Is the GOP to blame for the post office’s woes?

L.A. Times 2013/02/07 15:00:00
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On Wednesday, the USPS announced Saturday delivery of letters would be eliminated by August in order to save $2 billion annually. The Postal Service has been struggling financially for a long time, so this sort of cutback is hardly surprising. As the latest reduction in service is discussed and debated, though, it is worth remembering that the Postal Service’s troubles are not entirely a result of the historic shift in how Americans communicate with one another.

Sure, most people have not mailed a real letter for months, if not years, and prefer to send messages via email or text. And, yes, companies such as UPS and FedEx have stolen the more lucrative shares of the market from the venerable old post office. But the USPS might be in less dire straits if Republicans in Congress were not trying to kill it outright.

In 2006, the GOP Congress passed a bill that required the Postal Service to fully fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years and to accomplish this within a 10-year period. Republicans are always insisting that the USPS be run like a good capitalist enterprise, but few, if any, private businesses could bear the burden of funding three-quarters of a century of retired employees’ medical costs over just one decade.

postal service

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  • carl 2013/03/31 17:12:11
    I used to work for the USPS and their problems are from mismanagement!
  • goinpostal 2013/03/31 17:09:45
    Ask Issa who wouldnt take the Senate bill out of comittee.
  • Katherine 2013/03/09 06:30:12
    How the hell do you guys manage to blame EVERYTHING on the "GOP."
  • roxie 2013/02/28 03:39:42
    The Internet and such!
  • sjalan 2013/02/28 01:16:14
  • John Mirra 2013/02/28 01:06:20 (edited)
    John Mirra
    Not completely, but they could give them 15 years instead of 10 to do the funding on top of other changes that might help matters.

    What I really fear is that they privatize USPS and hand that well funded retirement account over as a cash bonus instead of doing right by the workers. Liquidation of retirement accounts happens often enough in the corporate world.
  • deidara.trueart 2013/02/25 11:39:18
  • lisa 2013/02/12 12:21:02
    The US Government is to blame...This is what happens when the government decides to run (interfere) a business. Just look at the economy today and has our government even passed a budget yet? Yet they continue to spend tax payers money like theirs a %@%#$@ money tree growing outside the WH!!!
  • michael.munsey 2013/02/12 07:44:06
    They out that 2/3 of the cosponsors of that 2006 bill were Democrats, and the bill passed unanimously. Additionally, the Post Office actually got a break, they got 10 years to fund their pension, whereas most private industry got 7 years due to a bill passed months earlier which was praised by the Democrats.
  • Going Terrier 2013/02/12 06:38:26
    Going Terrier
    Yes, it's Congress's fault. The lame duck Republican's put the provision to fund 75 years worth of future retiree's health benefits in the bill, it's their fault.
  • gimini210 2013/02/11 18:25:46
    As with all union jobs and government, they are over paid when you compare the outgo to the income of the postal system. You have to balance the cost to run a company with the profits you take in and the federal government has never been able to do that. Look at the national debt alone and it proves just how big a failure they are at anything they run.
  • Not stupid gimini210 2013/02/11 20:56:36
    Not stupid
    The problem is that they aren't allowed to run like a company.

    They are forbidden by law from competing with FedEx and UPS on cartage. They are required by law to deliver to every address in the United States.

    They cannot make a profit in certain business areas to make up for losses in others.

