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The Senate is turning its attention back to the Postal Service, which "everyone" agrees is in crisis. That is to say, the Postal Service is a victim both of legitimate shifts in how we live our lives and communicate with our loved ones and of a manufactured crisis resulting from simultaneous congressional demands that it "run like a business" and congressional restrictions preventing it from running like a business in ways that would help.

The policy world debate over what to do about the Postal Service centers around cuts cuts cuts: Should post offices and processing centers be closed or just downsized? Should Saturday delivery be cut now or in a couple years? And so on. There are other possibilities that would bring the possibility of the Postal Service adapting more fully to the rise of the internet; for instance, a report conducted for the National Association of Letter Carriers by Ron Bloom, who headed up President Obama's auto rescue, finds that leading proposals for cuts would worsen the situation (manufacture more crisis, in other words), and suggests that:

[...] the agency should raise its stamp prices, which are among the lowest in the world, and find new ways to profit more from its built-in advantage as the only entity to reach every American home every day. It should also replace its multilayered governance system with a corporate- style board of directors whose members have entrepreneurial experience.
Running government like a business is always a terrible idea. Saying that the Postal Service should be like a business in being profitable while not having the ability to raise prices or expand its offerings says you want it to fail. The Senate's postal bill has improved slightly in recent weeks, but stays in the established policy debate in which the question is not how to adapt but what to cut.

8:55 AM PT:

The Senate has voted 74-22 to force a start to debate on a Postal Reform bill

@jamiedupree via TweetDeck

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It Would Be Meeting Expenses Without the Pension (16+ / 0-)

    millstone so I'd say it's not a victim of changing communication patterns.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:48:43 AM PDT

    •  That's like saying... (0+ / 0-)

      ...the business is in the black 'cept for the whole "paying employees" thing.

      •  Most businesses don't have to fund (14+ / 0-)

        a full 75 years of retirement benefits in a decade, incl. benefits for future employees not yet conceived.

        Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

        by Cassandra Waites on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 01:29:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Neither does the Post Office (0+ / 0-)

          What the Post Office has to do is to get current with its accrued liabilities within 10 years.

          That means that every year it needs to fund its pension plan with enough money to pay for the liabilities, over the next 75 years, that it accrued that year.

          For example, if an employee vests in a year then the USPS must put enough money in its pension to pay that employee's health benefits until his death... potentially 75 years from now.

          And, yes, every private company also has to do that.  You have to fund your pension fund so that even if you shut down tomorrow and stopped putting in money it could still pay out all of the obligations that you have already accrued.

      •  No it isn't . . . (24+ / 0-)

        It's nothing like "paying employees." All businesses have to pay their employees.

        The pension millstone that Gooserock refers to is a unique, bizarre requirement imposed on the USPS by the Republican Congress in 2006 and signed into law by George W. Bush. It requires the USPS to fully pre-fund healthcare costs for USPS retirees 75 years into the future. And it is supposed to come up with this huge amount of money in only 10 years, from 2007 to 2017.

        This means the USPS is forced to pay $5.5 billion into an account every year until 2017, and not use any of it for daily expenses or business costs.

        The account is to be used only to pay for retiree's healthcare through the year 2082. Which means the USPS is paying for future medical expenses of people who not only do not work for the USPS yet, but many of them ARE NOT EVEN BORN YET.

        No other business or government agency in the world is required to do anything like this. It seems obvious that putting this requirement in place for the USPS was a GOP scheme to make the USPS appear to be in the red.

        So no, it isn't anything like just "paying employees." Sheesh.

        •  I hear this a lot. (0+ / 0-)

          No other business or government agency in the world is required to do anything like this.

          No other agency would have been allowed to not fund pensions like the USPS did.  It moved a huge off-budget cost onto the actual USPS budget, where it should have been the entire time.

          To do otherwise was a long-time engagement in magical accounting.

          •  No, MGross, you're still wrong . . . (21+ / 0-)

            The 2006 Postal Reform law did not have anything to do with unfunded pensions or "off-budget costs" as you claim. You seem to be suggesting that the new $5.5 billion yearly payments are meant to repair a mysterious under-funded USPS pension plan caused by magical accounting. That is just not true.

            The $5.5 billion per year is for future expenses. If your claim were true, that money would be paying off old unfunded debts. But there aren't any of those.

