U.S. Postal Service: salvageable or doomed?

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Taibbi wrote about this last week... I didn't know/forgot the bold part:

"The U.S. Postal Service is staring down the same barrel trained at our magazine and newspaper businesses, i.e. its revenue model is being wiped out by the internet.

But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers' Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.

"No one prefunds at more than 30 percent," Anthony Vegliante, the U.S. Postal Service's executive vice president, told reporters last year.

The new law forced the postal service to come up with about $5.5 billion a year for the ten years following the bill's passage. In 2006, before those payments kicked in, the USPS generated a small profit. Not surprisingly, the USPS is now basically broke.

The 2006 law also bars the Postal Service from offering "nonpostal services," which means the USPS can't, say, open up a bank, or an internet cafe, or come up with any new entrepreneurial ideas to generate new income, as postal services do in other countries.

The transparent purpose of this law, which was pushed heavily by industry lobbyists, was to break a public sector union and privatize the mail industry...."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/dont-let-business-lobbyists-kill-the-post-office-20120423

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:09 (nine years ago) link

doomed

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:13 (nine years ago) link

I understand why you bolded the passage you did, but the pre-funding requirement is even more shocking to me.

i don't believe in zimmerman (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:14 (nine years ago) link

This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees – and not only do it, but do it within ten years.

this seems deeply insane xp

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:16 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, Congress has created a political problem and dressed it as an economic one, but USPS is probably doomed. Of course, one ironic upshot is that UPS and FedEx will have to cease serving customers in some rural and out-of-the-way places, since USPS is their last-mile carrier. But hey, the free market, right?

i love the large auns pictures! (Phil D.), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:16 (nine years ago) link

yup

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:17 (nine years ago) link

salvageable, mainly because its a legit public good and thus doesnt need to be economically feasible.

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:21 (nine years ago) link

The problem with going 100% to private delivery companies like UPS and FedEx is that they are not required to serve the entire country, as PhilD said. The more you cut off rural dwellers, the more you create tiers of citizenship, with the rural people turning into ignorant, poverty-stricken peasants, living in degradation. Not quite the thing, imo.

Aimless, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:24 (nine years ago) link

a national subsidy for mailing shit to people in the midddle of nowhere isn't really a legit public good

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:25 (nine years ago) link

^^ needs more thought

Aimless, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:26 (nine years ago) link

yeah wth

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:27 (nine years ago) link

yeah lets take away their schools too! xpost

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:27 (nine years ago) link

I can't figure out your politics sometimes iatee

i don't believe in zimmerman (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:28 (nine years ago) link

he hates people that dont live like he does

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:29 (nine years ago) link

post very much in character

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:29 (nine years ago) link

i mean thats the cliff notes version i am sure it is more nuanced but

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:29 (nine years ago) link

actually those ignorant, poverty-stricken peasants in rural areas need to factor the lack of mailable shit access into their cost-benefit analysis

the late great, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:30 (nine years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkEvLjj_rqc

how's life, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:30 (nine years ago) link

^ a little video I'd like you to watch iatee

how's life, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:30 (nine years ago) link

farmers should quit growing food, move to the city and work in private equity

i don't believe in zimmerman (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:31 (nine years ago) link

again w/ the farmer thing

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:32 (nine years ago) link

almost nobody is a farmer!

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:32 (nine years ago) link

and yet we still pretend like half the country is

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:32 (nine years ago) link

You can farm just as easily in queens, amirite?

how's life, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:32 (nine years ago) link

literally as i clicked on this thread a mail truck stopped hard in front of my window. the mailman got out to retrieve a box that had escaped the truck and was lying in the middle of the street.

call all destroyer, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:33 (nine years ago) link

almost nobody is a farmer!

