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

they're hiring people for year-long contracts with no benefits or security

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Sunday, 3 October 2021 16:43 (three months ago) link

i know because i almost accepted a letter carrier job in 2020 and that was the reality of the situation

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Sunday, 3 October 2021 16:43 (three months ago) link

yes, and they have to work 60-80 hour weeks

sleeve, Sunday, 3 October 2021 16:56 (three months ago) link

Yeah, it's fucked. I don't blame the letter carriers for sometimes making mistakes, or even occasionally really fucking up (as one of ours has done pretty recently).

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Sunday, 3 October 2021 17:00 (three months ago) link

a friend of mine did it for maybe a year, like 2-3 years back. he quit after a day when they made him work in a state of total exhaustion, after he said he couldn't, and he clipped two vehicles with his truck.

sleeve, Sunday, 3 October 2021 17:17 (three months ago) link

My MiL was a letter carrier for 25 years in the Finger Lakes and walked in snow and ice several months of the year. I have mad respect for how difficult the job is.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Sunday, 3 October 2021 17:26 (three months ago) link

As of Friday, USPS asked customers (in a notice on its website) to "please refrain" from mailing items to Australia, New Zealand and 20 other countries, as they will no longer deliver to those destinations.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Sunday, 3 October 2021 18:42 (three months ago) link

i’m so fucking upset - i had christmas presents almost prepped to send next week because i knew with slowdown they would take forever

here’s the full list of affected destinations from USPS.com

https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/international/welcome.htm

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 3 October 2021 19:02 (three months ago) link

The last time I tried to mail something to family in Australia I want to say they were asking $70 to send a $10 book, so we'd pretty much just given up sending things, anyway.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 3 October 2021 19:05 (three months ago) link

i send stuff 4 or 5 times a year! all my family are there

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 3 October 2021 19:17 (three months ago) link

I started as a carrier last week, haven't been scared away yet haha

the adventures of pavlo and schrödis (geoffreyess), Sunday, 3 October 2021 21:01 (three months ago) link

When the f are they going to get rid of DeJoy?

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Sunday, 3 October 2021 21:10 (three months ago) link

if Biden or anybody in the White House could, he'd be gone. but the Board of Governors are the only ones who can and they're not unhappy w/ him cos they're also sons of bitches

Gardyloominati (Neanderthal), Sunday, 3 October 2021 21:26 (three months ago) link

true, but, as noted above, Biden etc could remove the pre-funding nonsense if they wanted

so I guess that's the next thing I yell at my Senators about

sleeve, Sunday, 3 October 2021 21:29 (three months ago) link

(I guess my point is, that would help even if Dejoy remained)

sleeve, Sunday, 3 October 2021 21:30 (three months ago) link

geoffreyess wow! what's it like?

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 3 October 2021 21:31 (three months ago) link

If the new service standards weren't cover for further crippling the Post Office, I think it would probably be a good thing to normalize packages taking longer to be shipped across this giant country. Have a special class of faster service for medicine (the opposite of media mail) but let general Priority take 7 business days to get from New York to California.

papal hotwife (milo z), Sunday, 3 October 2021 22:18 (three months ago) link

wow! what's it like?

all the walking and going into random buildings I've always wanted, but the staffing/overtime situation is uh quite something, so we'll see how I feel in a few weeks or months. everyone's incredibly nice.

the adventures of pavlo and schrödis (geoffreyess), Sunday, 3 October 2021 23:21 (three months ago) link

lol like an open-world game where all the doors work

what is the staffing/overtime situation

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 3 October 2021 23:54 (three months ago) link

Good luck, Geof!

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Monday, 4 October 2021 00:04 (three months ago) link

To be fair the Australian postal service is fucked right now because they have so many staff isolating for COVID reasons (who’d have thought people who move around the community and interact with thousands would be high risk)

I just had an express mail thing take three days from Portland to Sydney and sit there for a week. Regular price packages sit in Sydney for weeks.