            USPS pensions are and always have been more than fully funded, according to both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Inspector General.

            The USPS has two pension plans, one for Civil Service employees (who began their Postal careers before 1984) and another for FERS employees (Federal Employees Retirement System). Both pension plans are fully paid, and even over-paid. The Postal bills now being discussed in Congress would refund some or all of these pension overpayments to the USPS. The most likely figure that many expect to be approved is a refund of $11 billion, which apparently would provide incentive payments to get employees to retire early, reducing the workforce without layoffs. They couldn't and wouldn't do that if there was a pension underpayment.

            The new fund to fully pre-pay retiree healthcare costs far into the future is the unprecedented requirement for the USPS. Most businesses require only holding 10% of the expected healthcare costs for the next decade or so, not 100% for 75 years. No one else has to do that. And I'm glad you're hearing this a lot, because it's true. Maybe the message is getting through.

          •  That's one of the most (0+ / 0-)

            ridiculous things I've ever seen posted on here.

            liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

            by RockyMtnLib on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:20:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't the Lieberman bill have needed fixes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob

    to the health care/pension debacle?

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:58:53 AM PDT

  •  A few random postal thoughts... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chemborg

    1) The most obvious reason to have a postal service is to have mail service for those areas unprofitable for UPS/FedEx to serve (i.e. rural areas).  We should keep our eye on the ball - if we're dropping another delivery day, keep it for rural areas where there is no demonstrated competition.

    2) I hate my mailbox.  90% of what is in there is advertisement and bullshit.  If the post office wanted to do something for ME, it would allow me to place my address on a "no deliver" list for SPAM mail or enforce other such rules.  Their mail volume would drop.

    3) Instead of this "drop Friday delivery"- I would be OK w/every other day delivery - some people would be M, W and F, others T, TH and SA- if we need something there quicker, use UPS-- keep M-F delivery for rural areas.

    4) Raising the price of stamps seems OK to me - seems like if you have to send something in the real mail, its probably important enough to spend 60 cents on.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:02:32 AM PDT

    •  I get that you don't care about some of this (11+ / 0-)

      I could go without Sat. delivery and junk, but it's direct mail that pays for the postal service. Some people get their medication only through the mail and most importantly the Rs would get their big victory- they would be able to kill a union and privatize it.

      "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

      by high uintas on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:35:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We all could afford to pay a little more for (5+ / 0-)

        postage, including direct mailers.

        I'm retired from a not for profit organization that relied on direct mail for selling its products to its members throughout the world. Sure, the extremely low postal rates helped us, but I know they could have been a little higher. Furthermore, as almost all of our products were books and journals, both with extensive library sales, we also enjoyed extremely low library rates to distribute HEAVY products.  Those prices SHOULD go up. A library paying more than $100 for a book or $200 for an annual  journal subscription is not going to quibble over a little more for the USPS.

        There's PLENTY of daylight between USPS and UPS or FedX prices to allow for an increase at the USPS without losing direct mail postal customers. Sure, I know we have the Internet for promoting sales now, but just look at the number of marketers still using paper catalogs. Believe me, big marketers have thoroughly tested and compared the results. If paper catalogs were not profitable, you wouldn't have any in your mailbox.

        We need to preserve the USPS. There is no better bargain around.

        Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

        by RJDixon74135 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:31:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They ought to make (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, high uintas

        bulk-rate mail pay more of its own costs. (It costs a lot less per ounce to send than even package and second-class, and it's a lot less useful to most people.)

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:51:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Re (5+ / 0-)
      1) The most obvious reason to have a postal service is to have mail service for those areas unprofitable for UPS/FedEx to serve (i.e. rural areas).  We should keep our eye on the ball - if we're dropping another delivery day, keep it for rural areas where there is no demonstrated competition.
      It isn't just about competition, it's about first class and bulk mail.

      UPS and Fedex simply do not have the capability to carry "mail" the way the term is traditionally understood.

      UPS and Fedex are good at carrying packages, individually wrapped and tracked items. They are experts at getting packages from point A to point B for very cheap... for packages (a few bucks).

      But getting a letter somewhere for $0.50 is a completely different animal than these activities. Doing this requires a gigantic and indiscriminate letter processing infrastructure so you can just drop a letter in a mailbox with no other processing and be reasonably sure it will arrive at its destination. You have to be able to process a hell of a lot of mail this way.

