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The US Postal Service





11/21/10 (By Travis)

Losses double for U.S. Postal Service

11/12/10 CNN money

The Postal Service said its net loss totaled $8.5 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That compares to a loss of $3.8 billion the prior year. The Postal Service delivered 170.6 billion pieces in its 2010 fiscal year, compared to 176.7 billion pieces the prior year.





10/3/10 (By Travis)

Check's In The Mail
IBD Editorials ^ | September 8, 2010 | Investors Business Daily staff

The U.S. Postal Service expects to lose $7 billion in the current fiscal year and delivers less mail each year. It could use some fiscal austerity.

The union wants "more control over activities at work, more money, better benefits — we want more," Burrus told Government Executive magazine. "We will try to fashion our proposals to reflect the entitlement to more."

Entitlement to more? By what standard does he believe the workers of a failing "business" are entitled to more, let alone a job? Neither jobs nor high and ever-escalating wages are rights. But that's the union mindset: Demand more no matter what difficulties a business, or in this case a government-protected monopoly, is facing.




11/19/09 (By Travis)

Can the Postal Service be Saved?
With Losses Mounting, Postal Service Seeks Autonomy, Pushes to Cut Saturday Service; Rep. Danny Davis Calls for a Bailout
11/19/09 CBSnews

It's been an ugly few years for the United States Postal Service.

The quasi-government agency announced this week that it lost $3.8 billion in the most recent fiscal year, which ended September 30th. It also delivered less mail - 26 billion fewer pieces less, a nearly 13 percent drop from the previous year. The bad news follows losses totaling $7.8 billion in 2007 and 2008.

The Postal Service, as it is quick to point out, is legally prohibited from taking tax dollars. But in order to stay afloat, the agency has been actively borrowing from the U.S. Treasury: At last count, according to Postal Service spokeswoman Yvonne Yoerger, it owes the government $10.2 billion.


Private enterprise could perform the service for free, with no government funding or borrowing and with lower prices for consumers with better service. It is a win-win situation, except for the postal unions and their politicians allies.






9/10/09 (By Travis)

Free the Mails [it's time to privatize USPS]
CATO / The American Spectator ^ | 2009-08-28 | Chris Edwards & Tad Dehaven

Yet another giant company has plunging sales, soaring debt, and is weighed down by massive labor costs. Will taxpayers have to pay for another federal bailout? Alas, it's already in the cards because this company is the U.S. Postal Service, which has estimated losses of $7 billion this year.

With email grabbing ever more market share from snail mail, USPS's finances are steadily deteriorating. What should federal policymakers do? They can't give USPS the General Motors treatment and nationalize it, because it's already government-owned. And they can't reform postal markets with a "public option" because that's what the USPS already is.

Instead, Congress and President Obama should deregulate postal markets and privatize the USPS. It's true that such pro-market reforms are not in vogue these days, but Obama claims that on economics, he doesn't want to "get bottled up in a lot of ideology … my interest is finding something that works." For postal reform, that means injecting competition by allowing "private options" in the marketplace.

We know that postal deregulation works because it's already in place abroad. Postal services have been opened to competition in Britain, Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden. In those countries, private operators are starting to challenge former monopoly mail providers, particularly on business mail delivery.

The bad news is that we've still got a 700,000-worker behemoth to deal with. We can let entrepreneurs into the market to bring new efficiencies to letter delivery, but we still need to downsize the USPS. In most industries, businesses facing declining markets can radically cut costs and innovate to survive. But the USPS can't do that effectively because it is beholden to members of Congress and their parochial concerns.

Federal Pay Continues Rapid Ascent.( Nice To Be King Alert ) ^ | Aug 24,2009 | Chris Edwards






Posted 2/17/08 (By Travis)

Boston Man Receives Postcard From 1929

2/12/08 Associated Press

    Nearly 79 years after it was sent, a postcard of Yellowstone National Park's Tower Falls arrived in a Boston mailbox recently with the one-word message, "Greetings."

