural post offices and then require the mail agency to take rural issues into special consideration. Post offices generally would be protected from closure if the closest mail facility was more than 10 miles away. The exception would be cases in which there was no significant community opposition.

 

—Shut five of the seven post offices on the Capitol grounds.

 

—Take into account the impact on small businesses before closing mail facilities.

 

—Cap postal executive pay through 2015 at $199,000, the same level as a Cabinet secretary, and create a system under which the top people at the Postal Service are paid based on performance.

 

The Senate bill faces an uncertain future. The House version, approved in committee last year, would create a national commission with the power to scrap no-layoff clauses in employee contracts and make other wide-ranging cuts.

 

"This of course kicks the can down the road," complained Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who unsuccessfully pushed for a commission in the Senate bill. He said the current proposal failed to address longer-term fixes and delayed major decisions. "We'll be on the floor in two years addressing this issue again, because it is not a solution."

 

Noting that more people every year are switching to the Internet to send letters and pay bills, Donahoe called the Postal Service's business model "broken." The agency has estimated that the Senate bill would only provide it enough liquidity to continue operating for two years or three years.

At stake are more than 100,000 jobs, The agency, $12 billion in debt, says it could run out of money for day-to-day operations as soon as this fall, forcing it to shut down some of its services. The mail agency forecasts a record $14.1 billion loss by the end of this year; without changes, it says annual losses will exceed $21 billion by 2016.

Yeah, yeah. In the meantime all that matters is that about 100,000 votes have been secured for the incumbent candidate. The cost? Only $11 billion, or $110,000 per vote. To all taxpayers.

 


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Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:35 | Link to Comment Jason T
Jason T's picture

The US post office sustains 8 million jobs Joe Lieberman says??? Try 617,000 employees .. http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES9091912001

 

what a lieing sack this guy is.  

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:36 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

Reward and bailout failure. Rather than cap public pensions and ending COLA, keep supporting the unsupportable.

Huge banks and finance, offshore $$$ (fraud accounting) , claim massive losses and demand a bailout or fail.

Bernanke and Obama will come to the resuce and shove the losses on the taxpayer. Fraud is still working.

Who said it pays to be honest?

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:38 | Link to Comment koaj
Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:40 | Link to Comment The Swedish Chef
The Swedish Chef's picture

We privatized postal services a decade ago in Sweden. It was supposed to make it more efficient. I dunno... There used to come a guy (or gal) at tenish in the morning with my mail, now there are two guys around four in the afternoon that delivers it. On the other hand they use to empty the mailboxes around four, now they do it at lunch time.

 

On the good side are postage prices that are basically frozen at approx $0.90.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment Midas
Midas's picture

We pay half that, and our territory is several times larger than Sweden.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:40 | Link to Comment H. Perowne
H. Perowne's picture

Getting terminally bored. Can we start killing and eating each other yet?

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:56 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

Ummm, Long Pig.  

The other, OTHER white meat.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:41 | Link to Comment SimpleandConfused
SimpleandConfused's picture

I guess this does it for me.  I am done with ZH.

Been here since 2009.  Been preparing for the worst since 2009.  Was told the federal reserve couldn't prop things up since 2009.

Here we are in 2012.  Things are only better.  The fed has propped things up and has done so very effectively.  The ponzi is in full bloom and it doesn't appear the rose shall fall as long as the CP want it to flower.

I believe ZH to be the most technically correct site in terms of accounting and finance on the web.  But Tyler's understanding of human behavior seems to be sorely lacking.  every event is portrayed as a game changer.  There will be revolt in the streets, the markets will crash, hyperinflation will be upon us.

But so far, crickets.  Oh, and growth.  I travel a lot between Chicago and Florida.  Every time I travel the roads are more crowded, the wait in line to buy gasoline is longer and the eateries are always overflowing.  I see nothing but boom, boom and more boom.  These are not the events or conditions discussed here.  Just the same old buy gold, dig a bunker and live off the grid.

I believe there will be dips here and there.  The fed moderates the cycles but cannot control their every turn.  But this market isn't going to collapse.  The country isn't going to fall apart as far as I can tell.  But I didn't come to that conclusion from being here.  It is from getting out, traveling and talking to people, almost all of whom (even recent college grads) who are working.

I think Tyler is like the AV kid in high school.  Knows more about more different shit than anyone else but has absolutely no understanding of human behavior.  He lurks in the back room, learning more and more about how things work while the other dudes are out getting laid.  In the end, getting laid is better.

Tyler reports the obvious; governments lie, there is fraud amongst us, cronyism is rampant, some people cannot be trusted, and on and on.  The same could have been written in 1776, 1876, 1976 and I am sure will apply in 2076.