      The lack of individualized tracking and the mass sorting is what makes first class mail cost around $0.50 and not a few bucks like Fedex will charge you to deliver anything anywhere. Currently incarnations of private delivery companies simply do not have the infrastructure to indiscriminately deliver millions of pieces of mail for a low cost. They basically send a few packages through a specialized infrastructure (a "few" is a lot, but still far, far less than mail gets dumped through the post office).

      I guess in theory one could talk about privatizing the post office but at the end of the day it would be very wasteful to have several parallel infrastructures for this kind of thing so it would just end up as a regulated monopoly anyway. As most posters here would agree, I have zero problem privatizing any function assuming it makes sense, but in the case of the post office I think it would be difficult to make a coherent economic argument for doing so.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:58:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dropping Saturdays fucks everyone who works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Monday-Friday.

      Let's not drop it.  No ifs.

      Just because fucking Senators always have a maid at home to accept packages at 2:30 on a Thursday...

      Kos should start a PvP server for this game.

      by JesseCW on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 04:41:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This issue is so important and emotional for me (24+ / 0-)

    My Dad grew up in dire poverty. 2 Things changed tht for him....1. The Marine Corps where he felt equal to other guys for the first time in his life even though he did not have a father and he grew up in severe poverty.

    2. The Post Office job and the National Association of Letter Carriers where he made a good wage with excellent benefits so he could take care of and provide a middle class life for his family.

    Granted, things were less expensive then including college. So he was able to put both my sister and I through college plus he helped us out so much when we were struggling. He was able to buy a small ranch house on an acre of property and died in that house a decade ago. A few years later, Mom died and we sold the house ...he bought for 13, 000 dollars in 1962 and sold it for around 145k...he would have been so pleased.

    He credited the union and the post office for lifthing him out of poverty. He said,

    Your mother and I owe this postal job and the post office for our standard of living.
    He also said the Postal Inspectors had 99 pct conviction rate for fraud, something no other prosecutors could claim.

    He used to say...

    The Post Office sitll has the the best service at the best prices of anything anywhere. It is still a bargain.
    He would be furious and upset over what is happening now.  

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:06:43 AM PDT

    •  Bless your dad (17+ / 0-)

      You are truly lucky to have such great parents.  I am a huge fan of the Post Office -- even without any connection other than the great folks who work at my locals and my postman.  

      My office is in a depressed city -- the PO is a gorgeous art deco building.  The men and women behind the counters have patience and senses of humor.  They deal constantly with folks who need postal checks to pay bills or send money home.  They are able to navigate more languages than English and Spanish.  My hometown PO has a marvelous WPA mural -- and it is like family there.  

      I really despise anyone in Congress -- mostly Republicans but some Dems who don't respect the postal service, which is effing older than the United States (authorized in 1775 by the Second Continental Congress) and then authorized by the Constitution.

      Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:14:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have relatives (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zinman, wishingwell

      who could probably solve the energy crisis, if they were hooked into the power grid, they're turning over so fast. Life-long USPS employees, and one rose from substitute carrier to postmaster.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:53:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Historically speaking, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      paintitblue, wishingwell

      the U.S. Post Office has had a daily and more dramatic personal and emotional effect on American’s lives than just about any other government institution or service.  There are no pieces of history more personally valuable than letters. How soon we turn away from what was once so essential it has a place in the U.S. Constitution.  Frankly, without the Post Office, we’ll lose our last collective and connective national tissue.

      An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation. William James

      by agincour on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 03:16:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are ads running for Saving the USPS but (16+ / 0-)

    what bothers me is the ads just blame Congress and Washington without calling out Republicans. I wish that would change !!!  As I can tell you the Postal Unions will endorse Democrats and the President for sure.  

    I want people to be upset about this but blame the GOP and the ads do not say that..when they say Washington , some think the President and that is false.

    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

    by wishingwell on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:08:23 AM PDT

  •  Wow. Cloture! (6+ / 0-)

    Of course, it's cloture on doing something that would have a negative impact on working class people, organized labor, people of colors, and likely Democratic voters, not on millionaires and billionaires and likely Republican voters. So by all means, the Senate will jump right on it.

    Sick bastards.