    A U.S. Postal Service spokesman says it's impossible to know what happened with the card. It somehow got into the mail and was sent with a one cent stamp from Seattle earlier this year.




Posted 6/11/07 (By Travis)

What Would Happen If the Post Office Had Competition?




Posted 3/8/07 (By Travis)

Postal Commission Favors Selling Stamp That Locks In Current Rate

2/27/07 Washington Post

    Under the plan, the first "forever stamp" would cost 41 cents. That is because the commission also proposed increasing the first-class postal rate by 2 cents. The independent commission trumpeted the hike as a victory for consumers because the Postal Service had wanted a 3-cent jump.

    A 'victory for consumers'? We wonder why the price of most things drops, yet postal stamps always go up. In fact, with most goods, services, and commodities, the prices of things consistently fall as innovation, technology, and productivity all increase with time. When (inflation controlled) prices do not fall it is either because the product is getting better and has more features (cars) or because government is controlling or meddling in the industry (health care and postal service). In my opinion. 

Postal Service fixes long waits by removing clocks

3/1/07 Associated Press

    The missing clock didn't stop postal customer Al Cunningham from noticing the amount of time spent waiting for service.

    "It's always long here," said Cunningham, 49, an insurance adjuster and former postal employee who was standing in line at the Watson Post Office in Fort Worth.

    The Watson Post Office is one of the nation's 37,000 post offices in which clocks have been removed from retail areas as part of a "retail standardization program" launched last year. The effort is designed to give the public-service areas a more uniform appearance, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Thursday editions.

    "We want people to focus on postal service and not the clock," said Stephen Seewoester, Dallas spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

    At the Fort Worth post office, the hook that once held up the small battery-powered clock now protrudes from a plaster wall. The clock was taken down months ago.

    A customer-service expert at Texas A&M University was not impressed with the decision to take down the timepieces.

    "It's silly," said Leonard Berry, holder of the M.B. Zale Chair in Retail and Marketing Leadership. "I guess they think people don't have watches."

    Unions and your tax dollars at work. :)





Posted 1/27/06

Saving the Post Office

1/15/06 Washington Post A fawning article on the bloated US Postal Service. Ironically, coming right as they've increased the price of stamps another 2 cents. 

    Then there is the Postal Service that has made huge strides in on-time delivery, runs one of the most impressively automated operations in the world and, for now, is bringing in a huge profit. This is the Postal Service that customers such as Tornga don't see, and, frankly, take for granted -- the one that moves 580 million pieces of mail a day with remarkable speed and accuracy to every address in the nation, six days a week.

    I'm not sure why this reporter finds this so 'impressive'. Private industry and the free market perform much more complex feats every day. What would be surprising is if a government agency could do such a task without being vastly overpaid (the US postal service could not). And if a government agency could do such a task without a legalized monopoly (the US postal service could not). 

Ending Royal Mail’s 370-year Postal Monopoly

1/4/06 Government Bytes 

    One week before the U.S. Postal Service is expected to increase rates by 5.4%, Great Britain ended Royal Mail’s 370-year monopoly and fully opened its postal market to private competition on January 1. Private enterprises now have the chance to compete for business-to-business and business-to-consumer mail.
    Great Britain joins countries such as Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Japan, South Africa, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Jordan in moving toward the advantages of postal privatization. Other EU member states are charged will fully liberalizing their postal systems by 2009.
    As American customers enviously gaze over the pond to the increased postal choice and price competition enjoyed by British postal consumers, chances of reforming the bloated and outdated USPS monopoly in 2006 look increasingly slim. A thorough overhaul of the postal service is needed now to avert a future taxpayer bailout, or the cost of our mail will reach far beyond the loose change we pay today for a stamp.

