Thanks to its own witnesses, the Postal Service has blown its chances for getting exigent rate increases approved, a postal expert wrote this week.
“Lack of supporting information from the USPS” will make it difficult for the Postal Regulatory Commission to approve the Postal Service’s request for emergency rate hikes, Joe Schick, Quad/Graphics’ director of postal affairs, wrote in his blog this week. “Regardless of the PRC’s position, the Postal Service will not be able to use a bad economy as a reason for exigency any time in the future," wrote Schick, whose company is a major printer and mailer of catalogs and magazines.
Participants in the case filed multiple pages of comments this week pointing out where Postal Service witnesses didn’t know what they were talking about, contradicted the official USPS positions, or contradicted themselves. (Time Warner, for example, refers to "USPS’s operations and pricing witnesses' evident incomprehension of the major issues concerning Periodicals operations and pricing.”)
Schick’s article succinctly summarizes how USPS witnesses inadvertently refuted three claims that are crucial to the Postal Service’s case:
Claim #1: “Without this increase there would not be enough cash to get them through Fiscal Year 2011.” Reality: “Under questioning we found out that they did have enough cash to get through at least the next fiscal year.”
Claim #2: “The internet made them do it” – that is, the Postal Service lost business to electronic distribution. Reality: “Statements in speeches and annual reports from USPS executives confirm that they have been making that claim for the last decade or more. [This is] not a new phenomenon and should have been part of their long-term strategic planning.”
Claim #3: “They claimed this exigent case was needed to get them through the current financial crisis.” Reality: “Under questioning [Postal Service witnesses] admitted that it was part of their long term strategy and that without other drastic changes this year, they could end up right back at the PRC for another exigent filing next year.”
The PRC is supposed to decide on the case by Oct. 4.