Last Christmas DHL was quicker and cheaper sending from Australia using a Pack and Send shop. Doesn’t seem to be the case going the other way, though.

American Fear of Scampos (Ed), Monday, 4 October 2021 00:40 (three months ago) link

not at all :(

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 4 October 2021 01:15 (three months ago) link

OK, just giving it a glance I can see why this no mail to the Antipodes makes some degree of sense. First, it's supposedly temporary. Second, it's because New Zealand and Australia (to name two) have had next to no flights from the US since they locked everything down. Given the US mail often piggy backs on commercial flights, there just aren't any/many planes going in and out of those countries right now. Supposedly things are set to be back on track come November.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/consumers-fume-after-us-postal-service-suspends-australian-deliveries-20211001-p58wb8.html

Australia Post said it was affected by a global shortage of aircraft and reduced passenger flights.

“Postal operators around the world are experiencing limited international flight capacity,” a spokeswoman said.

“While Australia Post continues to accept all incoming international deliveries, the US Postal Service has temporarily suspended some outgoing parcel services to a number of countries, including Australia, due to air freight capacity issues.”

The anticipated reopening of international borders in November will likely ease the air freight capacity issues.

“More international passenger flights will add capacity to the freight moved across the border and presents opportunities for all industries, including postal services,” said Peter Liddell, a logistics expert and partner at professional services firm KPMG.

But he said the resumption of United States Postal Service deliveries would depend on which routes reopened.

The federal government invested more than $1 billion in the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, a scheme designed to keep Australia’s key international air-freight routes open during the pandemic.

The scheme was introduced last year, shortly after the pandemic hit, forcing the number of commercial passenger flights to drop more than 90 per cent. It prioritises the export of high-value perishable products and the import of medical supplies, equipment and other goods of national importance.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 October 2021 13:39 (three months ago) link

lol like an open-world game where all the doors work

yeah!

what is the staffing/overtime situation

similar to what's been mentioned above: ~60 hr weeks, limited days off, longer routes, not enough carriers / lots of turnover. hard to tell this early on how much of that is artificially created and how much isn't (e.g. # of addresses in my zip code has exploded recently). definitely looks like a hiring blitz locally, but I don't know what normal is.

Good luck, Geof!

thanks!

the adventures of pavlo and schrödis (geoffreyess), Monday, 4 October 2021 22:33 (three months ago) link

Yesterday was my birthday, and lo and behold, the package from the UK that I was very worried about arrived, alongside two other packages containing book orders. I was a very happy lad.

I'm a sovereign jazz citizen (the table is the table), Tuesday, 5 October 2021 20:01 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

I know I've often seemed to have better luck with the USPS than other posters in this thread, but I am feeling particularly positive about them today. 17 days ago, I accidentally dropped an envelope into the slot with no postage on it. I've been waiting ever since for it to pop up in my PO Box (the listed return address). Well, today I received an email from the company I sent it to, acknowledging receipt! Whether it showed up there postage due and they'll hit me with a surcharge for that, I can't say, but I'm fucking amazed that the USPS delivered it with no postage. (I will not be trying this trick again.)

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 30 November 2021 01:01 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

Not the post office, but wow:

Keep hearing of train burglaries in LA on the scanner so went to #LincolnHeights to see it all. And… there’s looted packages as far as the eye can see. Amazon packages, @UPS boxes, unused Covid tests, fishing lures, epi pens. Cargo containers left busted open on trains. @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/JvNF4UVy2K

— John Schreiber (@johnschreiber) January 13, 2022

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 14 January 2022 11:06 (one week ago) link

Damn.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Friday, 14 January 2022 11:44 (one week ago) link

wow

bad milk blood robot (sleeve), Friday, 14 January 2022 16:50 (one week ago) link

interesting follow-up https://www.lataco.com/union-pacific-theft-police-laid-off/

towards fungal computer (harbl), Saturday, 22 January 2022 15:44 (two days ago) link

who could have predicted!! it_is_a_mystery

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 22 January 2022 15:46 (two days ago) link

Re-fund the police?