(Added to 'The Post Office')





Posted 10/20/05

Japan PM's Dream of Postal Privatization Enacted

10/14/05 Washington Post Under the postal laws, Japan Post, which has 25,000 post offices and some $3 trillion in assets, will be split into four entities under a new holding company and privatized in 2007. 

    Privatizing the postal system has been the cornerstone of Koizumi's agenda to wean the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from its addiction to the wasteful public spending that had won votes but bred scandals and inflated government debt.

    Why isn't this happening here? Let's look at our Postal Service:

The shelter from competition and other special advantages have yielded a bloated enterprise. By any measure, the Postal Service is immense. Its profile in 1994 figures:

    If ranked among the Fortune 500, the Postal Service would appear ahead of such corporations as DuPont, Texaco, and Citicorp. The Postal Service is bigger than the three largest airlines (American, United, and Delta) combined. It is larger than the five biggest package and freight companies combined. Indeed, as the Postal Service itself notes in its 1994 annual report, each of the Postal Service’s seven product lines would qualify as a Fortune 500 company on its own.

    [T]he Postal Service has lost money in 17 of the past 23 years despite its statutory mandate to break even.

    The general rule (unfortunately) in the American economy is that attempted monopolization is a crime. When it comes to delivering letters, though, it is attempted competition that is the crime. And if it [The Postal Service] suspects a customer is sending mail in contravention of its monopoly, it may engage in its own police searches and seizures.

Weep for the Poor Postal Service? Nah

4/20/05 Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

• “If the Postal Service were a private company, stamp prices would be falling, not rising. A December study by leading experts of the Postal Rate Commission explains: ‘The doubling of overall volume coupled with scale economies should have resulted in the average price of the stamp dropping in real terms.’”
• “Despite new technology – like modern reader/sorters that process over 30,000 pieces of mail per hour – stamp prices have risen with inflation since 1970. Imagine if the price of a phone call or sending an email rose with inflation for 30 years. It doesn’t take an economist to understand that such price distortions would place an enormous strain on the U.S. economy.”

    The question of whether the Private Sector is more efficient than the Public Sector should have been settled with the fall of the Soviet Union. If, as postal service managers and employees argue, the post office is most efficient as a government entity, then it also follows that Cars (If government had taken over the auto industry in 1920, today we'd all be driving Model-T cars -- and saying, 'If it weren't for the government, we'd have no cars at all.'-Harry Browne), Clothes, Food, Computers, and (cough, cough) Health Care should all be run by our efficient government. Of course, this cannot be true and government is also poorer at delivering roads, power, water, and telephone/internet service. In fact, government is remarkably incompetent in nearly every endeavor it pursues, besides those duties that it alone can perform, such as protecting property (and it is less than competent in this too).

    Returning to the article:
• “The Postal Service is plagued by high labor costs – which gobble up nearly 80 percent of revenues – lack of financial transparency and an inability to cut costs and improve productivity. Currently, the U.S. Postal Service has over $70 billion in unfunded liabilities.”

    Hmmm... high labor costs, large liabilities, floundering productivity.. there can only be one cause: Unions

    As mentioned, Unions are and have been bankrupting private companies across the United States. They cannot bankrupt the postal service because it is owned by the government. More than 330,000 Postal Employees are members of the American Postal Workers Union. Like all Unions, the Postal Union members give almost all of their money to Democratic candidates through the AFL-CIO. Like almost all Unions, they are vastly overpaid for the jobs that they do. The resulting higher costs are paid by the taxpayer. Thus, in effect, the +50% of the voting population that is Conservative/Libertarian are forced to pay a tax that supports candidates they abhor. Yet, our elected 'Republican' officials refuse to abolish this wasteful government entity. I would understand if it was 'the right thing to do', but 'politically inexpedient', however eliminating the millions of dollars of involuntary campaign contributions flowing from their own Conservative constituents to the Democratic party makes political sense too. We can learn a lesson from our friends in Japan... 



See also 'Unions'


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