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Cash-Strapped Postal Service 'In Peril' Without Intervention From Congress: Watchdog

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Posted 05/07/2020   10:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ekbustad to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As I posted on another philatelic BBS:

I have long thought that the USPS should be able to cut letter mail delivery to 3 days a week. There hasn't been enough letter mail to require the current 6 days a week delivery schedule for years. Some areas, amounting to about half the addresses (or half the letter mail volume) would get delivery one day, the other half the next.

Mailers who plan on their advertisements being delivered on a specific day of the week would need to adjust, but I can't see that as being all that difficult.
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Posted 05/09/2020   02:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Torin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
U.S. Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 gives Congress the power and the responsibility: "To establish Post Offices and post Roads."

Does this mean there must be a USPS? I am still concerned about the USPS going bankrupt or being privatized and stamps becoming valueless, since the private company would have their own stamps.
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Posted 05/09/2020   02:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Walkman82 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The US Constitution "empowers" Congress "To establish Post Offices and post roads." It does not require the US to do anything when it comes to the postal realm. Congress, not the Constitution, created the Postal Service and Congress can change it or eliminate it if they desire.

I personally do not believe that the USPS will go bankrupt as the government cannot allow it to happen.

I believe that privatization of the delivery of mail would be a good thing. There are plenty of private companies with competency in this area who can more quickly innovate and overcome the hurdles that the government bureaucracy has created. They could also do it cheaper as they would not have the restrictions that the USPS operates under.

I believe that the privatization of post offices could also be a good thing. There are no mysteries or secrets to running a post office. There are also many private companies who could do this better and cheaper.

Stamps are already produced by private companies, so I don't believe that this will change. Stamps, as accountable paper, are the same as money. If private companies run post offices under contract for the government, it only makes sense that they will also be held accountable for using the stamps of the United States and not for each company that provides the service. Banks don't get to use their own currency and neither should privately run post offices.

Just my 2.
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Posted 05/09/2020   06:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If privatized, I do not think there is a guarantee of better, more reliable, or lower cost delivery to all areas of the country. It has not worked well in some other public service areas.

The Amazon's doing delivery will drive packages but not get that tax bill from the county or state to me.

I would rather see giving the USPS the flexibility to make business changes first but Congress and others have opposed it directly and passively including to allow it to raise rates and remove the pre-payment which no private alternative would do.



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Al
Edited by angore - 05/09/2020 11:29 am
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Posted 05/09/2020   1:18 pm  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I believe that privatization of the delivery of mail would be a good thing.


Not sure where you live, but most folks in rural areas would disagree. Private companies wouldn't necessarily have a mandate to deliver to every address, certainly not at the same rate.

What really needs to happen is just to free USPS from political meddling. Keep them as part of the gov't, but allow them to set rates and services as they see necessary without having to get them approved by a different body subject to the whims of other interests. They are capable of making the right decisions needed to right the ship but they are hamstrung by too many fingers in the pot.
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Posted 05/09/2020   2:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Walkman82 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi TheArtfulHinger,

I live in a suburb of a major metropolitan area, but have lived in rural areas (Nebraska and Texas). The mandate would come from a contractual agreement to deliver to every address.

While I agree that the USPS shouldn't be used as a political football, it is easier said than done. I believe the only way to keep congress and politicians from meddling is to remove it completely from their purview. While the Constitution empowers them to create post offices and post roads, it does not say that they belong to them.

If the USPS remains a governmental institution, it should be a normalized part of the Executive branch and be run like every other federal department-level agency, that is to say without congressional interference but with oversight. Even that probably would not stop the abuse of the postal system which is why I advocate outsourcing the delivery of mail and possibly running post offices.

When I address private mail delivery, I'm not just thinking of UPS and FedEx. I'm also thinking of county-level small businesses to deliver rural mail and messenger-type delivery in major cities. I'm certain that even I could run an efficient delivery business for much less than USPS pays for employees, vehicles, and infrastructure while still turning a profit. This would not be difficult to accomplish. The Department of Defense (DoD) has tens of thousands of contractors and sub-contractors who do everything from build aircraft to provide janitorial services.

