Why You Should Be OUTRAGED By What Is Being Done to Our Postal Service
Like so many other "crises" imposed on us lately, there is a lot to the Post Office pivatization story that you are not being told.
You are probably hearing that the Post Office is "in crisis" and is cutting back Saturday delivery, laying people off, closing offices, etc. Like so many other "crises" imposed on us lately, there is a lot to the story that you are not hearing from the "mainstream" media. (Please click that link.) The story of the intentional destruction of the U.S. Postal Service is one more piece of the story of crisis-after-crisis, all manufactured to advance the strategic dismantling of our government and handing over the pieces to billionaires.
Here are a few things you need to know about the Postal Service "crisis":
The Postal Service is the second largest employer in the United States after Walmart. But unlike Walmart, which gets away with paying so little that employees qualify for government assistance, the Postal Services is unionized, pays reasonable wages and benefits and receives no government subsidies. (Good for them!)
Republicans have been pushing schemes to privatize the Postal Service since at least 1996. In 2006 Republicans in the Congress pushed through a requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund 75 years of retiree costs. The Postal Service has to pay now for employees who are not even born yet.No other government agency -- and certainly no company -- has to do this.
Unlike other government agencies (like the military) since 1970 the Postal Service is required to break even. Once more: the Department of Defense is not required to break even.
While required to break even the Postal Service has to deliver mail to areas that are unprofitable for private companies to operate in. A letter sent from a small town in Alaska is picked up and transported across the country to a farm in Maine for 46 cents. While the internet and recession have eaten into some of the Postal Services letter business, magazines, books, newsletters, prescriptions, advertising, DVD services like Netflix and many other services still depend on the Postal Service for delivery. And many people for one reason or another still send letters. In a democracy these people are supposed to count, too.
But along with require the Postal Service to break even, Congress has restricted the Service's ability to raise rates, enter new lines of business or take other steps to help it raise revenue. In fact, while detractors complain that the Postal Service is antiquated, inefficient and burdened by bureaucracy the rules blocking the Postal Service from entering new lines of business do so because the Postal Service would have advantages over private companies.
For example, Republicans in Congress forced the Postal Service to remove public-use copiers from Post Offices and even blocked the Postal Service from setting up a secure online system that allowed Americans to make monthly bill payments.
The Postal Service is a public service for We, the People, not a business. The Service is hamstrung by people who pretend it is supposed to compete and then won't let it. They won't help with taxpayer dollars and say it has to compete in the marketplace (again: the Department of Defense is not required to break even.) Then they give it rules that no private company could survive. Then when it gets into trouble, say that government doesn't work, start laying people off, selling off the public assets, and saying it has to be "privatized" (so all the gains will go to a few already-wealthy people instead of to the public).
Manufacturing A Crisis
So Republicans have hamstrung the Postal Service, forcing it into "crisis" and are now "solving" the crisis by working towards dismantling and privatizing it. Here is how it works:
Require the Postal Service to "break even." (Again: the Department of Defense is not required to break even.
Require them to serve all areas of the country. (Which is a service to democracy and should continue.)
Keep them from raising or lowering rates as needed.
Keep them from using their competitive advantages to compete with private businesses.
Require them to pre-fund 75 years of health benefits.
When the Postal Service has the inevitable resulting financial "crisis" complain about government and unions and demand their buildings be sold, employees laid off and the service be dismantled and given to private companies.
If you don't see the pattern yet, try this:
Double military spending,
Obstruct all efforts to fix things,
Wait a few years, then scream loudly about a "deficit crisis" and say we have to severely cut back on government -- the things we do to make our lives better.
This is not the way an informed democracy is supposed to operate.
Part Of Bigger Assault On Government
The postal service "crisis" is just one more instance of the ongoing pattern of government by lies, hostage-taking and manufactured crises. This is one more assault on a government service.
The "fiscal cliff" was a manufactured crisis, engineered to force cutbacks in the things We, the People do to make our lives better. The "debt ceiling" was a manufactured crisis, engineered to force cutbacks in the things We, the People do to make our lives better. The 2010 "tax deal" was a manufactured crisis, engineered to force cutbacks in the things We, the People do to make our lives better. Etc., etc., on and on...
