Postal Service Scales Back Scaleback: Will Close Nothing, Nowhere

In the face of complaints from rural interests, the U.S. Postal Service backed off today on plans to close up to 3,700 of its 31,000 post offices.

The proposed closings aimed to cut expenses, but the Associated Press reports the USPS will keep all the post offices open, under reduced hours:

At a news briefing, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the mail agency was backing off its plan to close up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices sometime after May 15. Citing strong community opposition, Donahoe said the agency will now whittle down full-time staff but maintain a part-time post office presence in rural areas, with access to retail lobbies and post office boxes.

Under the emerging strategy, no post office would be closed. But more than 13,000 rural mail facilities could see reduced operations of between two and six hours.

Doublespeak from Donahoe at the press conference announcing the wimpout: “We've listened to our customers in rural America and we've heard them loud and clear -- they want to keep their post office open. We believe today's announcement will serve our customers' needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability.”

So even though they're backing down on a significant cost-cutting venture due to complaints from a shrinking customer base, they're still going to achieve savings and return to financial stability. The Postal Service estimates scaling back hours for 13,000 mail facilities would save half a billion dollars annually. Some 3,000 of these post offices only see about two hours worth of customers per day as it stands, according to the Postal Service.

The House and Senate haven't been helpful either. Legislators, buckling to voter complaints, have been blocking or stalling efforts to reduce the postal services expenses by reducing services. The Postal Service is still pushing to eliminate Saturday deliveries, which it estimates would save $3.3 billion the first year and $5.1 billion by 2020.

The Postal Service risks hitting its $15 billion debt limit this year due to mandatory health payments to prefund retiree health benefits. Prefunding mandates have been among the few successes in USPS management and could reduce unfunded pension liabilities nearly a third by the end of this decade. But the National Association of Letter Carriers is still hoping to "fully lift the onerous burden to fund decades of future retiree health benefits decades in advance," thus leaving future taxpayers to pick up the shorftall.  

Greg Beato wrote about the challenges of actually trying to close post offices and some of the absurd arguments used to defend them in Reason last year.

More Reason on the postal system.

Correction: In my efforts to be clever with the headline, I unintentionally gave the impression the Postal Service has never closed anything at all in its efforts to scale back. They have closed and/or combined a number of processing facilities. Apologies for the hyperbole.

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  • Pip||

    DeKalb cop accused of kicking pregnant woman in stomach
    A DeKalb County police officer is under criminal investigation after being accused of kicking a woman who was almost nine months pregnant, Channel 2 Action News reported. Raven Dozier said she was trying to help her brother calm down during a child custody issue that involved police.

    "I think he really just didn't want me asking him any questions, questioning him, and when I did question him is when he kicked me," Dozier told Channel 2.

    "I was upset because I couldn't believe an officer would kick me, with my child in my stomach," she said.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb.....33906.html

  • Pip||

    Piece of shit:

    Two other complaints about use of force have been filed against Wheeler, including when he allegedly shot a family's dog after responding to the wrong address, the report said.

  • GILMORE||

    I couldn't believe an officer would kick me, with my child in my stomach

    Well, i don't have a lot of sympathy for baby-eaters myself.

  • ||

    She said "child", not "baby". Maybe it's her 18-year old child who, as a legal adult, wanted to engage in consensual cannibalism. Why do you hate freedom, Gilmore?

  • John||

    Officer Jerad Wheeler described the incident as "a front push kick to the abdomen, as he was taught to do at the academy," in his police report. He said he couldn't tell that Dozier was pregnant and that she aggressively approached him.

    An obstruction charge against Dozier was dropped by prosecutors.

    Because it is so hard to tell that a women in her ninth month of pregnancy is actually pregnant. And he must have had good reason to kick her since the DA took the charges he filed so seriously.

    Sadly, without a video tape nothing will come of this.

  • ||

    She "aggressively approached him". Kicking pregnant women in the stomach is certainly the hallmark of a truly brave man.

  • John||

    He was in a lot of danger Epi. Pregos can be dangerous. I mean he only outweighed her by 100 lbs and only had body armor, a tazer, a club, and a handgun to protect himself. He had not choice to be take preemptive action. Don't care about officer safety?