    Its amazing that the post office was actually making money, until the 2006 law past by the GOP congress.
  • TombstoneJim 2013/02/11 17:06:54
    the Post Office is the victim of FedEx and UPS taking all the real profitable packages because of their superior service and speed. Who gives a crap about Saturday delivery? Get rid of the union, compete for the business and move on.
  • Not stupid Tombsto... 2013/02/11 20:56:50
    Not stupid
    Actually they are falling victim to the FedEx and UPS lobbying efforts that keep the USPS out of the most lucrative parts of the shipping business.
  • Tombsto... Not stupid 2013/02/12 17:07:56
    USPS offers much the same product lines, a slightly higher cost and fewer options. The Postal Workers Uion has placed a mill stone around the neck of the quasi-commerical operations. FedEx nor UPS could survive such labor agreements either.
  • Lanikai 2013/02/11 17:03:12
    The postal service offering Mercedes style retirement and active pyaroll is the POST OFFICES fault, not the republicans fault.
  • Michael 2013/02/11 16:39:35
    The GOP s as much to blame for the post office woes and cars are to blame for the retirement of the buggy whip!
  • wgossett99 2013/02/11 16:33:17
    I wish there was another choice besides yes/no.

    I do believe the GOP-backed retirement funding issues are overly onerous but they are not the only reason the USPS is hurting. The simple fact that mail rates must be approved by Congress is probably the biggest issue the USPS faces. By the time they are allowed to raise rates, the rate hikes are insufficient already.

    One of my biggest complaints is that a bulk mail rate even exists. Raising the rates on bulk mail to match first class mail will go a long way to solving the USPS' money woes AND might reduce the amount of junk mail we get.
  • John Wa... wgossett99 2013/02/11 16:49:50
    John Walker II
    Fact: The USPS is the ONLY government agency required to prefund all retirement, including for those employees that only just started within the USPS and have no guarantee of finishing 20 years of service, the minimum required to qualify for retirement.

    why is the USPS being asked to prefund retirements for people that may never qualify? Why are they required to prefund retirements at all since no other gov't agency is required to do so?

    Oh, I dunno, try asking the lobbyists for FedEX and UPS that question.

    And it fits right along with GOP's plan because the USPS has the largest union in the US. Can't beat the union? Kill the business.

    By the way, the USPS has always been self funded. They get NO tax dollars. They don't need them. So why kill off something that has been profitable for the US instead of some other agency that only takes and gives nothing back? (like congress?)

    Easy, to make room for other companies to step in and gouge the hell out of folks for their money.

    Congratulations GOP, what a wonderful way to earn everyone's trust...

    Petitions and such:
    The post office isn't broke -- it's being robbed.
    Congress: Stop Destroying Our Postal Service
  • Lanikai John Wa... 2013/02/11 17:11:45
    Let's be honest, email, fedex and ups as well as texting devices and fax machines killed the postal service. The world changed and the post office did not.

    When asked to close small post offices in areas within 2 miles of a larger city, they refused, repeatedly, so, staying top heavy and still offering mercedes style retirement is their problem, not the congress's problem.
  • John Wa... Lanikai 2013/02/11 17:38:48 (edited)
    John Walker II
    Even with all advances, they were posting 200 million dollar profits each year, with over half a million employees servicing over despite those advances so that argument does not hold water. Sorry.

    (By way of comparison, FedEX posts 400m+ earnings a quarter)

    200 million profit even after doing things like chartering private planes to fly mail out to residents of cities that UPS and FedEX simply will not service because of time, distance, and remoteness.

    But the argument here is that they can do a better job? You can't force a private company to do business with anyone. To that end, they will NOT service those small towns because it won't be cost effective without jacking up the prices sky high.

  • Lanikai John Wa... 2013/02/20 14:41:34
    They cannot keep every little podunk postal open and get profitable.

    A little inconvenience is going to have to be born.
  • John Wa... Lanikai 2013/02/20 18:14:33
    John Walker II
    When they did have every little podunk postal office open, they WERE profitable until they got hit with that requirement to prefund every single retirement... a requirement that NO other buisiness, government agency or civilian entity was hit with.

    It is ONLY because of this requirement for them to prefund the retirements that they went from haf a billion PROFIT each year to 15 billion LOSS.