And the Postal Service "crisis" is one more manufactured crisis.
Not Governing, But Destroying Government
Republicans don't talk about governing, they talk about killing government, and when they get power they don't govern, they destroy government. They appoint industry lobbyists to agencies that are supposed to oversee their own industries -- and they don't oversee their industries. They appoint polluters to the agencies that are supposed to protect us from pollution -- and they let the companies pollute. And they appoint people who have called for getting government out of areas like education, medical care, etc. to head up and dismantle those departments for the benefit of the companies they came from.
This is not the way our government is supposed to operate. This does not serve We, the People and does not help us make our lives better.
The Push To Privatize Public Assets
Privatization means dismantling government and public assets and turning them over to private companies. It involves "contracting out" or even ending the services that were performed by We, the People (government) to make our lives better. Instead these services are operated for profit, which the citizens (and certainly not the employees) share none of the gains.
To be clear about this: contracting out government services "saves money" by laying off people who have good wages with benefits, and rehiring them at minimum wage with no benefits, while removing the accountability that goes along with a government service. For example, when a city "contracts out" its garbage collection what happens is all the city employees who had government jobs doing this work are laid off. The private company that contracts to do the service "saves money" by hiring employees at a much lower wage with no benefits, doesn't have to meet the standards of government agencies, doesn't have to be transparent, doesn't have to use well-maintained equipment, etc. Obviously the city employees and the places they used to shop are worse off, but their lower wages mean everyone else's wages come under pressure, too. So the "money saved" comes at a great cost to the public.
This same process occurs in all instances of privatizing or "downsizing" government. The public receives less service, wages generally are lowered, but a few people make a bundle at the expense of the rest of us.
Cato Institute Push To Privatize The Postal Service
The Koch brothers' Cato Institute has been pushing to privatize the Postal Service (and the rest of government) for many years. (Note: Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO, FedEx Corporation was on the Board of Directors of Cato Institute. FedEx is also a funder of the
[quote] The Postal Service is the second largest employer in the United States after Walmart.
False. The Federal government is the largest employer in the U.S. The DOD alone has far more employees than Walmart.
Of course the DoD doesn't have a requirement to "break even." It doesn't generate revenue like the Post Office does.
The Koch brothers and their co-horts need to be burned alive. They are destroying this country. They didn't even have to have a conservative win the presidency, they're STILL doing things nationwide that will ruin the U.S. for decades.
Agree with R3. How would the DoD ever "break even"?
The Postal Service "pays so little"? Figures, please. My understanding is that the average counter-asshole makes 16-17 bucks an hour.
Perhaps if USPS had spent a little more on customer service training for these fuckers, more people would be willing to go to the post office.
The counter clerks in my area are quite courteous and helpful, R6, but then I live and work in the suburbs.
I do have to agree with you that clerks in more urban locations tend to be quite surly, with that "I dare you to ask me a question" look in their eyes.
They should also know a smattering of geography. It's fucking torture to send international through USPS
Top salary for a window clerk is now around $53,000. Letter carrier, $56,000. They should be paid by region. It costs more to live in The Big Apple than Bumfucke, Iowa.
The U.S. Postal Service is infested and has been ruined by a massive, greedy, corrupt union and a worthless (for the most part) workforce.
So yeah OP, they DO need to be fucking privatized because they've gorged themselves at the public trough for decades. And, what do we get for our tax dollars? We get eye-rolling, attitude wielding Tunaquicheia at the counter telling us to fill out another worthless piece of paper and go stand BACK at the end of the 100 person line.... She says this of course just before slapping her "Next Counter Please" up and walking away for her third break of the morning.
Dismantle them. Privatize, make them work for a profit and let them work for their livings just like we do.
R9, They know geography as well as any other American. It is not torture to send international. Occasionally, I do have to explain that. yes, that is where the postal code goes in European addresses, but the Post office is not nearly as bad as trying to send an international wire transfer from an average US consumer bank.
The decimation of the working class is not going to help the country in any way, r11. You're a tool.
I truly hope someone makes a documentary on this subject. I'm tired of hearing all the misinformation and misplaced blame for the "failing" USPS. The truth needs to come out in a big way.