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 22 January 2022 15:47 (two days ago) link

more like security guards josh in chicago

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 22 January 2022 15:51 (two days ago) link

I guess I was confused by the references to the railroad police force, Union Pacific Police, the Union Pacific Police department, and the picture of someone with "Police" on their police uniform. But ... not police? OK, re-fund the Union Pacific (not) police, then.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 22 January 2022 16:08 (two days ago) link

well, fun fact! railroad police *are* police with police powers in the state they are in, but they are paid to do so by the railroad on railroad property. and, by federal law, their state police powers transfer to other states as they move or are transferred between states.

towards fungal computer (harbl), Saturday, 22 January 2022 16:23 (two days ago) link

relocate the police

dark end of the st. maud (sic), Saturday, 22 January 2022 16:52 (two days ago) link

josh in chicago there's no hypocrisy or bad faith in, on the one hand, having serious problems with the whole concept of police departments as presently constituted on the other hand, rolling my damn eyes at railroads laying off the people whose job it was to guard their shit and then complaining that everyone is stealing their shit

the union pacific police department, as far as i know, is not called into domestic disputes to brandish their firearms, they do not accost young black men walking home from a friend's house and tell them to empty their pockets, etc etc etc you donut so spare me the easy zing

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 22 January 2022 17:05 (two days ago) link

just the laziest regressive sub-conan gag you could have made and ordinarily i wouldn't respond but i dunno sometimes i just don't feel like letting it slide!

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 22 January 2022 17:07 (two days ago) link

oh i completely missed the point of josh's post!

towards fungal computer (harbl), Saturday, 22 January 2022 17:11 (two days ago) link

Train robbery has also been around since forever. Railroads have had their own private 'police' forces, commonly known as 'railroad bulls' since forever, too, but big part of the job has always been to break the heads of anyone attempting to ride the rails for free.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 22 January 2022 19:44 (two days ago) link

let me Aimless that for you

Tracer Hand, Saturday, 22 January 2022 20:10 (two days ago) link

I do love you all

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Saturday, 22 January 2022 20:13 (two days ago) link

jeez, take it easy, everyone. if you can't make lazy sub-Conan (?) easy zings about train robberies, then what is ilx even for?

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 22 January 2022 20:36 (two days ago) link

copaganda working on JiC, Manchurian Candidating ILX: 🧵

THREAD. I noticed something fascinating: around the same time in recent days, each major corporate news source began talking about a new crime hysteria: a supposed crisis of theft from the railroad industry. But if you look deeper, something very scary is happening.

— Alec Karakatsanis (@equalityAlec) January 22, 2022

dark end of the st. maud (sic), Sunday, 23 January 2022 03:53 (yesterday) link

somehow this whole story ended up on the USPS thread, when its not even about mail theft (which btw is a federal crime)

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Sunday, 23 January 2022 04:20 (yesterday) link

good thread sic, thank you

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 23 January 2022 12:53 (yesterday) link

yes, thank you, abolish the police now plz

bad milk blood robot (sleeve), Sunday, 23 January 2022 16:11 (yesterday) link

like if the liberal media could maybe just approach anything other than absolutely baby-brained credulity when reporting cop shit

concentrating on Rationality (the book) (will), Sunday, 23 January 2022 16:31 (yesterday) link

they are just doing their job, upholding hegemony

Nedlene Grendel as Basenji Holmo (map), Sunday, 23 January 2022 17:28 (yesterday) link

Good thread, thanks sic.

Also Aimless is right, most railroad bulls are the same as any other numbskull cop. I've been chased by a few in my lifetime, and they suck.

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Sunday, 23 January 2022 18:51 (yesterday) link


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