Stamp Community Family of Web Sites
Thousands of stamps, consistently graded, competitively priced and hundreds of in-depth blog posts to read
Stamp Community Forum
 
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

Welcome Guest! Need help? Got a question? Inherit some stamps?
Our stamp forum is completely free! Register Now!

USPS Wants To Eliminate First Class Mail

Previous Page
 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.
Author Previous TopicReplies: 26 / Views: 1,111Next Topic
Page: of 2
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1525 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   4:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
What would be an acceptable amount to lose?

The better question is, how much is the public willing to pay for the services and facilities that the USPS provides. For any other government institution, like the interstate highways, VA hospitals, or national parks, no one asks what they are losing, the question is are we comfortable with the cost of what we are getting. So what sets the USPS apart? It must be the fact that Congress allows it to have competition from other delivery services. But Orange County, CA and other areas have toll roads, yet while we allow them to compete for customers with "freeways," we never ask how much those freeways are losing.

Don is probably right that USPS rates need to dramatically increase, not just for first-class mail but for bulk mail also. It's certainly possible for USPS to operate on a break-even basis. The US Patent & Trademark Office is 100% user fee-funded; every year its Congressional appropriation is set equal to the amount it collects in user fees. Some of these fees are quite high, such as $20,000 to start certain kinds of adjudicated cases. Primarily corporate America appears happy to pay those fees and in part, subsidize individual inventors, many of whom will still pay at least $2,000 in fees to get a patent. If the USPTO has a shortfall then it has to reduce services or defer hiring. Its patent examiners are represented by a union.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
7108 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   4:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would add that eliminating the requirement that the USPS pre-fund retiree health benefits is not the magic bullet answer since the USPS has not paid into the retiree health fund since 2012, yet it has still lost billions of dollars every year since then while also accumulating $69 billion in unfunded health and pension liabilities.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Valued Member
United States
21 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   6:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ckildegaard to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'd argue the postal service is more essential now than it's been in a long time given the sheer amount of online shopping happening because of the pandemic. Aside from that, it is relied upon by many for delivery of medications and medical equipment, is used for voting to some degree in many if not all states (and again this was particularly necessary last year due to the pandemic), and is often a secure means of sending sensitive information (for example, health insurance companies use it to send plan information to members, lawyers and counselors use it to send information or invoices to clients). It's also utilized by people with less/no access to the internet (either due to a lack of skill or literally having no connection). So, yes, I'd argue it's clearly essential. Not only that, but it should NOT be a for-profit enterprise, as that could create incentives contrary to the public good.

If indeed the USPS would be financially stable without the congressional prefunding mandate (which is my understanding), I see no reason not to drop that mandate and let it simply do its job delivering the mail. ***No Politics***
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
7108 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   6:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
United States
503 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   7:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
T.A.N.S.T.A.A.F.L. - There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Now, let's develop a plan to keep the mail flowing and working.

Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Moderator
Learn More...
9902 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   7:47 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (which was the legislation that requires the USPS to pre-fund retiree health benefits) costs $5 billion per year. This means since 2006 it has accounted for $70 billion of the current $160 billion debt. Much more is needed to come close to breaking even.

I am unsure why the discussion turned to the Postal Service being 'essential'. Other than the incorrect title of the thread, I think the discussion is about the USPS evolving to meet communications technology and current demands. This has nothing to do with nostalgia; the Railroad Post Office (RPO) was a great piece of US postal history but that does not mean that we should still be supporting RPOs today. When the Highway Post Office began to supersede the RPOs many pushed back using the 'essential' argument (I think many of these folks were those who had financial stakes in RRs). They in turn applied pressure to Washington. Government officials bowed to the pressure and made sure that no Highway Post Office route could be started if it competed with an existing RPO. And history shows that artificially delaying the advancement of technology was a waste of time and money.

The same thing happened during the 2007 downsizing move to close small post offices that averaged less than 5 people per day coming in the door. Instead of doing the right thing and closing them, they again succumbed to pressure and wastefully allowed them to stay open with greatly reduced hours. Maintaining a building that is open only 2 hours per day; no one would argue that this was the financially responsible decision. By placing some USPS services in existing retail stores the impact could be greatly reduced for postal patrons but the union did not support that kind of solution.

These kinds of bad business decisions do not happen in a free market situation, if a company made the same series of bad decisions they would not be here today. In my opinion the USPS does not get a pass in making business decisions. The constant and continuous evolution of communication technology is driving the replacement of First-Class mail (by email). Instead of making a poor (and costly) decision to reduce service by delaying First-Class mail (as outlined in the original posters link), the financially responsible decision is to instead move to downsizing the last mile service. This effectively has the same impact on delivery time but also saves billions in costs.

"U.S. POSTAL SERVICE - Congressional Action Is Essential to Enable a Sustainable Business Model" by the GAO.
https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/706727.pdf

Quote:
Regarding USPS, reassessing its business model should start with the level of required postal services. For example, delivery is USPS's most costly operation; USPS officials estimate annual savings of $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion if delivery of mail were reduced to 5 days rather than 6 days per week.


This in conjunction with increasing the cost of mail services would go towards operating in a financially responsible way.
Don
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
United States
2756 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   9:16 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don,

I would be perfectly happy with going from 6 to 5 days last mile service or even every other day 3 day a week service, which would save a ton of money and be good for the environment. This was shot down when it first surfaced in the recent past, but it makes a lot of sense.