― iatee, Wednesday, May 2, 2012 4:32 PM (47 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

That's why they all live out in the middle of nowhere!

how's life, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:33 (nine years ago) link

Mandatory victory gardens should have been part of Obamacare

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:33 (nine years ago) link

fewer than 1% of americans are farmers

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:34 (nine years ago) link

iatee, the numbers of farmers are shrinking, but they are still required, bcz, you know, food.

Aimless, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:34 (nine years ago) link

yes

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:35 (nine years ago) link

all those people in the middle of nowhere are just getting books sent in the mail that teach them how to build bombs to blow up post offices anyway.

scott seward, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:35 (nine years ago) link

I do think its kind of terrifying to start measuring these sorts of things per economic viability tho - its a sad insight into the creepy economic mental sludge that is going on across the board in politics these days, and makes it even clearer that the neocons have won even while losing.

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:36 (nine years ago) link

do you even know what the word neocon means

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:37 (nine years ago) link

mail service is a constitutional issue. if you live in the middle of nowhere you still get, like, due process. sending off a letter is the same deal. so what if it's expensive!

goole, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:38 (nine years ago) link

all those people in the middle of nowhere are just getting books sent in the mail that teach them how to build bombs to blow up post offices anyway.

Get govmt out of my Medicare!

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:38 (nine years ago) link

yes you insufferable little dude xxpost

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:39 (nine years ago) link

nah the congress has the *ability* to create a postal service, not a requirement

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:39 (nine years ago) link

http://gaffngun.com/forums/images/smilies/avatar54063_2.gif

l-r: ilx threads that even obliquely involve rural vs urban, iatee

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:39 (nine years ago) link

The internets are making everything else privatizable, it seems

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:39 (nine years ago) link

iatee just curious b/c I have not paid attention to this kind of shitstirring before -- have u lived in a rural area?

Silky Slim (dan m), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:40 (nine years ago) link

is there anything in section 8 that congress "shall have the power to" do, that it doesn't?

goole, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:41 (nine years ago) link

iatee, you realize that that's the whole point, that there's a minority of people who wouldn't be able to get service in the free market, but who need it, and whose services, in turn, we need.

Anyway "1% of Americans" is kind of a dumb stat to cite. It's more like 3+% of the labor force.

i don't believe in zimmerman (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:41 (nine years ago) link

no I considered moving to one but then I remembered I was not a farmer xp

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:42 (nine years ago) link

If the real point is to kill the unions and prove 'they don't work', the Republicans could just mandate that UPS and FedEx, etc..., serve rural areas which they could argue is a justifiable use of the commerce clause and totally wouldn't make them look like Mammon-worshipping hypocrites.

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:42 (nine years ago) link

iatee what about all the people that need to live in rural areas to serve those farmers - grain silo storage/operators, farm implement sellers, harvest season laborers, grocery stores, etc etc?

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:43 (nine years ago) link

the post office is kinda crazy for sending letters thousands of miles for, like, 50 cents. who does that? crazy people, that's who.

scott seward, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:43 (nine years ago) link

the post office is kinda crazy for sending letters thousands of miles for, like, 50 cents. who does that? crazy people, that's who.

^

iatee, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:44 (nine years ago) link

p simplistic view of what the post office does imo

Silky Slim (dan m), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:45 (nine years ago) link

tbh guys theres plenty of decent stuff to talk about here and i know its hard to resist but this is kind of a do not feed the iatee sorta situation

Rachel Profiling (jjjusten), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:45 (nine years ago) link

They could just order their John Deere combines off of Amazon. Except nobody would deliver them. RIP farmers.

i love the large auns pictures! (Phil D.), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:45 (nine years ago) link

In today's mail, I received:

- 2 CDs mailed from Warsaw, Poland on June 18
- a book mailed from Malmö, Sweden on May 25
- a CD mailed from Ann Arbor, Michigan on June 15

I had a tracking number for that last one, so I got to watch it sit in Pittsburgh for *two weeks*. And when it arrived, there was a dark scuff across the envelope that makes me think it fell under a machine and stayed there until a janitor swept it out one night, or something.