Do yourselves a favor.  Today is April 26, 2012.  Come back in one year and see if the following isn't true:

BHO will still be in the WH.  The debt issue will have been long resolved and with fed tax receipts on the up, there will be a lower debt/gdp ratio.  Gas will be < $4/gal.  There will have been no war with Iran.  Retail sales will have been up each and every month.  U3 will be <7% and U6 will be <9%.  Car sales will be booming, housing will be priced about where it is right now and in general, everyone except for ZH will feel better about life.

Good bye ZH; you drain the very soul of a man.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:49 | Link to Comment GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Seems like you need Church not ZH anyways. This ain't a religion, dude. Live your life let the chips fall where they may. PMs and bunkers are optional.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:55 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

Well you cannot hold your breath waiting for the end of times.

The fall of any empire takes time.

ZH allows information to be disseminated to others while there still is time.

If you can magically find a way to make an exponential function work in a finite work, hats off to ya.

Until then you can be happy. Happy that you have more time to prepare for what IS going to happen.

And "growth"?  We have not had any real growth in like 30 years. 

pods

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:55 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Fair points, but personally, I simply come to profit from the occasional compression trades that Tyler points out.  now, back to work.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:15 | Link to Comment Kaiser Sousa
Kaiser Sousa's picture

good bye and in passing i leave u with two words.....

 

NORMALCY BIAS....

happy trails................

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:29 | Link to Comment Zero Debt
Zero Debt's picture

I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:36 | Link to Comment LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

see you later, masturbater

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 14:42 | Link to Comment Blankenstein
Blankenstein's picture

I travel a lot between Chicago and Florida.  Every time I travel the roads are more crowded, the wait in line to buy gasoline is longer and the eateries are always overflowing.  I see nothing but boom, boom and more boom.  These are not the events or conditions discussed here.  Just the same old buy gold, dig a bunker and live off the grid.

 

I'm not sure where you are looking in Chicago, but I see the opposite.   The traffic on the freeways is lighter than it was several years ago.  Also, the restaurants here are far from overflowing, downtown and in the burbs.  You used to have to get a reservation a couple months in advance at a "special occasion" restaurant for Valentine's Day.  Not now.  Other restaurants are sparsely filled except at the peak times on the weekend.  The running store I went to the other day was fairly busy, but that is not the usual case for clothing or other specialty stores.  There is a noticeable difference from a few years ago.   I have felt it was due to the fact that people are feeding huge mortgages and tax bills around here.  

There are times I question that maybe I'm a doomsdayer and all we went through was just a periodic downturn, nothing more. But there are several local things that suggest more than a regular downturn.   The commercial vacancies around do not indicate a healty retail environment.  Also, the state finances are in horrible shape.  Another scary thing is the mortgages on some of these million dollar homes are huge.  There's more but you get the picture.  

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:41 | Link to Comment manhunter
manhunter's picture

Mail delivery is a public good, like street repair or meat inspection. Some extremists don't want to pay for anything, but it is better to bail out mailmen than bankers. Let the laissez-faire crowd eat mad cow.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:44 | Link to Comment writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

I agree - I can live without interest, I can't live without mail.

 

OBAMA THEME TUNE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaDmZvPPXSE

 

I can live without Blankenfiend - I can't live without my local postie.

 

LASSEIZ FAIRE MEANS WHO CAN FUCK WHO OVER FASTEST.

 

Nice world.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:13 | Link to Comment GeneMarchbanks
GeneMarchbanks's picture

Agreed, Postal Service is one of those little joys in American contemporary life. Sure it's annoying sometimes but the Brown truck dudes aren't the same.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:52 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

You just don't understand how capitalism works. You don't need meat inspection because anyone who isn't smart enough not to eat the bad cows will die, leading to the proliferation of genes that prefer non-brain-eating burgers. It's your free-market meddling that keeps us from being the disease-free beef-eaters we always knew we could be.

Statist! ;)

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:52 | Link to Comment CrockettAlmanac.com
CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Let the laissez-faire crowd eat mad cow.

 

I eat organic chicken, pork and buffalo. You can eat the federally regulated mad cows.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:56 | Link to Comment Zero Debt
Zero Debt's picture

Hear hear, the lesser of two bailout evils: mailmen or bankers. Hey, it is even better to bail out cute babies with a bright future than mailmen, right, just for the record?

And those evil laissez-faire people, they never get it do they, they never want to invest in overcapacity, that is so deeply immoral and flawed of them. We need more overcapacity.

Sarcasm aside, the real cause here is that mail volumes have fallen sharply, and there is nothing the postal service can or should do about it, except to adjust to the non-unicorn reality:

http://www.kdmailing.com/postal-service-decline.asp

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-15/usps-sees-14-1b-loss-on-mail-vo...