If the USPS were to outsource post offices, it could sell off the real estate that current post offices use.

"The Postal Service values its properties at their purchase price, rather than their fair market value. The total purchase price value comes to about $27 billion, but since many of these buildings were bought decades ago, their fair market value is presumably much, much higher." Washington Post, August 18, 2011.

IMHO, I believe that it's way past the time for changes in our postal system and that those changes should be revolutionary.
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Posted 05/17/2020   04:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Torin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Critics contend the main source of USPS revenue woes is due to package rates, specifically those paid by large e-commerce websites.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/busi...ckage-rates/

Is it likely that in a USPS "bailout" or reform package that package rate contracts for e-commerce companies will increase significantly, but that package rates for consumers will only increase modestly and Forever stamp rates might be under 5c per year?
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Posted 05/17/2020   08:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Morning Torin and all,

Yep, as soon as the USPS issues a sent of stamps similar to the frogs (bud -wise-err?) with pigs on them. Then once the airlines get back to normal hauling the mail it might happen - when pigs fly.

As my grandfather taught me, "you may not always be able to make things better; but, you usually can make things worse." This especially holds true with respect to Congressional actions.
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Posted 05/17/2020   09:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming couple of months. The USPS will not be allowed to stop functioning. This is all political gamesmanship.
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Posted 05/17/2020   10:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I question the GAO's focus on "financial solvency" and the USPS "business model". I agree that the retirement prefunding mandate has been a disaster and the main reason why the books are constantly in the red. A Democrat led House is exceedingly unlikely to remove that pro-labor measure. But beyond that, why do we care if USPS (and Amtrak) make a profit? They are elements of Federal public infrastructure like the interstate highway system, coastal waters and major rivers. We don't ask if Interstate 40 makes a profit, we just fund what is needed to maintain it, because of the broad economic and social benefit of having the asset available.
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Posted 05/17/2020   11:04 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am an old fart so not having letter mail/USPS seems strange to me, but this is not the case for those <40 years old. They are 'greener' than myself and I am waiting to see a 'snail mail is going to increase the ocean level by 2 inches within the next X years' story any time now. But from what I have read, the average letter has a carbon footprint of about 29 grams of CO2 vs. a typically email which has a carbon footprint of only about 4 grams of CO2.

While the current generation of politicians will probably cling to the USPS I question if the next generation of representatives will be the same.
Don
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Posted 05/19/2020   03:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Torin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Re-reading articles and trying to get past the political angle of this issue, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 limits price increases for market dominant products to no more than the rate of inflation. Hence, it would appear that Forever stamp prices will be very slow if inflation remains low and perhaps no more than a 10 cent increase over the next 10 years. is that a fair prediction?

For competitive products such as Priority Mail, would quadrupling the package rates for large e-commerce sites, make the package rates they pay equal to what "Joe Consumer" currently pays at the post office? If so, it would appear e-commerce sites are receiving an amazing discount and I think they should pay close to the rates "Joe Consumer" pays. Take Amazon for example. When people see a headline of Quadrupling what Amazon Pays for Packages, consumers assume their Amazon Prime membership will double in price to offset this cost or the free shipping threshold will double for non-Prime members.

It seems like the political banter is more about addressing what e-commerce sites pay for package rates, vs "Joe Consumer."

I can't see Congress doubling Priority Mail rates that "Joe Consumer" pays, especially in these recessionary times in order to prevent the USPS from becoming insolvent. Do you agree?

Since a lot of this issue is probably political gamesmanship, and most of Congress us up for re-election in November, I think Congresspeople will figure out a bailout that doesn't affect the rates "Joe Consumer" pays. It's too bad the USPS has to be politicized.

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Posted 07/10/2020   01:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Torin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Reader's Digest has an article on USPS woes. In the last section of the article, someone speculates that the government would be forced to redeem stamps at face value because they are legal tender, should they cease to operate. Is it true that stamps are legal tender?

https://www.rd.com/article/what-if-...vering-mail/
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Posted 07/10/2020   06:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I did see a report that the USPS should have cash until next year. Per the article, the prior dire projection was based upon assumptions on impact COVID19 that did not come true.
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Al
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