but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 2 July 2021 17:07 (two months ago) link

Last week we received a three week old New Yorker one day, and the two subsequent issues the next.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 2 July 2021 19:21 (two months ago) link

I received a record in the mail yesterday and it appeared to have been shot at or something? two puncture holes that went all the way through the packaging (including the record inside).

brimstead, Friday, 2 July 2021 20:02 (two months ago) link

It was a cut-out, maybe? Some of them used holes.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Friday, 2 July 2021 20:31 (two months ago) link

xp
Was it the Waldo Jeffers Band?

nickn, Friday, 2 July 2021 20:53 (two months ago) link

Spent 40$ on a 'Good' copy of a rare poetry book...carrier shoved it in the slot, completely creasing the spine and fucking up the binding.

heyy nineteen, that's john belushi (the table is the table), Saturday, 3 July 2021 01:36 (two months ago) link

not a cut out, my post must not have been clear

brimstead, Saturday, 3 July 2021 16:39 (two months ago) link

Got a big wad of mail last week, all sent between December and March.

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Saturday, 3 July 2021 17:44 (two months ago) link

I think it's been about a week since we got mail. Granted, part of that was the weekend, and a holiday weekend at that, but we're expecting something important that's been "out for delivery" since Thursday.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 7 July 2021 22:56 (two months ago) link

as far as I'm aware the postal service has it out specifically for guys whose names start with J and live in or around Chicago

Clara Lemlich stan account (silby), Thursday, 8 July 2021 00:22 (two months ago) link

Possible, but no one else in my family has a name that starts with J. Maybe I should move out?

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 00:26 (two months ago) link

Finally walked to the local post office, which is less than five minutes away, to (politely) ask what's up. They get my ID, check the back, and come back to apologetically tell me that our mail is supposedly on the truck and out for delivery today.

And then they hand me my copy of the local weekly paper ... the Wednesday Journal. On a Thursday. Which means *it* was not out for delivery, and that had we waited for it in the mail at best it would have arrived over the weekend. Of course, the weekly local paper is the least important thing; I've now been without a credit card for a week, and I'm heading out of town on Sunday. I feel for the people not receiving *really* importing things, like checks or medicine.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 8 July 2021 16:59 (two months ago) link

Yeah, I've just essentially given up on any reasonable timeframe sending or receiving anything via USPS. I don't want to say it's beyond repair, and it seems to vary state by state and city by city, but I'd say that, overall, the timeliness and reliability in 2021 is far, far worse than it was in 2020 and I've seen no improvement. I'm assuming that DeJoy just ain't going anywhere and it's time to start figuring out other ways of shipping. Couple in the 12% increase in prices for media mail coming in August and it's only going to get more expensive for shittier service.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 8 July 2021 17:04 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Just received a package that I'm frankly stunned they had the chutzpah to deliver. The contents are cuh-rushed, half of the padded envelope has been ripped clean away, and judging by the skidmarks covering both sides one or more vehicles did some serious donuts on this thing.

They, uh, do hope to keep existing as an entity, right?

Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:33 (one month ago) link

I'm not so sure. Timely delivery has been better recently, but I've also gotten two packages of CDs lately that would have been absolutely destroyed had the sender not packed them very carefully.

My son got a card from his grandparents that looked like it had been rolled over fourteen times by a forklift and was nearly ripped in half. Surprisingly the $5 bill was still inside.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:35 (one month ago) link

😬

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:35 (one month ago) link

skidmarks covering both sides

someone wiped their ass with yer box?

making splashes at Dan Flashes (Neanderthal), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:40 (one month ago) link

I've had a couple of packages from Japan (to MN) get stuck at the International Service Center in Chicago. This site is apparently a bit of a black hole right now. One has been waiting there a week, which based on what I read elsewhere could end up being months. It made it most of the way surprisingly quickly (two days!) and now it's just sitting there.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:47 (one month ago) link

Yeah, I've not had anything international shipped to me lately, but I've heard that the ISC in Chicago is a horrific for being a black hole for months on end. I hope yours doesn't end up sitting there too long.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:48 (one month ago) link

FWIW, there's been a significant improvement in mail delivery here lately. Thank you, USPS, I take it all back.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:52 (one month ago) link

Yeah, Chicago customs has held up some international packages (via DHL) - they never get scanned out, they just sit there for 2-3 weeks then show up at my door one day.