For you to insist that whatever service, public or private, ought to retain massive overcapacity in the light of this very stark data series is not only ignorant of physical reality, it is reckless and wasteful policy which does not benefit society as a whole. The rational argument for this has never been a binary one like you portray it: a mail service, or no mail service, it is about the maintenance of a fixed capacity in the light of falling demand. When volume falls, you can not only just cut some variable costs and sing a song, you have to look at all costs, including fixed costs. Yes, service levels are affected, and so be it. There is less demand for those service levels, and for real-world reasons.

You may also have heard of something called e-mail. Why is e-mail never asking for a bailout? Because those mail servers pay for themselves. But that does not make them a public good. Or, would you suggest that the government takes ownership over the internet and declares it a "public good", because it has partially replaced the mail service? Why are not e-mail server adminstrators entitled to pension funding from taxpayers?

And no, not everyone lumps mailmen and meat inspection in the same categories, you can speak for yourself on that categorization. I guess you are also favoring government milk inspectors and egg inspectors on every private farm because it is a public good to prevent sellers and buyers to make their own judgement. Why is it that people never call for government inspectors to stop the flow of food containing aspartame, alcohol, tobacco, additives, artificial coloring and flavoring but go full retard when someone milks a cow on a farm.

Of course, you are free to suggest why mail volumes are going to jump up by 20% in the coming five years and provide the basis of those assumptions for open debate.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:22 | Link to Comment Midas
Midas's picture

This looks like as good a spot as any to explain where this money is coming from.   The USPS has an overfunded retirement account.  It got overfunded because they set aside money for tens of thousands of retirees, but these people are still working, even though retirement eligible.  Every year they keep working the funds go unused and the surplus builds.  These employees aren't retiring at the rates they used to, because of market implosion, housing implosion, and the difficulty in getting a supplemental job after retiring.  The Feds have been sitting on this money and using it to make their budget look less shitty.  This legislation returns this money to the USPS and it is specifically earmarked to be used to encourage retirements.  The last contract negotiation the Postal workers union gave substatantial wage concessions to new hires. (around 10%).  This lower wage is permanent.  If they can get these senior employees to retire and replace them with younger workers, the current business model is functional.

USPS was making good money up until 2006/7 when the recession hit.  They are now dealing with high fuel costs, lower advertising, increasing health care costs, and an inability to raise rates.  An additional penny per letter delivered nets 1.6 billion per year, so a debate about a two or three cent postage increase is not academic.  HTH.

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 15:32 | Link to Comment nick howdy
nick howdy's picture

Yep..Look, they bailed out Wall Street and acording to Wall Street they are "most able"...If you have to bail out these guys...Then anything goes..

CONgress is complicit in causing almost all these issues...From TBTF banks to this PS issue...They know it..That's why they are going to give the impression that they will bail everyone out...

If they don't, the pitchforks and torches come out..But that will happen anyway...

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:41 | Link to Comment Sweet Chicken
Sweet Chicken's picture

Shiiiiiit I'll vote for whoever the fuck they want me to for $110K. I'll turn around and pay off my mortgage and then buy 10K in physical. PLEASE I'll even convince my neighbors too!!!

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:43 | Link to Comment virgilcaine
virgilcaine's picture

Definitely a welfare for work program now. Thousands of laid off usps workers going postal.. can't have it.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:42 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Chump change when compared with the losses the evil bankers saddled on the mortgage agencies.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:42 | Link to Comment SimpleandConfused
SimpleandConfused's picture

I guess this does it for me.  I am done with ZH.

Been here since 2009.  Been preparing for the worst since 2009.  Was told the federal reserve couldn't prop things up since 2009.

Here we are in 2012.  Things are only better.  The fed has propped things up and has done so very effectively.  The ponzi is in full bloom and it doesn't appear the rose shall fall as long as the CP want it to flower.

I believe ZH to be the most technically correct site in terms of accounting and finance on the web.  But Tyler's understanding of human behavior seems to be sorely lacking.  every event is portrayed as a game changer.  There will be revolt in the streets, the markets will crash, hyperinflation will be upon us.

But so far, crickets.  Oh, and growth.  I travel a lot between Chicago and Florida.  Every time I travel the roads are more crowded, the wait in line to buy gasoline is longer and the eateries are always overflowing.  I see nothing but boom, boom and more boom.  These are not the events or conditions discussed here.  Just the same old buy gold, dig a bunker and live off the grid.

I believe there will be dips here and there.  The fed moderates the cycles but cannot control their every turn.  But this market isn't going to collapse.  The country isn't going to fall apart as far as I can tell.  But I didn't come to that conclusion from being here.  It is from getting out, traveling and talking to people, almost all of whom (even recent college grads) who are working.

I think Tyler is like the AV kid in high school.  Knows more about more different shit than anyone else but has absolutely no understanding of human behavior.  He lurks in the back room, learning more and more about how things work while the other dudes are out getting laid.  In the end, getting laid is better.

