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The United States Postal Service

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Article in the Atlantic says USPS lost $3.3 billion in the first quarter of FY 2012.  I look for this to become a big issue in the election cycle - what to do with the USPS?  Make them more competitive, prop them up, or let them die.  Kucinich and Sherrod Brown have wasted no time in getting behind the postal workers union for support.

 

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/02/us-postal-service-lost-33-billion-last-quarter/48512/

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The talking point will be that this is what happens when you have a government run business.  They will say look at FedEx and UPS.  However, those companies base the large part of their business on packages.  The USPS was always supposed to be a service (not necessarily a 'business') to allow the transmittal of lightweight correspondence, like letters and birthday cards.  But now with e-mail, e-cards, and such, the USPS will have to change their business model to survive.  Raising postage to the level needed to break even (as has been done in the past) is probably no longer an option.

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Transform it into the US Communications Service.  Marginalize postal delivery starting with cutting service days and dropping 5% of the most expensive coverage areas and moving on down the line.  Have the USCS be a gateway service where citizens, organizations etc. can set up a virtual mailbox that will forward to whatever service they desire (this is kinda how Google Shopping works).  That will be their official communications address.  Going with it all the usual ramifications of having an actual mailing address (legal service, bills, taxes, local government communications etc).  Initiate a 1% idiot/old person/loon tax that you get a tax credit for when using the virtual mailbox system.  The 1% tax and a delivery fee for this "certified" communication is the theoretical funding solution.

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I remember my grandmother used to have to go to the Post Office to get the mail.  Meaning mail was delivered as far as the Post Office but you had to go pick it up.  At some point that changed, which I imagine raised costs for the USPS.  Perhaps they should consider going back to that model, particularly in rural areas such as the one where my grandmother lived in Eastern PA.

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http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2011/pr11_102.htm

 

Gee, they lost $5.1 billion last year and it just happens that Congress has saddled them with a $5.5 billion annual payment to pre-fund the retirement accounts for the next 70 years @ 100%.  The payments started in 2006 and last for ten years. I would say the USPS is doing fine, we need to get rid of Congress.

 

No business would do this to themselves and expect to be around much longer.  But for some insane reason Congress decided that the USPS had to do this. And they also won't allow the USPS to transfer the funds from their current retirement program to cover the annual payment. 

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I am probably the only person here who still writes letters and sends note cards and post cards and even small packages via the post office.

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Customer service is a huge issue. When downtown Cleveland branches consolidated into the one in the arcade, they clearly became overtaxed and let it be known to every person who entered. Absolutely the worst experience I've ever had.

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Customer service is a huge issue. When downtown Cleveland branches consolidated into the one in the arcade, they clearly became overtaxed and let it be known to every person who entered. Absolutely the worst experience I've ever had.

 

Try Tower City. Very friendly service there.

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Can someone explain the reasoning behind consideration to save the cruise industry but dismissing any postal service assistance?

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14 minutes ago, freefourur said:

Can someone explain the reasoning behind consideration to save the cruise industry but dismissing any postal service assistance?

 

In the Trump-supporter world, the Postal Service is viewed as a bloated union made up of mostly minorities (Democrats).   

 

Cruise ships are all-you-can-eat buffets and "beautiful people."  

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those are the kind of people who always point out how many minorities they saw working every time they go down to the courthouse or city administration building 

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On 2/10/2012 at 1:35 PM, GCrites80s said:

Small, light packages are way cheaper through the post office that UPS or FedEx.

 

UPS and FedEx both rely on the USPS for their "last mile" delivery in rural parts of the country where it wouldn't be worth their investment to do it themselves.

 

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If the USPS goes away, delivery to many parts of rural America goes away, period.

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Nothing like trying to attack the USPS when there has been conversations of large scale absentee ballot voting for a presidential election coming in November...

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^^I realize that I'm not as cracked-out on Amazon as most people, but I only get UPS or FedEx packages at home about once a month whereas I get mail most days so that makes sense.