And you are right the EV's are not emission free - just emission free at the point of use. The question is whether the generation (which of course depends on whether it is coal, natural gas, nuclear or various renewable), distribution and conversion efficiency of electricity in an electric motor is better than the drilling, refining, distribution and burning of gas in a conventional engine? I assume such a cradle to grave analysis has been done and that heading to EV's is the right direction, but I do not know for sure. The public is still in love with inefficient SUV's, so good luck getting them to do the right thing.

As for a large increase in prices, while I would not mind at all (and neither would the environment) if junk mail volume were to fall, every time they announce a small increase there are major mail industry organizations that scream bloody murder with attendant lobbying and lawsuits.

Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
7108 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   9:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The question is whether the generation (which of course depends on whether it is coal, natural gas, nuclear or various renewable), distribution and conversion efficiency of electricity in an electric motor is better than the drilling, refining, distribution and burning of gas in a conventional engine?


And the answer depends upon where you are charging that EV. If you are charging that EV in Minnesota the coal fired plant emissions required to charge would be three times what they are in California. Countries have the same issue. Sweden is very "clean" when it comes to generating electricity. India is five times "dirtier" than Sweden. That is one giant problem with attempting to set standards for EV's.

I am a big fan of nuclear energy but it is not in favor by the Green proponents and I do not believe it will ever be widely accepted as primary. Removing Nuclear energy from the equation leaves in the extraction and refining components.

Then you have some nonsensical approaches such as killing pipeline projects and replacing that delivery method with transport by diesel powered trucks and railways. Makes no sense. That oil is still being transported. It is not going to just sit where it is.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Moderator
Learn More...
9902 Posts
Posted 02/14/2021   9:59 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/...nt-melt-down
This seems to me to be a good solution because of its ability to 'load follow'. The quick ability of leveling a local power grid is in my mind paramount in making solar and wind feasible.

Interstate taxation of power (taxing the transfer of power through the grid from state to state) greatly burdens wind and solar power solutions. Battery technology simply has not advanced enough and for wind and solar to be feasible so they have to move power around on the national grid. Interstate commerce taxation puts an additional burden on wind and solar power that will push power and heating bills out-of-reach for many folks.
Don
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Valued Member
Australia
102 Posts
Posted 02/15/2021   06:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add melbourne_yankee to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
rogdcam,

I am in Australia and I put solar panels on my house some 11 years ago. Back then they were quite expensive and the great state of Victoria 'allowed' the utilities here to charge us an extra 10% for electricity for the privilege of doing so.

They also forced us to pay to install a smart meter (A$300) and put us on a time of use electricity cost schedule.

As early adopters we were paid a much higher price for excess electricity we generated and are guaranteed that price until 2024.

They finally changed the 10% extra rule which took a number of years and the time of use is no longer required and in fact not offered by many utilities. We are fortunate that we were grandfathered and now can continue to get cheap off peak electricity prices. If we change utilities that would most likely end and that off peak electricity price would be 75 - 100% more at the current flat rates.

Now for those of you in the USA you will be surprised that us peoples here in Oz benefit from really, really and I mean really cheap solar systems. You can pay as little as A$3000 or so for a 6 kW system installed with all the government rebates.

And putting up a system has no effect on real estate property taxes here either.

Of course us early adopters here in Victoria are not allowed to get that state subsidy of some A$2000 or so............

So in three years if I am still around I will fork out whatever the cost is for at least a 6 kW system as we will lose the high feed in tariff for excess electricity.

We will need that size system as in winter generation amounts fall like a rock with the weak sun and poor, cloudy winter weather.

Electricity prices vary quite a bit by area and state here in Oz and the current peak rate for us is something around 30 cents. But even worse is the daily supply charge which is around $1.20 per day.

Both of those charges have gone up around 100% in the past ten years or so.

That is why when people buy a house here one of the first things they do is put solar panels on the roof. Even with the current low price paid for excess generated electricity, panels are a nobrainer here given the low cost.

When I put my panels up 11 years ago I was the only one in within three streets of where I live that had panels. I also put up a solar hot water system as well. (We pay more for natural gas than people in Japan and about 6 times what you people in the USA pay!!!!)

There are more houses with panels around me, but in some streets in the suburb it seems that almost every house has them.
Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Valued Member
348 Posts
Posted 02/24/2021   5:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Torin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent analysis of the issue on this thread. From an economic perspective, I agree with Don that First Class rates need to double to financially sustain the USPS as well as other classes of mail service.

For people who pay bills online and use first class mail only to mail greeting cards, are they willing to pay $1.10 to mail a birthday or holiday card?

I feel sorry for people who have a plethora of low denomination stamps with the future of rate increases.

Send note to Staff  Go to Top of Page
Page: of 2 Previous TopicReplies: 26 / Views: 1,111Next Topic  
Previous Page
 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.


Go to Top of Page
Disclaimer: While a tremendous amount of effort goes into ensuring the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Stamp Community assumes no liability for errors. Copyright 2005 - 2021 Stamp Community Family - All rights reserved worldwide. Use of any images or content on this website without prior written permission of Stamp Community or the original lender is strictly prohibited.
Privacy Policy / Terms of Use    Advertise Here
Stamp Community Forum © 2007 - 2021 Stamp Community Forums
It took 0.2 seconds to lick this stamp. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.05