Tyler reports the obvious; governments lie, there is fraud amongst us, cronyism is rampant, some people cannot be trusted, and on and on.  The same could have been written in 1776, 1876, 1976 and I am sure will apply in 2076.

Do yourselves a favor.  Today is April 26, 2012.  Come back in one year and see if the following isn't true:

BHO will still be in the WH.  The debt issue will have been long resolved and with fed tax receipts on the up, there will be a lower debt/gdp ratio.  Gas will be < $4/gal.  There will have been no war with Iran.  Retail sales will have been up each and every month.  U3 will be <7% and U6 will be <9%.  Car sales will be booming, housing will be priced about where it is right now and in general, everyone except for ZH will feel better about life.

Good bye ZH; you drain the very soul of a man.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:48 | Link to Comment Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

Another ZH freakout. Happens 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:55 | Link to Comment junkyardjack
junkyardjack's picture

Could be that Zero Hedge is actually run by Goldman Sachs and is apart of their asymetric information program.  They give out dire analysis for the sheeple to sell and tell their top clients to buy. ;)

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:32 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

At least you got your name right!

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 18:09 | Link to Comment i-dog
i-dog's picture

That's some seriously good shrooms you got there, bro!

Glad to hear you're day trading long in the market for Dow 14K and creating productive employment for your fellow Americans! Best of luck to you.

We'll see who was right in just 6 more months (which has been my own prediction since early last year...see here (1508789) for example).

 

PS. You say you've "been here since 2009", yet your profile says:

Member for
19 weeks 6 days

You wouldn't be telling us porkies now, would you? I smell a rattus oligarchus.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:38 | Link to Comment LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Do you read every article and post twice too?  No fucking wonder you're so exhausted and put out.

go play in traffic.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:45 | Link to Comment HurricaneSeason
HurricaneSeason's picture

That dog don't hunt.

"The Senate's approach is wholly unacceptable," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is leading reform efforts in the House.

"Unfortunately, action by the Senate today falls far short of the Postal Service’s plan," read a statement from the Postal Service Board of Governors.

They got until May 15th to work the bugs out?

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:47 | Link to Comment sangell
sangell's picture

500 million pieces of mail of which 90+% are credit card offers from banks, phony offers from car dealers to buy your car and garbage you have to pay to have taken to a landfill.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:18 | Link to Comment Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Postal service should offer "premium service".  Upon an anual membership fee, you would be entitled to block unwanted mail. get Saturday delivery, etc.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:48 | Link to Comment TMoney
TMoney's picture

The Post office bailout, is a bailout of RED STATE (rural) America. Red Stater - mostly rural voters told congress to save the USPS in their area. Democrats go along, to save union votes, sure, but this is a Republican approved bailout. FedEx and UPS can't deliver to Nowhere Alaska at a reasonable rate and make money.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:56 | Link to Comment CrockettAlmanac.com
CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Fed Ex can't deliver to Alpha Centauri and make money therefore a subsidized governmental organization must be created to do so. It's for the Centaurian children.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:50 | Link to Comment Whoa Dammit
Whoa Dammit's picture

Patrick Donahoe is an imbecile. Five day delivery would kill what is left of the Post Office. Might as well just shut the doors as do that.

The Post Office's greatest value is that is provides an inexpensive way to communicate and conduct business that is not readily accessibile to the NSA and other overly nosy agencies. This is why the Postal Service should be supported.

As to Unions, anyone who works should either be in a Union, or have the same rights and benefits as a Union member does. Unions have been vilified for way too long in this country, to the detriment of workers wages, and to the advantage of the 1%. If you work, unless you enjoy being a disposable asswipe for the wealthy, you should be Unionized. 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:50 | Link to Comment Crispy
Crispy's picture

USPS lock box....

 

F the state.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:50 | Link to Comment MrBoompi
MrBoompi's picture

The losses seem too high to be believable if you ask me.  First they should do away with the pre-funding of so many years of future benefits in such a short period of time.

But let's say the projected costs, profits or losses, are accurate.  And let's assume a private company takes over for the USPS.  What will it cost to mail a letter?  Are you saying it's better for us to pay $1.50/letter just because a private company shows a profit?

And I know this is so old-fashioned, but it says we are supposed to have a Federal Post Office in the Consitution, as if anyone pays attention to that old rag anymore.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:57 | Link to Comment CrockettAlmanac.com
CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Are you saying it's better for us to pay $1.50/letter just because a private company shows a profit?

