Toledo Talk

Post Office lost 8.5 Billion last year

So the post office lost 8.5 billion dollars last year. Yes, that is with a "B" for billion. I read the article and while some of the blame goes to the huge payments made to retirees, how could anyone allow this to continue.
I don't care if you are republican, democrat or a tea cup, this needs immediate attention from our government in my opinion.
If the post office can't at least break even, and there is fedex, UPS, and DHL in business, aren't they missing something?

created by hockeyfan on Nov 12, 2010 at 07:34:30 pm     Other     Comments: 14

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HF - UPS and FexEx don't personally come to my house six days per week pick up my mail and deliver it to even the remote corners of the country for 46 cents.

Total different model and function.

posted by SensorG on Nov 12, 2010 at 08:39:24 pm     #  

It's a government service. It is supposed to cost money. The wars need to end, then we can start arguing over other questionable spending.

Should we make all roads toll roads so they pay for themselves? Start we charging 5k per year licensing fees for businesses instead of $125? Should we defund the public schools in this country to drop taxes 1 or 2 percent?

Without such luxuries we could definitely not be called the "greatest country in the world".

posted by brainswell on Nov 12, 2010 at 09:10:14 pm     #  

I'm sorry, but anything that loses money to that level needs changing.
I understand it's different than other delivery services, but is it really worth that kind of loss?
As far as it being a government service, the first thing that comes to mind is overpaid employees, too high retirement, and waste and abuse of system.
I'm all for some services costing money and not making money, but 8.5 billion? I'd really like to see the books and where the money goes.
Luxury? What about the post office is a luxury? The employees in the post offices are horrible customer service reps and to ship something similar through the post office is higher than independant.
Maybe we don't need mail delivered 6 days a week. With the internet and online banking, it's time to look at other options.

posted by hockeyfan on Nov 12, 2010 at 09:28:28 pm     #  

I thought I heard a while back that the U.S. Postal Service was it's own profit center and has never received money from taxes, but must exist within it's own budget. I've always wondered why they don't just deliver mail every other day. Maybe they should charge more for bulk mailing. I personally think their service has outlived it's usefulness. If I have something important to have delivered, I use a courier service or FedEx or UPS. As long as my tax dollars aren't being spent on this, I don't care what they charge. Of course my wife doesn't agree with me, she just loves the mail.

posted by AmericanPie on Nov 12, 2010 at 09:30:40 pm     #  

Im thinking they should cut back days.

posted by OhioKimono on Nov 12, 2010 at 09:35:47 pm     #  

brainswell hit it on the head. The post Office is not the same as UPS and the like. They perform a function that can not be done at a profit, however that doesn't mean that what they do does not have value. I recommend watching Kevin Costner's "the Postman". You'll be inspired.

posted by hank on Nov 12, 2010 at 09:57:55 pm     #  

They need to reverse their policy on mail rates. Discount real letters and charge the crap out of the snail spam.

posted by Linecrosser on Nov 12, 2010 at 11:11:27 pm     #  

When UPS, FedEx, or DHL have an easy, affordable media rate that rivals USPS, give me a call.

posted by dhr on Nov 12, 2010 at 11:14:10 pm     #  

1.) Agree w/ almost everyone here...cut back delivery days to 3 days a week.
2.) At same time, consolidate more staff. Yep, they've lost 105,000 people over the past few years and its gonna get worse.
3.) Bye-bye neighborhood post office. Move to even more of a regional model.
4.) Stop dicking around with 2 cent stamp increases. Just make it 75 cents or whatever you need to start closing the gaps.
5.) Open the books. HF is right--$8.5 billion is an insane number for a business loss....especially for an entity that really moves most of the world's mail. Something is severely f-ed up here. Employee pay, pensions, healthcare costs--sure they're all going up. But $8.5 billion in the hole. That's just horrific.

Expecting this thing to be at least revenue neutral is not unreasonable.

posted by oldhometown on Nov 13, 2010 at 12:29:51 am     #  

Cutting back on days would push many people to other options. Operational efficiency seems like more of a problem. They provide an extremely reliable and effective service, as studies have indicated, but at least on a local level there always appears to be room for improvement.

posted by dhr on Nov 13, 2010 at 10:24:27 am     #  

In their short-sightedness and their hell-bent attempts to achieve ultimate efficiency, the conservatives, republicans, whatever you want to call them, have steered our nation both government, middle-class, etc....into a catabalistic state.

posted by ilovetoledo on Nov 13, 2010 at 11:27:51 am     #  

^What does this have to do with Republicans or any political party? USPS proudly claims not to be taking from taxpayers, so you can't even lay the $8.5 billion loss on Democrats (for 2009-2010) if you wanted to.

The purpose of any business is to make a profit, or remain (at worst) revenue neutral. All businesses seek to maximize service while efficiently providing it. They do not exist to provide people jobs with benefits and pensions for life.

These are facts and are available to anyone who opens up a basic economics textbook. This is not a "Republican" talking point--it's economic reality to anyone with more than an 8th grade education.

The post office simply does not have the revenue coming in (by a long shot) to support the bloat it has accumulated over the years when times were good. They did not see the Internet as a threat to revenue and failed to restructure 10 years ago when it should have been obvious. They must take painful steps to shrink to a proper size, as any other business would have to do. We can debate how to do it, but the fact remains it must be done.

posted by oldhometown on Nov 13, 2010 at 12:03:07 pm     #  

The post office isn't a business; it's a service. I'm not sure that you're not getting.

posted by SensorG on Nov 13, 2010 at 04:04:14 pm     #  

The post office isn't a business; it's a service.

No, I'm not sure you are getting it.

Please read this link from the website of the National Association of Letter Carriers (yes, 'da UNION).

http://www.nalc.org/postal/perform/selfsufficient.html

Pay particular attention to these nuggets:

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"Taxpayers covered 23.3% of postal costs in 1971. A subsidy of that level in 2007 would have been approximately $16.9 billion. But direct subsidies to the USPS were phased out between 1972 and 1982. Today the USPS is funded entirely by revenues from postage."

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AND...
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"The USPS is organized to operate as a non-profit enterprise. Historically, its financial mandate has been to break even over time."

If the union recognizes USPS as a non-profit enterprise, why can't you?

It is organized as a non-profit, seeking to be revenue neutral. It does not receive subsidies. That makes it a non-profit business....one that needs to not lose $8.5 billion per year.

posted by oldhometown on Nov 13, 2010 at 04:46:39 pm     #