    "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin

    by psnyder on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:09:02 AM PDT

  •  Don't buy the "changing patterns" meme (20+ / 0-)

    A lame duck Rethug Congress imposed impossible financial burdens on the USPS precisely so they could drive the agency into bankruptcy.  That's really the ONLY thing distressing them.  People have always said the latest innovation would be the end of the Postal Service--the telegraph, the telephone, the television, whatever.  Now its the Internet.  Free the Postal Service from the continued annual Billions in overfunding to retirement funds that are already overfunded, let them access some of that previously overfunded revenue, and stop using postal monies to fund congressional pay raises and they'll be just fine.

    The Postal Service is about the only thing other than an army explicitly required of the government by the Constitution.  IMO, it would require a Constitutional Amendment to privatize it.  But then the "joke" we all get is that fealty to and reverence for the Constitution from the hard right and their 5 SCOTUS puppets is all just a big lie anyway.  In a world where corporations and zygotes are people but women aren't, I'm really not very optimistic about America's future.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

    by costello7 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:13:05 AM PDT

    •  AFAIK, the Constitution does NOT... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wham Bam

      ...require a post office (or post roads).

      In Article I, Section 8, the Constitution merely specifies that "The Congress shall have Power ... To establish Post Offices and post Roads".

      This section also specifies that Congress shall have the power "To borrow Money on the credit of the United States". Surely no one would interpret this to REQUIRE that Congress borrow money if Congress decided there was no need (such as if the Treasury held a vast surplus).

      Similarly, this section gives Congress the power "To declare War" -- but surely Congress is not remiss if there is not a declared war most of the time.

      I'm not aware of any case that has found that Congress must exercise every power that the Constitution allows it to exercise or that they must exercise it to the extent that they have previously.

      •  Interesting read of Section 8, but (0+ / 0-)

        I had always understood these powers to be explicitly assigning to Congress a list of required governmental functions.  In other words, when framing the handbook for how the government was to work, Madison and company settled on a list of basic things a government has to do.  Then, they assigned who has that responsibility.  (Example: They recognized that a nation must be able to make treaties, and they assigned that to the executive).
        As far as the powers listed in Art.1, Sec.8, I have always read

        Congress shall have the power to...
        as  "Congress shall have the power to..." or "Congress, as opposed to the Executive or the courts, shall have the power to do this stuff that we need to have done"

        rather than "Congress, if and when it feels like, is allowed to do he following things"

        In re: the analogy to borrowing money or declaring war:
        Those two are discrete actions, along with punishing piracies, and calling forth the militia, that are reactions to situations that are reasonable foreseeable by those writing the Constitution.
         In addition to these "when it comes up" powers", Sec. 8 also lists powers that are more continual, such as Providing and Maintaining a Navy, Coining money, Constituting Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court, Establishing Patents and Copyrights, and funding the army.  IMHO, it seems the Post Offices and Post Roads falls into this camp.

        "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

        by netop on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 06:29:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  IANAL (obviously) (0+ / 0-)

          I wonder if this has ever been adjudicated. The more I think about it, it seems likely that someone over the decades would have brought this question to the Federal courts in some guise (perhaps in an attempt to claim that Congress had to do "more" with one of its powers).

          It seems that throughout the Constitution, when a commandment is made that a branch must do something, it's worded directly in forms such as:

          The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
          Perhaps a slightly more interesting example of "shall have power" type of wording in the Constitution is:
          The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
          Clearly this power only applies to the discrete situation of a vacancy occurring in well defined (at least as I imagine the Founders probably assumed) situations. However, when such a situation occurs, your interpretation would seem to require that the President make a recess appointment to fill the vacancy. I've never heard anyone contend that the President must do so and, in practice, they rarely do they do so.

          In the end, it probably doesn't make much difference as the Congress could just make a finding that there is no need for a geographically distributed Post Office. They could then declare that the "Post Office" shall consist entirely of a 7 foot x 10 foot room in the basement of the Capitol Building where people can meet to exchange mail as they see fit. Voilà, obligation met!

          </textualism>

  •  The crisis was manufactured to kill the USPS (31+ / 0-)

    The goal was to bankrupt the Post Office by imposing a pre-funding mandate for 75 years worth of future retiree health care costs while preventing the Post Office from raising rates to cover this pre-funding mandate.  There is more to the story, so here is a link which explains a bit more about it:

    http://www.opednews.com/...