 

It's better for those who use a service to pay for the full cost of the service rather than to have that service be subsidized by those who do not use it.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 14:27 | Link to Comment MrBoompi
MrBoompi's picture

Since the beginning of our country, the government was obligated to provide postal service.  The founders put this in the Constitution, even though some people might not have to use the postal service.  The cost of postage is like an additional tax.  It's also true if they want postage to cover the expenses, they better raise rates and cut services, like any other business.  But let's face it, the government does not run like any other business.  Our politicians know it easier for them to pay for the bailouts and debt via inflation.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:51 | Link to Comment junkyardjack
junkyardjack's picture

How about this the House passes bill that would call for a single website to track all government spending.  What do you think will the Senate destroy this or will the President get to? No way it actually comes to fruition 

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/26/data-act-passes-house-vote/

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:55 | Link to Comment zilverreiger
zilverreiger's picture

stop blaming the unions you fucking slaves

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:04 | Link to Comment manhunter
manhunter's picture

Cubedwellers hate the unemployed poor, and workers with pensions. Who knows why.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:39 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Self-loathing induced by sycophantic licking of private sector boots for years; everyone thinks someone else is getting one over on them (well it's never their failure, is it?).

It's like they forget that workers paid into those pension plans and did necessary gruntwork for decades.

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:12 | Link to Comment Zero Debt
Zero Debt's picture

Who forget what? The postal service itself pays massively into these plans. It is called "Employer Contributions", worker health benefits, etc.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-22/u-s-postal-service-will-suspend...

It is impossible to build a pension ponzi assuming perpetual growth on top of falling mail volumes. And no, there has not been enough diligent, honest "gruntwork" done to create 5.5 billion dollars of value added needed for the health benefits plan, just as there is not enough gruntwork to pay 10bn, 20bn or 100bn.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:00 | Link to Comment CrockettAlmanac.com
CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Cubedwellers hate the unemployed poor, and workers with pensions. Who knows why.

 

It seems to be the pro-government crowd who hates the USPS pension system. But they were for government pensions before they were against them.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 10:58 | Link to Comment FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

I'm sorry, but I find the commentary in this article to be - as is normal with ZH - overly critical of a part of government (established by the Constitution, remember that "piece of paper" as GWB fondly called it, in Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads".)

9.1 Enumerated powers

Thus, making the USPS an independent agency was at odds with the original intent of the founders.

As a regular user of the US Postal Service, which is, by the way, considered to be the best in the world, I've spoken to many of their employees, from clerks to deliverers to branch managers and even to representatives of the Postmaster General.

To a man or woman, all of the USPS employees I've spoken with strongly encourage stopping mail delivery on Saturday, which would save a ton of money and overtime, and they are not opposed to streamlining the business

The service provided is essential, and, while the salaries and benefits, like almost all government jobs, are quite above the norm, the Postal Service is essential to my business and that of many other Americans who don't want to pay triple or four times or more for roughly the same service from private carriers, like FedEx or UPS.

And, in fact, your article even mentions that this so-called "bailout" is anything but. As stated in the article referenced:

At the same time, the Postal Service would get an infusion of roughly $11 billion, basically a refund of overpayments made in previous years to a federal retirement fund. 

Without the overfunding ( a Bush-era proposition designed to cripple the Postal Service so that the then-president's big money friends could monopolize a very profitable business) the Postal Service would be nearly flush on a cash basis. Try saying that for any other federal agency, like Education, or Defense, or, well, pick any, they all COST.

My personal opinion is that I'd rather have my tax dollars fund the postal service than unnecessary wars, subsidies to millionaire farmers and corporations, or just about any of the multitude of programs the federal government wastes our money on.

The Postal Service is one of the federal "agencies" that actually works. It's a pretty efficient business, even though it has fallen a bit behind the times, though today, mailing a package or letter can all be handled on the internet (find rates and print postage) and tracked from any computer from starting point to final destination.

If the Republican idiots get their way, just remember, when you're paying UPS or FedEx $30 to ship a 5-pound package to a neighboring state, that you were not in favor of keeping the essential service the Post Office provides.

Th fact that these are union jobs is not the issue. What's at stake are privacy of papers and letters and swift, efficient, reasonably-priced delivery of packages, merchandise, advertising and magazines.

Or maybe you'd like just a few companies to handle mail and package deliveries, kind of like our energy companies control the manufacture distribution of gas for your transportation.

With wildly slanted articles such as this, you may actually get what you wish for.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:19 | Link to Comment Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

That same document you quoted protects Slavery too.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:38 | Link to Comment Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

And your point?

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

My point is just cuz its in there doesn make it right.  The constitution is not a Bible.  it is a political document.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:15 | Link to Comment Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

I suspect it's a toss-up between you & Obama on who understands the US Constitution the bestest.

