How's about the Post Office

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by tallbump, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. tallbump

    tallbump Supporting Member

    Ok, that minimum wage thread got me thinking. Had a pleasant discussion last night on Facebook about the USPS. A good friend gave me another point of view, and I did some research.

    So....let's bring up ANOTHER interesting topic :D (Mods...feel free to split this up, or request that I, make this a new topic...)

    How's bout the post office?

    I am frequently seeing articles like this...

    The Post Office Lost $2 Billion In Just 3 Months

    WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Postal Service continued to bleed money during its second quarter, despite an increase in package revenues and an emergency price hike that took effect in January.

    Now, this particular article goes a bit further an actually gives more info. But most don't. Most stop there. I have an Uncle who is VERY Pro-Union, ant-privatization. He has been very vocal about teh who plan to put mini post offices in Staples stores. I, of course was all for it. I am a big fan of private enterprise. I say if the government can't do in an efficient manner, let private business try. HOWEVER I hadn't heard about all the pension stuff.

    As I said, this particular article gives more of that info.
    Most of the major news around the USPS doesn't get into that.

    I read a few more articles on te subject to try to educate myself.

    Found these 2.

    This one was just published yesterday -

    Hightower: Far From a Loser, the Post Office Is a Money-Making Operation
    Now, I am just learning about this subject. I don't know how factual all that is. The article seems to be a bit biased by it's writing style, so i don't know how accurate the figures are.

    Also saw this one. This one is a Letter to the Editor, so it's sort of an Op Ed, but it does seem to have some factual stuff as well.

    Post office makes a profit Congress won’t let it keep

  2. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Nah, that's basically right. USPS, does operate at a profit under most definitions. Republicans and Conservatives don't actually seem to hate it (except that most seem to think that private carriers have better customer service). And, yes, Congress did pass an idiotic law mandating pre-funding future retirement and health benefits that are a burden fit for Sisyphus or Atlas.

    ...and they could fix it ANY BLASTED TIME THEY FELT LIKE.

    Like the Wall Street Bail Out, this pre-funding scheme is massively unpopular among both Democrat and Republican voters. It's a favorite whipping boy of both Hannity and Limbaugh as well as HuffPo. Yet Congress did NOTHING about it during the time that the Democrats held both houses and POTUS. Now that the Republicans hold the House and appear to have a good shot at the Senate, I predict that they will do... nothing.

    Yes, this is one of those issues that it seems as if Republicrats and Democons could shake hands on because both of their voting bases hate it. But for reasons that are frankly either inexplicable or (literally) insane, they refuse to. They're too busy demagoguing each other. There's an election cycle coming up, don'tcha know? (there always is) Can't let the other side appear to have done something the cross-over voters might like. :(

    Nothing will be done about this until USPS, literally, goes Bankrupt. Then they'll probably have to be bailed out and, only at that time, will this foolish law be actually revisited.

    Peace favor your sword,

  3. My problem with the USPS isn't the USPS but, as tallbump and iklawson pointed out, the politicians who try to micro-manage something they have no knowledge or understanding of. The post office should be able to make necessary changes to provide better service and cut costs as they see fit, not held to standards and schedules that our elected officals don't adhere too. When was the last time you think any of those clowns in DC worked a full week? And no, fund raising, campaigning, hob-nobbing with lobbyists and playing 'hide the salami' with your secretary/misstress doesn't count as work.
  4. Rerun

    Rerun Supporting Member

    My dad retired from the post office in '91.

    At that time the post office branch he worked at had three supervisors for the whole branch.

    There were 150 postal workers working at the branch: Mail Handlers, Letter Carriers, Truck Drivers, Mechanics, Office Employees.

    Slide forward to today.

    The number of employees has dropped slightly - to about 140.

    But, the number of supervisors has climbed steadily to a ratio of about one supervisor for EVERY FOUR employees.

    They are micro-managing themselves to death. And, spending way too much money on management. Who, because they are supervisors get paid about 20% more than the employees they are 'managing'.


    PS I have seen similar instances repeated in school districts - One local high school just ten years ago had 3000 students, one principal, one vice-principal and a shared support staff.