They, uh, do hope to keep existing as an entity, right?

You should demand to speak to the Post Office's manager.

Joe Bombin (milo z), Thursday, 29 July 2021 21:57 (one month ago) link

I had a package sent to me July 17 from Chicago, and it's taken the following route:

Chicago -> Des Moines -> Jersey City -> Memphis, TN -> Jersey City

I'm hoping to have it by the weekend.

but also fuck you (unperson), Thursday, 29 July 2021 23:10 (one month ago) link

Oh damn. I just ordered something off of discogs and it turns out the seller was from Chicago. I guess that explains why it's been sitting in limbo for 4 days.

peace, man, Friday, 30 July 2021 10:47 (one month ago) link

Re: Chicago, orders from Dusty Groove to me on the East Coast do okay?

Bo Burzum (Boring, Maryland), Friday, 30 July 2021 14:36 (one month ago) link

On the "salvageable" side, no mail disruptions in Wisconsin as far as I can see. USPS just keeps chugging along doing the things I need it to do.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 30 July 2021 14:38 (one month ago) link

xpost If they don't hit the Chicago black hole distribution center, they might be okay. And even then they're sometimes fine, but I did have a package sit there for about a month and a half once.

Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Friday, 30 July 2021 14:40 (one month ago) link

yesterday a parcel sent from alabama in jan arrived at my flat in east london (UK), six months almost to the day

given up as fully lost months ago: enquires in april to postal services on both sides of the atlantic got nowhere (i mean ppl were friendly and helpful but said "we have no idea where it's got to") (tbf adding "that's doesn't mean there's no hope")

so that was a nice surprise

mark s, Friday, 30 July 2021 14:47 (one month ago) link

I had an issue last week (well, I guess I still have an issue) that was like a three-way fuck-up, of which I was one of the guilty parties. I should've been more vigilant about okaying their update, but eBay 'helpfully' 'corrected' my address on two packages such that they were delivered to a similar street address the next town over. Except that my address has an apartment number and this other address is just a house. I contacted that town's post office to see if they could maybe retrieve these things but they seemed disinterested at best. So I assume they're just gone forever.

I'll take the brunt of the blame on this one. But it's still frustrating that they are (or were) somewhere a couple miles away and are apparently irretrievable.

Marty J. Bilge (Old Lunch), Friday, 30 July 2021 14:54 (one month ago) link

Ebay did that to me 20 years ago, so I wrote a letter to the address begging them to send me my stuff and included some cash for postage, and they actually sent me my stuff!

Dan I., Friday, 30 July 2021 23:05 (one month ago) link

iirc it was a massive Soviet-style "great coat" that I never wore once and gave to goodwill a decade later

Dan I., Friday, 30 July 2021 23:06 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

I'm wondering if COVID is hitting again or what, but we're back to mail delivery maybe twice a week, if we're lucky. Got mail last week Tuesday, then again today, nothing in between at all.

a superficial sheeb of intelligence (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 13 September 2021 21:06 (one week ago) link

I took advantage of the erratic mail delivery by painting my front steps.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 13 September 2021 21:23 (one week ago) link

I’m not in Chicago but just when I thought things were returning to normal I have an important first class mail piece MIA that was mailed just 50 miles away from me. In the past there really wasn’t a thing as “lost in the mail” but now…

Derek and Clive Get the Horn Street (Boring, Maryland), Monday, 13 September 2021 22:42 (one week ago) link

Oh damn. I just ordered something off of discogs and it turns out the seller was from Chicago. I guess that explains why it's been sitting in limbo for 4 days.