OK. I'll see your Bible and raise you a Hitler.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:25 | Link to Comment Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Dude you make no sense.  People who believe the bible believe it is the word of god and every word is true and do not question.  The constitution was written by a room full of politicians as a blue print on how to run things. Compromises were made so that everyone signed on the dotted line.  To think the constitution is the word of god is foolish.  Not everything in the constitution is true.  Hence the amendmendments (so far).

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:47 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

It also has the ability to be amended and has been.

Funny how the 'constitutionalists' go completely "Calvin Ball" on something that is so plainly spelled out in the enumerated powers, just like every other blinder to Article 1 relevancies that go against their "gospel".

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:59 | Link to Comment Dr. No
Dr. No's picture

Yep; Amended to outlaw alcohol and then back again.  Amended to allow income tax and still waiting for the back again.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 14:54 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Functioning as designed.

The flaw is the people, not the document.

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:49 | Link to Comment Catullus
Catullus's picture

Ignore the fact that instead of shutting down what are obviously net negative distribution facilities, they're taking the money out what they're calling an "overfunded" pension. It's typical union behavior in the US. They allow companies all over the country to underfund pensions so that the number of union employees or benefits don't drop. Then as the pension funding crisis comes to a head, they blame everyone else for the underfunding and claim that they need the union to prevent the pension itself from being cut.

But go on with the nostalgia bit. I'm sure the NASA folks are sympathetic to the argument as well.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:07 | Link to Comment flyonmywall
flyonmywall's picture

Gonna have to agree with FreeNewEnergy on this one.

The post office is necessary, and it is a basic service that the government needs to provide. It is mentioned in the Constitution.

It doesn't matter if the postal service is self-sustaining or profitable. It is a basic service that needs to be provided.

I'd rather have my taxes go to support the post office, than endless bailouts for TBTF banks, Timmys and Benny's friends, endless missle purchases from Raytheon and 400+ bases overseas that we do not need.

I hope Paul Ryan gets booed again by his constituency. He fucking deserves it.

 

 

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:02 | Link to Comment CrockettAlmanac.com
CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

I'd rather have my taxes go to support the post office, than endless bailouts for TBTF banks, Timmys and Benny's friends, endless missle purchases from Raytheon and 400+ bases overseas that we do not need.

 

I'd rather have my money.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:08 | Link to Comment Clint Liquor
Clint Liquor's picture

 

I was all for letting the Post Office sink, but after hearing Harry Reid's compelling argument, I changed my mind.

“Seniors love getting junk mail,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday. “It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they’re part of the real world.”

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:12 | Link to Comment johnnymustardseed
johnnymustardseed's picture

$11 billion dollar bailout.... we spend that an hour bailing out banks.  If John McCain had been elected we would have already be in the middle of another $3 TRILLON dollar war with Iran.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:13 | Link to Comment icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

I have a friend who is a postal worker. He voted for Ron Paul.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:42 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

If he wants out that badly, he could just take a dump on his boss' desk.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:59 | Link to Comment Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

That'll just get'em disability.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:02 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

You've tried already? ;)

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:20 | Link to Comment strayaway
strayaway's picture

Postal employees have to pay for part of their retirement. Money came out of paychecks and was set aside in a pension fund drawing interest. President W Bush looted that fund to reduce one of his annual deficits claiming that postal employees had over funded their own retirements. Nevermind that they had set aside their own earnings for this purpose. The CBO came around a couple of years later and said that Bush had taken so much money out that there was no longer enough to pay for those pensions. Instead of refunding postal employees for all or even part of the stolen money, the Postal Service was required to raise stamp rates the year after it had raised them. Back to back price hikes irritated postal customers but it was politically better than raising taxes.

Fast forward to 2006. "Public Law 109-435 mandates that the Postal Service completely pay this newly created 50-year pay-it-forward pension debt through 10 massive annual payments, one every September 30 over 10 years (2006–2015)." http://fresnoalliance.com/wordpress/?p=3960

 I don't know how many school systems or corporations could survive a mandate requiring that the next 50 years of pensions be pre-paid over 10 years. This is the biggest factor dragging the Postal Service down. Again, it was an attempt to patch over government spending and done so at the expense of working people.

Bring out all the derogatory stereotypes of working people that you want if it makes you feel good but the fact is that Bush and his supoporters did to pension funds what Clinton did to Social Security trust funds except Republicans didn't even fill the empty coffers with IOU's.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:28 | Link to Comment NooooB
NooooB's picture

I'll just leave this here...

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/28#.T3NPwbVNjJ1

Not intentionally trolling. Just sick of the group-think on this subject.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:37 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

If someone in the US wants a piece of paper moved somewhere, they should hire their own brown person to hand deliver it. Postal Service = COMMUNISM/FASCISM/GAY.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:41 | Link to Comment GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

Thank you, Reverend Daddy-Brother!

