Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What's Weighing Down the Postal Service?


The internet and the economic downturn have not been kind to the nation's postal system, but it's also been burdened by problems that were, and are, completely avoidable.

I, and other postal commentators, have spilled a lot of ink (and pixels) explaining how billions of dollars have been needlessly taken from the U.S. Postal Service to overfund its pension and retiree health benefits. The chart above from Rafe Morrissey of the Greeting Card Association shows clearly that USPS's payments are way out of line with what's typical for government agencies.

"Both funding levels are substantial financial strains . . . and do not allow for fair competition in the marketplace," says the slide, which is taken from a free webinar that Morrissey is presenting tomorrow (Oct. 9, 2013, 2 p.m. Eastern, 8 a.m. Hawaiian) called "A commonsense solution to the postal service's budget crisis."

Morrissey, the GCA's Vice President of Postal Affairs, will present the association's plan for reviving the Postal Service, which advocates nationwide implementation of cluster boxes and adopting a host of other changes while preserving Saturday delivery and avoiding above-inflation rate increases.

For more information on the Postal Service's pension overpayments and "prefunding" of retiree health benefits, see Congress Hears the Truth About Postal Service Finances, which describes the USPS Inspector General's rather forthright Congressional testimony on the subject.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

huh, funny how dead tree edition and other 'mailer' blogs like them didn't give a hoot about the postal service having to prefund healthcare expenses going out 75 years into the future! dead tree and the others didn't give a hoot while the republicans made a play for privatization and the postal workers took it on the chin for years with pay and benefits. now, when it looks like the mailers might have to 'pay up' to help foot the bill of these unfair charges, now dead tree is all about writing about the unfairness and absurdness of the congress mandated prefunding of healthcare expenses. sorry dead tree, go pound sand.

Frank said...

Recently the Post Master General testified before congress that discounts have been given to large mailers below what has been approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The estimate of these discounts was between $14 & $18 billion a year.

The PRC sued postal management for undercharging these mailers and won.

Mailman said...

What's weighing down the USPS ?

Simple.

Incompetent, stealing, unethical, uneducated, unaccountable mgmt.

Period.

D. Eadward Tree said...

To Anonymous: For the record, I've been writing about retiree benefits "prefunding" and USPS pension shenanigans for several years. And I've always been a skeptic regarding privatization of the Postal Service.

Average Joe mail carrier said...

I have to back up deadtrees comment...they have been on this a long time...I also believe it to be ignorant as a USPS letter carrier to have fellow employees bash anyone for siding with us ( weather it's new support or renewed) & calling out congress for this grossly unfair financial burden we have been carrying....help is help...don't bite the hand that feeds or next time you get no help....even with all this I am grateful to have the job I have... Many people I know are & will continue to struggle for years in this job market....don't be a hater

Average Joe mail carrier said...

To Anonymous....so as I understand it...if you were drowning & someone FINALLY came extend there hand to help you....you say no thanks it took you too long...this kind of incredibly short sighted view is completely uneducated...next time try a simple thank you & try not to be like the survivors of hurricane Katrina that shot at those who came to rescue them....didn't we all think that too was incredibly stupid?....was the reply not, " fine then help yourself fools!" ???....unbelievable

Mailman said...

I too agree with backing up Dead Tree's comment.

Anonymous..........you're wrong, simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Its called the Congress of the United States;

Obie Greenway said...

The BALL & CHAIN of the USPS...
....Postal Service's pension overpayments and "prefunding" of retiree health benefits.

Fix this and the USPS goes into the black overnight and House Republicans know it too....

Anonymous said...

Look at Issas' PAC and see who his biggest contributors are? Wouldn't be UPS and FEDEX huh....

Anonymous said...

3 years no retirement health benifits paid 16 billionAlso the PM owes fers 5.5 billion dollars to the fund for this year>
And he owes the treasury 15 billion dollars.And 1.5
billion toward worker comp.

Anonymous said...

Extra money to future health fund BUSH put into place WHY?
Is it because this money is being taken to keep the FEDERAL GOV'T running?

Anonymous said...

Some leaving comments need to do their homework as related to the 2006 Postal Legislation that has created some of the USPS financial woes. This legislation was sponsored and voted for by almost equal numbers of both Democratic and Republican Reps. and Senators. Folks like Ted Kennedy were strong and vocal supporters of this bill and worked for its passage. When passed, both the APWU and NALC "cheered" its passage and the benefits it would bring their membership - don't believe me, check it out and you will see what truly transpired. It's convenient to "blame" the Republicans - but they were not the sole driving force behind the passage of this law - the Dems were equal partners - with strong Union support. No one wants to admit that the USPS provides a service that fewer and fewer people use. The current network is outdated and too large for today's volumes. USPS shareholders (employees, customers and management) need to get their heads out of the sand and work towards a process that will allow the USPS to evolve to whatever customers require - not what supports their membership/dues levels.