― peace, man, Friday, July 30, 2021 6:47 AM (one month ago) bookmarkflaglink

This took over two weeks to arrive. Around the same time, it took an equal length to receive a package from Greece.

peace, man, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 11:03 (six days ago) link

I’ve recently sent things via media mail from upstate NY to Maine, and they arrived the next day — would normally take 2-3 days at least. A friend wondered if deliberate slowdowns only happen with first class mail, figuring not enough people use media mail so why bother slowing that down?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 11:37 (six days ago) link

yeah i sell a book on ebay about 1x/month and routinely get things across the country in 2 days

certified juice therapist (harbl), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 11:48 (six days ago) link

^ ^ ^ This is demonstrably true, from my experience using media mail to send out publications and such. Everything I send first class takes a week or two, and media mail takes three days max, even when going to places across the country. It doesn't make much sense, in some way, but my main use of the USPS is sending publications, so I'm okay with it on my end.

At the same time, I ordered a t-shirt three weeks ago from an acquaintance, and it hasn't arrived yet. I'm out twenty bucks, so not a huge deal, but I also don't want to ask him to send another because a) he can't as it was a limited edition shirt, and b) his dad just passed away.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Tuesday, 14 September 2021 18:00 (six days ago) link

my last book was just delivered in michigan 46 hours after i mailed it from MD! if anything it's improved. i thought media mail was supposed to be slow. it's weird.

certified juice therapist (harbl), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 17:30 (five days ago) link

That's very weird. I currently mail CDs first class with a tracking number, because I can print the shipping labels at home; if I want to use media mail, I have to get in line. But if the time difference is that substantial, I may have to start using media mail.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:21 (five days ago) link

i have printed media mail labels from ebay but the issue with that is you have to rely on USPS to actually pick up from the blue boxes every day, which they don't always do now. i just try to get to the p.o. around 10 am when there's no line.

certified juice therapist (harbl), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:34 (five days ago) link

harbl, if you already have the labels printed and postage is paid for, you should be able to just run up to a window and give them the mail. that's what i do.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:43 (five days ago) link

I currently mail CDs first class with a tracking number,

Media mail has tracking. All of the records I sent in the last couple of years had tracking numbers on the receipt.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:50 (five days ago) link

xp i know but i don't actually have a printer at home, i used to steal office resources to do it when i had an office

certified juice therapist (harbl), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 18:57 (five days ago) link

Oh! I see. Yeah, I need a printer for work and I've always done a fair amount of working from home (teacher, etc), but since the pandemic started, I've been putting my home printer through some serious jobs lol.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 19:24 (five days ago) link

i bought a $100 brother laser printer in february 2020 when i felt ill winds blowing and it has been a lifesaver for discogs shipping.

in my neighborhood in queens the USPS "schedule a pickup" feature works near-flawlessly and i haven't been to the post office in a year and a half, i think people don't bother trying but it's super effective (ime)!

adam, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 20:05 (five days ago) link

Media mail has tracking. All of the records I sent in the last couple of years had tracking numbers on the receipt.

Yeah, but I can't select media mail as an option from my usps.com business account, only first class or Priority. And I don't have time to stand in line. I print the labels and package everything at home and just run inside, drop all the envelopes down the chute, and go.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 20:27 (five days ago) link

I...would strongly suggest changing to an Endicia account. It's what everyone I know who does a lot of mailing of books and records uses. And you can do media mail on it.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 21:50 (five days ago) link

Thanks for the tip; I'll check it out!

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 22:17 (five days ago) link

Of course! One of my dearest friends is an antiquarian book and rare record dealer, so he's filled me in on his processes.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Wednesday, 15 September 2021 22:18 (five days ago) link


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