    "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

    by Zinman on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:26:14 AM PDT

    •  Yes, I read the article at your link, Zinman, and (7+ / 0-)

      there's even more. Wrecking the post office is just one step in the Republican plan to "prove" their claim that "government doesn't work." Privatizing the USPS would sure be a juicy plum for some totally corrupt legislators in Washington to share with their friends.

      The worst part of our government is the Republican Congress. Let's get rid of them and keep the USPS.

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:47:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Don't it always seem to go (10+ / 0-)

    That you don't know what you've got 'til its gone. . .."

    If Congress kills the USPS there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth--too late.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:59:24 AM PDT

  •  When I hear someone bitching about the USPS (25+ / 0-)

    I say: "Here's an envelope and 50 cents.  How about you take that to Alaska for me, eh Boyo?"

    We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

    by bmcphail on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 10:45:56 AM PDT

  •  Raising stamp prices... (13+ / 0-)

    Raising stamp prices is a great idea that would fix most of the USPS financial problems immediately, without drastic cuts to jobs or services. The Postmaster General testified to Congress last month that if stamp prices went up just a nickel, to 50 cents per letter, the USPS could drop its terrible plan to slow down delivery standards. (If the delivery standards are slowed down, the USPS has said it will close hundreds of mail-processing centers nationwide, and instead consolidate processing in distant centers that will in theory run high-speed processing machines 20 hours per day. But mail will take twice as long to be delivered.)

    Unfortunately, and incredibly, the USPS is not allowed to raise stamp prices under current regulations. Stamp prices by law are tied to the rate of inflation, unless Congress votes to allow the USPS a special dispensation. And how often do you think that happens? (Answer: almost never, duh. Which member of Congress wants to campaign as someone who voted to raise prices?)

    This means the USPS cannot react like any other big company to changes in its business. If McDonalds has a bad year, they raise the price of french fries for a while. Or maybe they have a sale on Big Macs to bring more people in. The USPS can't do those things, thanks to the micro-managing Postal Reform law imposed by the Republican Congress and George W. Bush in 2006.

    And yes, I am a Postal union steward.

    •  When there's a spike in gas prices (6+ / 0-)

      UPS, (where I work) and Fed-Ex add a fuel surcharge to maintain profitability. The Post office needs (literally!) an act of congress to raise its rates a penny. I was in my local PO this week, sending a small package (for a whole $1.10) and buying some stamps, and commiserated with the gentleman who helped me. I don't know if it's an exaggeration, but the destruction of the Post Office seems like part of an attempt to screw up what used to be a pretty damn good country.

    •  Re (0+ / 0-)
      This means the USPS cannot react like any other big company to changes in its business. If McDonalds has a bad year, they raise the price of french fries for a while. Or maybe they have a sale on Big Macs to bring more people in. The USPS can't do those things[]

      And yes, I am a Postal union steward.

      Those same regulations also prevent the post office from laying people off en masse, which would be another very effective way to cut costs for the organization.

      I am agnostic about whether these regulations are a good idea or not, but be careful what you wish for...

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:05:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well actually... (0+ / 0-)

        Well actually the thing that prevents the post office from laying people off en masse is the union-negotiated contract, specifically Article 6.1B. It forbids the Postal Service from laying off anyone with 6 years or more of service.

        There's no law or regulation against Postal layoffs. Just good strong unions protecting their members.

    •  How much does Congress pay to send (0+ / 0-)

      their mail?

      Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

      by RJDixon74135 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:49:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't Congress borrow billions (0+ / 0-)

    from the postal service every year? What's up with that?

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 12:56:51 PM PDT

  •  Ben Franklin would be ashamed! (9+ / 0-)

    The Senate doesn't mind spitting on the memory of the first Postmaster.  What a shameful affair!

    "What Elephant?" - Jimmy Durante, "Jumbo"

    by FresnoBill314 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:19:07 PM PDT

  •  Post office closings (4+ / 0-)

    When they close the rural PO and end land lines to rural america...does that mean life in rural Kentucky will just disappear?  

  •  Sounds like constitutional pickin' and choosin' (4+ / 0-)

    again.

    Culbert Olson is my hero!

    by chemborg on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:34:12 PM PDT

  •  Is there a country in the G20 that doesn't have (6+ / 0-)

    a government run postal service?