    That was it. One law sunk the post office. You can thank the people in gov't who paid attention to fedex and UPS lobbyists instead of to the public good the post office was doing.
  • wgossett99 John Wa... 2013/02/11 22:04:06

    The problems of the USPS have been in the making since the mid 70's. While I agree the GOP "plan" for the USPS is foolish at best, the GOP is not SOLELY to blame.

    As for shortsighted GOP policies in general, you are preaching to the choir.
  • John Wa... wgossett99 2013/02/11 22:29:19
    John Walker II
    Too bad the choir isn't singing loud enough to get everyone's attention.

    GOP has a plan, that's a fact. Yea, there are others in on it other thent he GOP as well otherwise it wouldn't have had as much progress as it had already. And by standard deductive reasoning, who stands best to gain if the USPS fails?
  • Cocktails 2013/02/11 15:58:21
    Stop with all the retiree funds and the like!!We don;t get that in the private business sector. Plus beef up your service. Put the burn on people. Our postal service AND it's workers are LAME!! All they do is complain about the work they have to do. And they bid the Priority mail out to Fed Ex. Take your own jobs back and do them with a closed mouth!! The majority of us would kill for those jobs!!
  • Not stupid Cocktails 2013/02/11 21:09:03
    Not stupid
    So why not complain that we don't get retirement benefits in the private sector? The private sector used to have pensions. There used to be something called job security. There was a time when people worked for a company until they retired.

    The sad thing is now, workers are "human capital", to be cut if you can increase the profits by a fraction of a percent. To be hired on a part time basis to avoid paying them a middle class income.

    The government workers are just the last to get dragged down into the pool.
  • justmyopinion 2013/02/11 15:51:57
    The USPS is a victim of better technology. Email makes personal mail mostly irrelevant. Less mail means less revenue. Mail might be something that you see eliminated altogether in a few years with companies like FedEx and UPS picking up what little business is left behind.
  • Lanikai justmyo... 2013/02/11 17:16:40
    The Post Office FAILED at changing with the times, and insisted on keeping massive staff and NOT streamlining for better technologies.
  • justmyo... Lanikai 2013/02/12 00:47:52
    Agreed but in the end email supplants personal mail and that's tough to cope with.
  • Evan 2013/02/11 15:24:10
    Wow. Just wow.
  • Dominique Baxley 2013/02/11 14:45:01
  • Yo'Adri... Dominiq... 2013/02/11 14:45:32
    Why not....if it's true!
  • Dominiq... Yo'Adri... 2013/02/11 14:53:43
    Dominique Baxley
    We'll see...as soon as USPS becomes private they will soon fall and who then will be to blame?
  • Chokmah Dominiq... 2013/02/14 03:32:51
    Let em fail...let the banks fail... seize the wealth of the Interanational Banksters, cancel all debts due them.
  • Dominiq... Chokmah 2013/02/14 15:42:20
    Dominique Baxley
    Can't tell if you support another depression or another Andrew Jackson move to save the economy. Either way its going to cause uproar when people's jobs will be lost.
  • Chokmah Dominiq... 2013/02/15 04:42:59
    They'll find real jobs, produce real things that people need, unleash all kinds of creativity.

    "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" ~ Plato
  • Annie~Pro American~Pro Israel 2013/02/11 14:37:14
    Annie~Pro American~Pro Israel
    The 2006 GOP??? The Post office failures can be blamed on big government and would run much better if given over to the private sector, just look at UPS and FedEx and they give great service. You walk in the US post office and the service is very sloppy these days.
  • Yo'Adri... Annie~P... 2013/02/11 14:48:23 (edited)
    Number one is the enormous pensions, that are totally unsustainable..........Why didn't they convert to Social Security.....if it's good enough for the general population ......why not government workers.?.....Number two is
    the postal UNION........Number 3.....Inefficiency......like every other government project.....
    they run in the red.........overspend....because it's NOT their money..and they think there's MORE where that came from.......Privatize or disappear.!!! DO or die
  • Seonag 2013/02/11 13:55:03
    The postal union!
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