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:00 | Link to Comment Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

I take the lack of Kool-aid as a good sign here.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:51 | Link to Comment insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Every organization got leaner as they leverage technology except for government "organizations" which somehow expand even though they are just a bunch of paper pushers.  The amount of mail is declining but lets not lower the number of personnel or depot.  This will end well.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 23:36 | Link to Comment Midas
Midas's picture

A minimal amount of research would show the only thing dropping faster than mail volume is the number of employees at the USPS.   There are 570,000 now and a decade ago there were 800,000.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:04 | Link to Comment HurricaneMoney
HurricaneMoney's picture

I work for the Post Office, but on the inside as a clerk. Everybody

in the union was against this bill, and posted flyers all around to call there senator to Not vote for it. To many cuts they said, I just snickered. and told them.

They have to pass the bill to find out what is in it. I left the 

union years ago, because I disagree with most of there politics.

There are good workers in the post office who care, but not enough.

A lot of workers blame management for there woes, (which is true). To

many people are promoted who should not be: But the blame is all around,

Even though I work there, if the post office goes under, it would not upset me, or freak me out like others, I have been there 22 years.

You would be amazed of how many people are on light duty(cough,cough)

Most think they are entitled to their 26.00p/hr salary, no matter how little they work. and management doesn't fire anyone who deserves it, because of all the paper work involved, and endless grievance meetings, just to 

have to put them back on the payrolls again. Then the good workers have to pick up the slack of the lazy workers in order to get the job done, and 

everybody gets paid the same, no matter what. unions breed mediocrity in governments.

You will here from others in the post office this is only a small fraction, no it's not. Most work in the post office is not a highly skilled job, and I do beleive the goverment overpays salaries and benefits for basically unskilled jobs. I speak my mind, and so I am not liked by many in my work station,

so be it. The truth is the Truth whether you like it or not. I 

wish the post office would fire all those who do not appreciate how good they got it, compare to the private sector, and hire people who would work hard, because they are paid well, and would appreciate that opportunity.

If the right thing is to be done, a lot of people will be crying out in the real world looking for a job. 

Yes -  Most people in the post office think the democrats , and Obama are the best thing since apple pie, and will loyally follow the orders from the union, and vote the straight ticket for the democrats. Yes I know both parties are corrupt and bought for, and I tried to explain that to some,

but I am looked at as stupid, and you don't know what you are talking about.

Rant Over 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:56 | Link to Comment Endzone
Endzone's picture

Thanks for your honest about the inside workings of the post office.  It reminds me of an old Richard Pryor joke in the 70s or 80s.  He said, "The post office is going to start drug testing all their workers.  The one thing they wont have to test them for is speed."  Haha.

In Redmond, WA it was all Asian ladies at the front counter, and believe me, they took their good sweet time and back up the line 10 to 20 people at lunch. 

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:56 | Link to Comment Endzone
Endzone's picture

Thanks for your honest about the inside workings of the post office.  It reminds me of an old Richard Pryor joke in the 70s or 80s.  He said, "The post office is going to start drug testing all their workers.  The one thing they wont have to test them for is speed."  Haha.

In Redmond, WA it was all Asian ladies at the front counter, and believe me, they took their good sweet time and back up the line 10 to 20 people at lunch. 

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 16:51 | Link to Comment Clever Name
Clever Name's picture

Also, thank you! The USPS is obviously a bloated monster, at least in my area. I have no issue with keeping most rural ones, assumedly they actually fill a need in the community, even if they are the most expensive ones to keep (just a guess). There are 10 facilities within 4 miles of my office. But then again, its only 3 miles from the DC line...

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 23:45 | Link to Comment Midas
Midas's picture

Right on HM.  The problem with these "solutions" is they do not get rid of the dead weight.  My opposition to unions in general is not the wage, it is the inability to get rid of light duty/FMLA/slow poking milkers.  All these ideas from the Senate do absolutely nothing to clean house.  And thanks for bringing up the management.  The only reason people don't complain about them is because they don't see them.  If the union flakes are overpayed it goes double for the management.  Craft workers stand a much better chance getting a comparable job on the outside than management.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:12 | Link to Comment proLiberty
proLiberty's picture

The median household income in 2010 was $52,026.  The math is so simple, at $110k per job "saved", the entire income of two median households was consumed.   

At this rate, we will be fully employed in just a few more months.

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:55 | Link to Comment rumblefish
rumblefish's picture

Isn't this just a subsidy for junk main.  95% of what comes in the mail is junk mail and ads.

 

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:58 | Link to Comment Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Junk Mail and Advertising:

Like PhD Economists... A dead weight loss to society...

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 12:55 | Link to Comment rumblefish
rumblefish's picture

Isn't this just a subsidy for junk main.  95% of what comes in the mail is junk mail and ads.