[quote]Top salary for a window clerk is now around $53,000. Letter carrier, $56,000.
I'm okay with these salaries, it's around 25. an hour TOPS. It's a living wage.
Assholes, like r11, think that private corporations are the answer. One word; Walmart.
Not the answer.
Me too, R15. And those aren't starting salaries. Those salaries are for someone who has been there for many, many years.
The fact that even so-called "liberals" have not just sat back, but have actively cheered on the eviseration of the post office exposes the roots of why the American experiment will ultimately fail. Americans ultimately distrust government and collective action, even when it works and even when there is no wholly satisfactory private substitute. That's fine if we're talking about the production of widgets and pet rocks. It doesn't work so well for the delivery of say, mail or healthcare.
Haha, tax dollars? The USPS is mostly supported by its revenues; it gets very little federal funding. The workforce is also represented by multiple unions that do not necessarily cooperate with each other.
Yes, there are lazy employees. I've had one guy tell me that he's only paid to show up on time and that I don't have to do anything more than carry a tray back and forth all day. No, I don't pay any attention to him. Most of the career people I have met in my facility, although they may not be enthusiastic about the job (years of physical pain and mismanagement may have something to do with that), get their work done.
If you think you have problems now, you should be concerned that the USPS is increasingly relying on a "non-career" workforce with few, if any benefits and no job security. Having a revolving door of employees will likely hurt the USPS as a whole.
Its madness. They are being made to not just pre-fund pensions for people who have not been hired yet, they have to pre-fund pensions for people who have not even been born yet! How does something like that fit into the "small goverment" fetish Regressives have?
Could you imagine the freak out that would happen if a someone tried to make private businesses do this?
Sorry R20 But as soon as R11 says "gorged themselves at the public trough for decades" any point they have is instantly made invalid. The USPS is mostly self supporting. No one pays attention to people who lie.
R20, the only point r11 shows, is the one on her head.
Indeed. R11 is a simple-minded libertarian (is there any other kind?)
The post offices in my area have great employees. I live in a big metropolitan area, live in a suburb, work in the city. I'm a frequent shipper, since I have a mail order business. I ship all over and in 15 years I have only ever had to replace three orders. None were the fault of the USPS. Their service has been impeccable.
So I'm a big fan. The employees I deal with work their asses off. They perform a valuable and essential service, and they should be compensated with decent wages and benefits. It royally pisses me off that the GOP is trying to destroy the USPS for that very reason.
Is the USPS perfect? Maybe not, but compare the way it treats its workforce with the way Amazon treats its, if you read that thread, and ask yourself which model you prefer for the society you live in.
I wonder how R11 feels about private industries that have gorged at the public trough for decades? You know, like the airlines and the oil companies.
[quote]So yeah OP, they DO need to be fucking privatized because they've gorged themselves at the public trough for decades. And, what do we get for our tax dollars? We get eye-rolling, attitude wielding Tunaquicheia at the counter telling us to fill out another worthless piece of paper and go stand BACK at the end of the 100 person line.... She says this of course just before slapping her "Next Counter Please" up and walking away for her third break of the morning.
The USPS in its current form runs like a business, relies on postage for revenue and, for the most part, has not used taxpayer money since 1982.. Taxpayer money is only used in some cases to pay for mailing voter materials to disabled and overseas Americans.
The USPS is asking Congress to authorize access to an estimated $7 billion that they overpaid into the future retiree pension fund in previous years.
R22, R23 and R24 are the problem with society.
To them corporations are all "evil" and should be burned by the glorious government.
No, the postal service is most certainly NOT self sufficient. How many other corporations have a complete monopoly on a single service? How many other corporations so easily, sweepingly raise the rate of something we all must use at some point, all while being supported and defended by the government without any public hearing or recourse?
The USPS PLUNDERS their coffers with bloated pensions. Absolutely, mind-blowingly bloated. If you don't believe me, do the research. Most postal employees make out like bandits when they retire. Not retire after 30, 40 years, but after as little as 15 or 20.
How may other companies have employees protected from even verbal insults/threats with Federal laws of imprisonment? None of them. Nobody but the USPS.