    Now, there are 2700 students, one principal, and TEN VICE-PRINCIPALS and a Support Staff for each Vice-Principal!

    Get rid of all the unnecessary Management and lower Your costs immediately.
  5. Not only that but the union protects slugs who should be shown the door. My mom was a rural route carrier till she retired to take care of dad who was in poor health. Rural carriers, at that time, were paid based on the mail count for their route, which was done once or twice a year. Mom's route had a high mail count but because she's a hard worker and very organized, she would typically be done by 2 - 2:30. On a very heavy day she might be on the route till 3:30, but that was rare.

    The woman who subbed for her on the route took over as the full-time carrier when mom retired. She wouldn't get back to the post office till well ofter 6PM, every night. So they split the route into two routes, and had to hire another carrier. So she complains, files a grievance with the union but the union got another job out of it (and more union dues) so they're not too wild about fighting it. But in the years since she's been off work for 'injuries' more than she's been on the job and finally lost it due to filing a fraudulent workman's comp claim. And guess who the union went to bat for and is getting her job back with back pay for the time she was off!

    Along the same lines, there's a carrier down in Lancaster county who lost his drivers license because of a DUI. You'd think not being able to do your job would be grounds for dismissal. Not when you work for the PO. They hired a driver to drive this clown around on his route. And they want to complain they can't make a profit?
  6. planosteve

    planosteve Lifetime Supporter

    When I first moved to Plano we had an older man as or letter carrier. He was a Vietnam Vet and just couldn't work in an office so it was the perfect job for him. He was telling me about how they used to have a postmaster and 3 supervisors for about 120 letter carriers when he started. Right before he retired a couple years ago there was a postmaster, assistant postmaster, and 6 supervisors for 120 letter carriers. He told me all the extra management made it harder to do his job efficiently. I still see him at the range every now and then and he is enjoying his retirement.
  7. Liberty

    Liberty Shhh! Lifetime Supporter

    I ship a small item on eBay. It costs $4.16 to ship it internationally - for THREE OUNCES. You can ship from Hong Kong to the US, REGISTERED mail - for 17 cents for three ounces, and the US Postal carrier scans it too!

    This is the most overpaid bunch of idiots out there. Many people (my wife's uncle included in this bunch) go into the military at 18, come out at 38 and get a pension, go into the Post Office where you get extra points on your test for being military and nothing else, work 20 more years while collecting military pension, then retire at 58 with over $100,000 in annual pensions, plus full health benefits. Meanwhile, they gripe that they're broke, and get HUGE pensions that WE pay for.

    Then they get laws passed that MANDATE that other carriers MUST charge more for their services, which means that we have no other alternative because it's legislated that we MUST pay more.

    Let Amazon or UPS or FedEx start delivering normal mail and set their own prices - you'd see a price war bringing it down to about 25 cents for the first ounce and a dime for each additional, and a 10 cent an ounce surcharge for international.

    And what about the Post Office advertising? THEY ARE A FREAKING MONOPOLY.

    Plus - they want you to ship EVERYTHING Priority Mail. Try $19.98 to ship three ounces internationally via Priority. Remember - four quarters weigh an ounce. It costs more to ship coins than the face value of said coins, internationally.

    And they pay out HUGE bonuses to management. Bunch of crooks and union thugs.

    Our mailman is 36 and has a wife and 3 kids. He'll be retiring in 2 years, with a $75,000 a year pension for the rest of his life.

    Anyone see anything WRONG with this picture?

    Go plug in postal rate increases vs. minimum wage. You'll see the cost of postage has gone up about 10x vs. the minimum wage.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  8. Food for thought, actually think about and this will really get under your skin but...

    Q: Ever wonder why they print so many different commemorative stamps each year?

    A: Something like 1/2 the stamps purchased are by collectors for their stamp collection. Now in all fairness I don't know if this is still true but back in the 80's the PO did a study and this was one of the statistics that came out of it. It's also one of the reasons I quit collecting stamps.
  9. Moestooge

    Moestooge Member

    The post office is full of fat and waste, but they can't decide which brand of toilet paper to use in the employee restrooms without approval from Congress. Privatize!
  10. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    Now try it from Germany. It will cost closer to $8, even a letter within Germany costs about a dollar, so no, we are far from the worst in terms of costs.