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Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and Post Roads"....

 

The U.S. Postal Service Has Never Been More Important, or More Endangered

The agency was already facing tumbling mail volume, financial losses, and hostility from Washington. And then coronavirus hit.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-04-13/the-u-s-postal-service-has-never-been-more-important-or-endangered


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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We have a problem in the US where banks no longer want small dollar-amount savings accounts.  And we have a post office that could use some diversification.  In many countries around the world, the Post Office also provides savings accounts.  The idea has been proposed and I think it would work.  You could cap the maximum dollar amount before mandating withdrawal to a regular bank, so as not to steal customers from regular banks.  I don't know what that would be, something between $500 and $50,000, probably.

 

Something like Morroco, perhaps.

https://www.americanbanker.com/slideshow/post-office-banking-around-the-globe

 

Pro:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/post-office-banking-2/

 

Con:

https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/15/post-office-banking-just-another-crappy-socialist-idea-already-failed/

 

 

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36 minutes ago, Foraker said:

 And we have a post office that could use some diversification.  In many countries around the world, the Post Office also provides savings accounts.  The idea has been proposed and I think it would work. 

 

The US has done it before, and it was a popular method of saving during the Depression when people didn't trust the banks.  I don't know that the USPS would come out ahead by doing it, however; it's hard to make money on little accounts. They might break-even if Congress made the interest tax-free and eliminated witholding, 1099Is, and other reporting.  Even if the USPS didn't break even, It still might be worth doing simply as a service to folks who are otherwise 'unbanked'. 


There's nothing wrong with optimism, as long as you don't get your hopes up.

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1 hour ago, Dougal said:

 

The US has done it before, and it was a popular method of saving during the Depression when people didn't trust the banks.  I don't know that the USPS would come out ahead by doing it, however; it's hard to make money on little accounts. They might break-even if Congress made the interest tax-free and eliminated witholding, 1099Is, and other reporting.  Even if the USPS didn't break even, It still might be worth doing simply as a service to folks who are otherwise 'unbanked'. 

 

Seems to me that the only want that the bank lobby would be willing to allow it to happen would be as a way to help the unbanked and allow them to refuse to take and manage small-dollar accounts.  I think they would fight hard to keep any Post Office banking from competing with regular banks, a la Japan.

 

I'm not sure it would help the Post Office make much money, but it would give them something to do, and another reason to exist, in addition to being a help to the unbanked.  Seems like enough of a win.

 

As noted above, not even successful companies like UPS and FedEx really want to be doing the last-mile deliveries outside of a core city business district, so they are looking to partner with the Post Office in ways to get the Post Office to manage the most expensive leg of package delivery without letting the Post Office become a stronger competitor.  If the Post Office were to fold, and FedEx/UPS followed the typical corporate growth path and push to increase their "efficiency," suburban and rural deliveries are likely to become a lot more expensive, or even "undeliverable."

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4 hours ago, Foraker said:

If the Post Office were to fold, and FedEx/UPS followed the typical corporate growth path and push to increase their "efficiency," suburban and rural deliveries are likely to become a lot more expensive, or even "undeliverable."

 

UPS and FedEx won't deliver an envelope for less than $10. Even if the USPS folded and UPS/FedEx came out with a "lower priced" option, they'd still probably charge a few bucks compared to the 55¢ that USPS charges today, and they would only deliver to urban and suburban areas. Any town less dense than the typical American suburb wouldn't be worth their time...residents of rural areas would probably need to rent a box at the nearest UPS Store/FedEx Office to receive mail.

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13 minutes ago, taestell said:

Any town less dense than the typical American suburb wouldn't be worth their time...residents of rural areas would probably need to rent a box at the nearest UPS Store/FedEx Office to receive mail.

 

Obligatory "At least they got to own the libs"

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Great!  I say let's pull their rural electrification that we subsidize, too.  They hate the gubm't out there.