People like the OP and many of the assholes posting here defending them are too dishonest to post links to videos of all those postal "retreats" or links showing the perks and benefits postal workers get or how their union uses money for political partisanship and thuggery.
When's the last time you had any recourse to complain about one of their nasty, insulting employees or about how you were mistreated at the post office? There's a reason why those counter people are so nasty and rude and why so many postal delivery people often throw away mail. Because there's no such thing as firing or discipline at the USPS, not unless the circumstances are both extreme and make the news.
Dismantle them. Fire most of the worthless workforce. Do it now and save the American postal system.
Outraged? Please I don't care. Short of mailing out Christmas cards, and I send out less of those every year, I don't use the post office. The only mail I receive is junk.
Let them stop delivery on Wednesday save more money. End result the USPS is a dying industry, think SCM typewriter, Post-Standard a newspaper that only delivers 3 days now.
Companies have to reinvent themselves or die.
But USPS is the most efficient business corporation the world has ever known. They don't have a problem "reinventing" themselves. They are being hamstrung by a Congress bent on their destruction.
[quote]How many other corporations have a complete monopoly on a single service?
Once someone writes something like that, how can we be expected to consider anything else they have to say? If you are so clueless that you never heard of UPS, or FedEx or DHL, then nothing you have to post is worth reading.
Exactly, r31, these people are the same fools that vote against their own interests.
R28, The Postal Service has a monopoly for a reason. As someone up thread posted, a for profit company is not going to give service to unprofitable markets (read rural areas). This is the same reason the NYC has one of the worst subway systems in the world. It was originally three for profit companies. Huge areas of the city had no service because they were considered unprofitable.
[quote]Outraged? Please I don't care. Short of mailing out Christmas cards, and I send out less of those every year, I don't use the post office. The only mail I receive is junk. Companies have to reinvent themselves or die.
It's not all about you. And as R30 pointed out, they don't NEED to reinvent themselves! Their business isn't broken, it's being sabotaged. That's the entire point of this thread. Glad you learned nothing.
R11, why is it that you think "the The U.S. Postal Service is infested and has been ruined by a massive, greedy, corrupt union...."
Unions are corrupt, huh? But billionaires who employ overseas workers for .07 cents an hour are saints, right?
Your bile is turning you skin yellow, princess.
R34 is obviously an eldergay who still pays his bills through the mail. He no doubt has at least half a dozen magazines delivered every month.
I bet he still writes checks at the grocery store.
Sorry Pops, just because R30 said it and you agree, well that doesn't make it so. The USPS is a dying company, the link from USPS makes it plenty clear for you, The U.S. Postal Service will experience profound declines in its volumes of mail in the next few years.
If they want to survive, they do need to reinvent themselves.
R37 I'm 32 years old and pay my bills online, thank you. That said, I use the USPS extensively for an online business I run and they're FANTASTIC.
R37 post in a nutshell:
Damn, they are using facts to make my point look foolish. What can I do? I know, I will call them names and make childish assumptions based on nothing but what I imagine in my head. Yea, that will increase my credibility. Then, for my big finish, I will make outrageous predictions about the future. And of course, I will never let facts get in the way of my argument. How can I fail?
Lets cut to the chase, both the USPS and the public school system are being consciously destroyed because they are examples of Socialism that work.
R40 You maybe on to something there.
R11 = stupid, elderly asshole.
I'm with R29.
Reinvent or die. They are definitely grasping at straws trying to rustle uo any kind of "new" ways to use mail that they can. Trying to create & connect partner alliances which are all the other dinosaurs out there: Printers, mailhouses, fulfillment centers etc.
Most small businesses I see cannot afford to Print & mail any more - way to expensive. They opt to go digital with their marketing efforts.
As someone who has relatives and friends who still work at the USPS, it is absolutely true that they are hamstrung by various factors such as their own bureaucracy, unions and Congress. The volume of mail has dropped greatly in the last ten years, but they haven't been able to do much to adjust to that new reality (or were afraid to make decisions like cutting mail service) so their inefficiencies put them in a deep, dark hole in the hundreds of millions (and more). There are plenty of people internally who were keeping things status quo so very little changed. The USPS, in some ways, is also one of its own greatest enemies.