    Now THAT is the problem, along with the high overhead and other stuff you mentioned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2014
  11. geekandwife

    geekandwife Good ole Boy Member

    So then why does USP and Fed Ex both send things though the postal service to reduce costs? You bring up Amazon, and the majority of my packages arrive via USPS as the end carrier as it is the cheapest delivery method. Heck even my new flashlight ordered via prime was delivered USPS.

    Private companies would have no motivation to reduce possible profits and reduce prices like you claim.
  12. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Why on earth would that bother me? They're producing a product (stamps) that is desired by a specific group of customers (collectors) who are willing to buy the product.

    Nothing at all wrong with that.

    Peace favor your sword,
  13. Because in a sense they're literally printing money yet can't break even. Keep in mind it's cheap to print stamps, they're priced not on cost of materials and printing plus mark-up but on the cost to deliver a piece of 1st class mail. When a collector buys a stamp they're paying for a service the PO will never provide. I don't have a problem with the PO or any business making a profit. I figure if people are willing to pay the price more power to the business.

    I'm just pointing this out because I know liberals like Geekandwife won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that the PO, a quasi government run business, is taking advantage of stamp collectors like that. I mean if you want to complain about outrageous profits...:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  14. In all fairness to the Post Office I think the biggest problem is having their hands tied by politicians who either a) don't have a clue, b) are in the unions pockets, c) think they know better or d) some combination of a, b and c.

    They can't consolidate post offices, they can't reduce hours or services and they can't bargain for lower wages. They pretty much can't do many of the things most businesses do to reduce costs, streamline operations and get rid of excess or worthless employees.

    Like Amtrak the Post Office is pretty much screwed till congress pulls it's collective head out of it's ass and let's them operate as a business.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  15. Liberty

    Liberty Shhh! Lifetime Supporter

    The opposite is true, and as usual, you buy into liberal math.

    UPS and FedEx have agreements with the Post Office where they get a cheaper rate than you and me, so they still get a cut of the delivery fee. You say END CARRIER and then act like it's the ONLY carrier.

    VERY large companies can make contracts - in fact Amazon recently announced they are using the Post Office for Sunday delivery.

    And again you're being a tool and saying that they would reduce profits if they reduced shipping prices. You don't know a single thing about economics, especially economies of scale.

    Sometimes offering a lower price increases flow. People might mail more physical things if shipping costs were lower. I know I would be able to sell more on eBay as one for instance - because there are a LOT of things I can't sell due to postage being more than the cost of the item. So as a consequence, I am forced to sell them at a yard sale and not get the most money for my dollars.

    I bet you think the Post Office is a government institution, too.
  16. Liberty

    Liberty Shhh! Lifetime Supporter

    Literally TONS of that postage once originally bought for stamp collecting is coming back on the market. The usefulness of 1 cent and 4 cent and similar "licky" stamps is severely undermined by huge postage rates, so it goes for half face value and less. $1 worth of stamps in 1963 vs. $1 of those same stamps put on as postage today means the Post Office made a huge profit, as the dollar it is worth today is severely devalued.

    I have probably $1800 in "licky" stamps that will take me the rest of my life to use, but I buy up as much "sticky" stamps as I can get my hands on. It's always stamps with a face value - can't buy "Forever" stamps with much of a discount.

    The way I make the best profit is buying stamps $1 and over at less than face value - but that is HARD.
  17. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    We are on the same page, I mean...who made them give that high retirement at 20 years, right? Exactly as you pointed out.

    And Amtrack...holy cow, I agree with that especially after using the European trains. The odd thing is, it's cheaper for me to fly to Oregon than take the train, but on their more established high-use routes, it's a good deal, it can be cheaper than driving. My family on the I-5 corridor between So. Oregon and Seattle has started using it quite often. I think in the NE it might be the same.