    Where would we be if the Post Office went bankrupt?

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the US Constitution:

    To establish Post Offices and Post roads
    Interesting commentary from Jefferson to John Jay:
    Have you considered all the consequences of your proposition respecting post roads? I view it as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress & their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post office revenues; but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:34:58 PM PDT

  •  So many Dem traitors in Congress. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greeseyparrot, greengemini, JesseCW

    Makes me sick.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:36:54 PM PDT

  •  How many corporations (9+ / 0-)

    which survive if they had to pay 75 years of pensions upfront , like the GOP made the Post Office do in 2006? Perhaps if the Democrats knew how to fight back that they would require the same of corporations.

    •  Corporations just kill their pension plans... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ctsteve, greeseyparrot, devtob, dhcallahan

      ...and make the government take them over.

      Difference between a government and a business -- government can't declare chapter 11 and skate away from its reponsibilities.

      Corporations do it all the time.

      If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

      by Bush Bites on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:42:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  C'mon .... nobody's perfect. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, paintitblue

    "Four more years!" (Obama Unencumbered - The Sequel)

    by jwinIL14 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:42:22 PM PDT

  •  Also the post office has played a major (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, rbird, JesseCW

    roll in battling tax fraud down here in Florida. This from Oct 2011:

    The post office is now intercepting at least a million dollars a week and it's one sign tax fraud continues to be a big problem.

    Prosecutors continue to battle 'mammoth' tax fraud

    Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    by hungrycoyote on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:09:28 PM PDT

  •  Should Romney win, and have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rbird, Zinman

    a Republican House and Senate, they will privatize the USPS.

    Postal costs would rise substantially, most current workers would lose their union benefits and/or their jobs, the 75-year pension requirement would disappear, and Wall Street will cash in again.

    That's the plan -- most voters don't want it, like everything else the radical Republicans stand for.

    But if they vote for Republicans in November, USPS privatization will be just another way they/we will be screwed.

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:00:48 PM PDT

    •  More postal dystopia (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dhcallahan, paintitblue, devtob

      Instead of professionals who refine the craft, you'd have desperate people delivering mail making about $10/hour, with a lot of turnover due to no concern over their working conditions. Any thought of organizing would be quickly and ruthlessly crushed, with extreme prejudice.

      Security of letter carriers could go away. GPS placed in their vehicles. Burdensome quotas also the order of the day for them, after all, "you're expendable, I could hire a monkey to do your job".

      liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

      by RockyMtnLib on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 10:47:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Post office is not government, there is no (0+ / 0-)

    reason not to run it like a business. Yeah, they should be able to set stamp rates, offer extra services and this pension thing is crazy. But it is a business and should be run this way.

  •  "Businesslike" USPS wouldn't be free to Congress (0+ / 0-)

    If the USPS were run like a business, Congress wouldn't be getting free postage.

  •  Two BIG Conflicts of Interest Here (0+ / 0-)

    First, there are the legislators (most but not all GOP) getting donations from FedEx and Brown and the others. They'd love to starve USPS.

    But then there are the legislators pushing to keep tiny, money-sucking self-standing post offices in every town of 100 across the country. I know a dozen in my neck of the woods. And my favorite place to go is in the back of a card shop, far cheaper for the tax payer. Like the jet plane that's made in 20 congressional districts, those wasteful self-standing buildings are anachronous. Yet the congress insists they exist because they can plunk someone's name on them.

    This is the Internet age. USPS should have been the agency that invented PayPal (and it can be, again.) But this Congress probably won't do that.

  •  The objective is the destruction of the USPS. (0+ / 0-)

    It's clear.

    There's not point to quibble about how quickly, without addressing the objective.

    Kos should start a PvP server for this game.

    by JesseCW on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 04:37:47 AM PDT

  •  Let's see how all those rural Republicans like it (0+ / 0-)

    When their small town post offices are shut down, and the local postal employees are laid off. Such a farsighted policy!

  •  Suuurrre - Privatize the Post Office (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryduck

    It's working so well with the prisons.

    Rakoff for president! "An application of judicial power that does not rest on facts is worse than mindless, it is inherently dangerous..." -- Medicare for All -- "Justice delayed is justice denied" for the 99%

    by EquityRoy on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 07:16:50 AM PDT

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