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I think the post savings idea may be past its prime in the era of online and even mobile banking (and when mobile connectivity is ubiquitous even in poor areas).  The main advantage the post office had was a preexisting network of brick-and-mortar institutions not set up all that differently from banks (a "teller" window, etc.).  If you were starting from scratch in both cases, it would have been just as easy to establish a bank as a bank than to turn the post office into one.

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IMO, the postal banking idea wouldn't be so much about disrupting the banking industry, it would be about disrupting the shady check cashing/payday loan/Western Union places. Many Americans are already familiar with buying money orders at the post office, why not expand into other "light" retail financial services?

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3 minutes ago, taestell said:

IMO, the postal banking idea wouldn't be so much about disrupting the banking industry, it would be about disrupting the shady check cashing/payday loan/Western Union places. Many Americans are already familiar with buying money orders at the post office, why not expand into other "light" retail financial services?

 

Agreed.  The shady check cashing/payday loan industry lobby is super powerful and would certainly fight this, as we have seen they do when states try to clamp down on their interest rates.  

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They're powerful but not unbeatable.

 

And the post office could have the same problems with check cashing that the private sector has that require such big cuts: A lot of bad checks get passed by the kind of people who use check cashing places.  Of course, taking checks on deposit is less risky, since you can wait until the check clears before adding the money to the customer's account.  But if someone walks in with a check, especially one from an unfamiliar source, and just wants cash on the spot, that's as much a risk for the post office as it would be for any other institution.

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Maybe I'm missing something here. But the reason many people use check cashing place is that they are unbankable. Either they bounced checks in the past or otherwise have poor credit.  Why can't regulated banks be required to create a low frills type of account so that they can cash checks and accept direct deposits. If they prohibited paper checks being written from these accounts wouldn't the risk be near zero.  Again, I might be missing something.

 

Perhaps if we joined the rest of the world and moved away from checks this would be a moot point.  I'm just spitballing here though.

Edited by freefourur

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A) Yes, it is completely unacceptable that the USPS failed to deliver these ballots to the BOE on time.

 

B) Republicans are going to use this as an excuse to shut down the postal service before the November election, aren't they?

 

 

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Rob Portman can have several seats, thanks.

 

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"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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oh gawd the post office is just terrible.

 

worse than ever.

 

we went in today to mail home made mask packages to ohio, seattle and florida family and get some stamps. 

 

the first second inside you get the obligitory old lady customer who immediately tells you what to do the minute you walk in, which of course is not what you want to do.

 

then you see there is no marking or line for the public, so people were scattered all over making their own line, some social distancing and some not.

 

then you see the one or two nitwit attempted murderers wandering around with no masks on, so you have to avoid them.

 

then you notice all the drop boxes are closed, except for the one in the wall that everyone coming in and out has to crowd over to.

 

and finally you notice how filthy the whole place was, including the automatic stamp machine.

 

it's strange times indeed when the post office staff is the best thing about the experience. ugh.

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54 minutes ago, mrnyc said:

oh gawd the post office is just terrible.

 

worse than ever.

 

we went in today to mail home made mask packages to ohio, seattle and florida family and get some stamps. 

 

the first second inside you get the obligitory old lady customer who immediately tells you what to do the minute you walk in, which of course is not what you want to do.

 

then you see there is no marking or line for the public, so people were scattered all over making their own line, some social distancing and some not.

 

then you see the one or two nitwit attempted murderers wandering around with no masks on, so you have to avoid them.

 

then you notice all the drop boxes are closed, except for the one in the wall that everyone coming in and out has to crowd over to.

 

and finally you notice how filthy the whole place was, including the automatic stamp machine.

 

it's strange times indeed when the post office staff is the best thing about the experience. ugh.

 

I assume somewhere in NYC?    I've been in the main post office in Cleveland on Orange Ave and it's better than usual.   Less people in line and for some reason, there seems to be more clerks than normal!  

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