 

 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:22 | Link to Comment Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

No mention of the 2006  law passed in a lame duck session that forces the Postal Service to fund it's pension & benefit funds (already at $44 billion) out 75 years over the next 10 years?

Interesting? This has accounted for $4 billion per year of the USPS loss over the past 4 years. What organization is forced to fund that far out into the future? One that the oligarchs want to privatize and make money off of.

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:48 | Link to Comment Endzone
Endzone's picture

Testin how do you make a comment?

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:52 | Link to Comment Endzone
Endzone's picture

The post office is the very best.  UPS Prioity Mail is the best way to go.  Their service is far better than UPS or FedEX.  And it is much more convenient to use the postal service.  There is always a station close by, but with FedEx or UPS I may have to go quite a ways, and then I have to use their special forms to mail stuff.  With the USPS I can just use stamps for letters and 9X12's.  FedEX and UPS have always been scamming for 30 years how to edge in on the postal service.  It's now being done with backroom deals in Washington, DC that we don't know about.  Washington DC never acts in the interest of your average Joe. 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 13:57 | Link to Comment Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

If the Useful Idiots in Congress can't lay off unneeded postal workers...

Then fire every incumbent Senate Douche and Bribe Taking Congressional whore in sight...

Reagan Up: Chop at the Top
We'll cut government waste, fraud, and abuse by firing all the bitchez at the top...

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 16:20 | Link to Comment IMA5U
IMA5U's picture

photo would be far more effective if it was a rude fat blick woman

cause they run the us post office in nyc

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 18:10 | Link to Comment Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

Just the other day I was sitting at my kitchen table enjoying my morning coffee when I heard the post man drop the mail through the slot in my front door.  I get up to retrieve it and find that he delivered my neighbor's mail to my place of residence.  No worries, I'll drop it in their box later in the day.  I sit back down and, what do you know, the post man drops off mail in my slot again.  I go and get it and, to my dismay, he delivered a entirely different neighbors' mail to my place - this time it included bank and brokerage statements!  Up until then I was legitimately confused on why it had been well past a month since paying for a renewal sticker for my driver's license from the DMV, and it had not yet arrived.

tl;dr Wrong mail delivered to my home twice on the same day within 15 minutes, never received the correct mail that day either.  Fuck the USPS. 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 18:52 | Link to Comment jpowell
jpowell's picture

Congress dictates what services the USPS can offer.  Congress keeps the USPS on a short leash to encourage private sector to offer products and services.   Corporate is always more efficient, right?   Especially when special interests bribe Congress to restrict USPS offerings.

Congress dictated the USPS pay 75 years of future pensions in 10 years - THAT's why they're having troubles.  No company or agency has ever been subject to such conditions.  Congress passed this legislation intentionally - Congress WANTED the USPS to have financial difficulties.   Congress wanted to make them fail.   By design.

Postal service today is a bargain.   If the Congress is successful privatizing it in a few years they do so only to enrich the private sector (UPS or Fedex or ?) who will be delighted to raise prices.  If that happens you'll be paying more and wishing for the good ol' days.  

Congress wants to break the postal unions - this should come as no surprise. 

Congress has denied the USPS the ability to modernize. 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 19:49 | Link to Comment a. palmer jr.
a. palmer jr.'s picture

I've got another idea: why not pay the postal workers what other people are paid that do that kind of work?  The postal workers are paid way more than people that aren't in government work.  Benefits for post office workers  should be cut back also. 

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 21:30 | Link to Comment strayaway
strayaway's picture

The average UPS driver's (Teamsters) pay at this time 08/01/2010 is about $75,000 cash, and benefits of about $30,000.

But drivers with enough seniority can get more overtime by "bumping" junior employees, and with 15 hours of OT can earn over $97,000. And with 20 hours OT can earn over $109,000 cash, over $30,000 in benefits. 

So senior drivers can earn OVER $139,000 in cash and benefits. There are ways to earn a few thousand more by working vacations and overlapping vacations with paid holidays. 
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_wage_of_UPS_truck_drivers

Compare with the average pay of mail carriers:

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=U.S._Postal_Service_(USPS)/Salary 

or Postal Employee Salary History

2006 – 2010 (Estimated at) $52,747 9.90% APWU and USPS agreed to a four-year contract, which was ratified by the membership. www.postalemployeenetwork.com     The chart above reflects the contracts between the USPS and the major postal unions. Other postal employees represented by labor unions also have engaged in bargaining with the Postal Service. In total there have been 88 agreements – with 64 agreed to voluntarily, 20 referred to impasse arbitration, three involving fact finding, and one referred to mediation.

At the conclusion of the 2006-2010 contract, postal workers’ salaries will have increased – from $8,442 in 1969 – to an estimated $52,747. 

http://www.postalemployeenetwork.com/postal-employee-salary-history.htm

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