How long before the 1% starts lobbying Congress to have ordinary workers put in chains so we won't try to runaway when our corporate overlords finally get what they've wanted all along: the return of AMERICAN SLAVERY.
I'm beginning to think that is the master plan.
R28, that is bull - postal employees are subject to the retirement systems that all career Feds are covered by (older Feds are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, newer ones by the Federal Employee Retirement System). Feds cannot retire with govt pensions until they have 30 years to their credit, and they must be at least 55 as well. Very few can or do retire permanently that early because their pensions are too small at that point.
Privatization IS THE ANSWER. Like the airlines, labor costs are killing any postal profits. They have been loosing money for years. FUCK THE US POSTAL SERVICE.
R49, anyone who writes "loosing" has no credibility.
Yes R49, lets all pay $10 to send something the USPS will send for $.46. You're an idiot, aren't you?
R51, I will do you one better.
Unlike for profit carriers, USPS will deliver on Saturdays without a fee (at least for the moment). They will deliver to a residence without a fee. They will deliver to all rural and suburban areas (both UPS and FedEx will not deliver to some areas. The item will be held at the nearest office for pickup). USPS will insure and ship most anything. Fedex has a long list of thing that cannot be shipped, including model trains. USPS in consistently cheaper for international mailing.
"the Postal Services is unionized, pays reasonable wages and benefits and receives no government subsidies. (Good for them!)"
I'm with the program on saving the post offices, but I have to object to this part of the link.
Of course the post office doesn't receive "government subsidies"
The post office, unlike Walmart, is the government.
"The USPS PLUNDERS their coffers with bloated pensions. Absolutely, mind-blowingly bloated. If you don't believe me, do the research. Most postal employees make out like bandits when they retire."
You are so full of shit it isn't even funny.
And I don't need to do the research. I know a few retired postal workers, all from letter carriers to clerks and supervisors. They get a decent amount, but nothing "mind-blowing" like your hysteria indicates. It's essentially the salary they were making every month. And some of them still have to depend on their wives income.
And each amount they get is well deserved. They are out there busting their asses off in every kind of weather.
Unions are trying to be destroyed in this country. They're doing it with the teachers union, and they're doing it with the postal union. Yes, there are problems, but nobody wants to fix it within the system. They want to do away with it entirely. People are so fucking stupid in terms of burying their heads in the sand. If it ain't reality TV, or something written on their smartphones in text, they can't be bothered.
And I don't give a shit if you call yourself a democrat, because if you support the dismantling of unions, you're not. You might as well suck some Freeper dick, because you are one.
Eat Palin's pussy out, and stop contributing to this thread.
Not the OP
R45 you DO realize that the USPS must get the approval of congress in order to make any changes to their operating policy, or even to add new services in the retail outlets, right?
It isn't their fault, once again Congress is the villain in this piece, as they have repeatedly denied requests over the years from the USPS to make changes in mail delivery days and other issues.
Really? I'm retiring from a Fortune 50 company at age 41 and do you know what I get for pension? Fuck all. I am living on what I saved from here on out. Getting the salary I made sounds pretty sweet to me.
R56, unless it is a typo, nobody has any sympathy for you if you are retiring at 41.
R46 R47 It's not like we haven't done it here before.
Once you reach 30 years and 55 years old or whatever the requirement is, you are eligible for half pay. At 41 years, you hit the maximum retirement payout (I'm not sure what the percentage is).
Anyone who retires with less than 30 years likely does so because they are unable to physically (or mentally) handle the job anymore, or the PO was their second career after the military, local law enforcement, etc.
There was recently a $15,000 buyout; employees who had 20 years in and were 50 years old were eligible.
Depending on your position, your body is definitely worn out once you hit a certain age. Many older people in my facility walk with a certain shuffle, some even walk around with canes. However, there's nothing they can do to force people out if they want to continue working.
Thank you R54, R55.
Automated Postal Centers will help cut down on need for window clerks. Where I live they're in the lobby with 24/7 access. You can't buy a Money Order from APCs yet, the clerk told me it's planned.
We should be OUTRAGED every time a Datalounger calls a woman a cunt.