  • ||

    You know, I hadn't thought of that. What if her water broke on him? He could have been in a lot of danger of getting amniotic fluid on him. Now that I think about it, he actually showed restraint by not shooting her.

  • John||

    All those hormones floating around. Pregos are more dangerous than PCB victims. Every day you hear about some Prego going terminator and putting their hands through windshields and taking four or five shotgun blasts to be stopped.

  • ||

    She was probably on PCP. Broke every bone in her hand and wouldn't feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar?

  • fried wylie||

    PCB victims

    Lousy, Do-Nothing EPA.

  • Bill||

    "What if her water broke on him?"

    LMAO

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    "What if her water broke on him?"

    He could slip on it and hurt himself. And you would still LYAO? You heartless bastard.

  • ||

    Aggravated assault. Since there are no double standards, we can expect the rat fuck to be charged sometime soon, right? Right?

  • sarcasmic||

    authorities determined the officer's actions were within police policy

    They always are.

  • ||

    Indeed. What bothers me is that, after incidents like this, no one changes the policy. All that governmental organizations have to go on for instruction is bureaucratic rules, so if those rules are creating problems then they need to change.

  • ||

    The policy is their license to do anything they want. Why on earth would they change it?

  • ||

    Oh, I understand their incentive to leave it unchanged. What bothers me is that people are so obsessed with existing institutions that, after hearing that policy was followed, they vow to trust the policy instead of vowing to change it.

  • ||

    People's eyes/minds glaze over when they hear that procedures were followed. Isolated incident.

  • sarcasmic||

    Isolated incident.

    They all are.
    It couldn't be systemic.
    What would that do to Public Trust®?

  • John||

    And that is the worst part of all. There thought of their being the occasional rogue cop never worried me. But now what once was rogue is policy.

  • sarcasmic||

    But now what once was rogue is policy.

    It's always been that way. The difference is that there are more cameras to prove it.
    The response will no doubt be to address the problem of the cameras, not what they are recording.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    authorities determined the officer's actions were within police policy

    They always are.

    And if not, they change the procedures so they are in the future.

  • R C Dean||

    AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    I suspect the USPS expected the closures to get an outcry but got a yawn.

  • BarryD||

    Seriously, couldn't the USPS just have a truck that hangs out in the middle of a small town for a couple of hours a day, to do business, and makes the rounds?

    It works for taco trucks.

  • o3||

    reduced hours are basically the same

  • Almanian...still||

    No, they're not. But thanks for sharing your unique brand if stupid with the group again, Urine.

  • ||

    Too practical, not enough potential for pensions.

  • John||

    Why can't you just hire people individually to do each route? That works for newspapers. The junk newspapers get thrown on my lawn every day without fail. They are so efficient I can't stop them.

  • Pip||

    They do this in Minneapolis.

  • BarryD||

    Minneapolis isn't a small town, though. Maybe they're just afraid that, if they stay in the same place for long, they'll freeze to death.

  • Agammamon||

    They could do what they do in my town - USPS doesn't deliver to the door, only to a PO box at the local office, which is open for approx 5 hours a day M-F only, and allows access to the po boxes from around 0530 to about 7 at night all week long.

    And they could close some of those offices that hardly anybody uses.

  • Agammamon||

    Oh, and they could up the cost of sending bulk mailers - Add a pigovian tax to cover the negative externalities incured when I have to go to the PO ecery couple of days just to empty the junk mail out of my box so that I can actually get mail (the one or two items a month I actually need).

    win-win for everyone.

  • Just Dropping By||

    There used to post office railway cars that performed this function for communities that were on rail lines, but which were too small to justify having a full post office. I think they were eliminated by the 1950s or '60s though.

  • RPR2||

    every other day delivery Mr. Postmaster General. Think about it.

  • ||

    "Citing strong community opposition"

    Common Shackford. Read between the lines. This has nothing to do with "community opposition". Donahoe has been very frank about the fuckedupedness of the USPS financial situation. But he keeps getting cornholed by Congress.

  • Scott S.||

    That's mentioned, too.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Exactly. And the USPS situation is a perfect metaphor for the rest of the federal budget.

  • sarcasmic||

    Shorter version: Postal union saves jobs at taxpayer expense.

  • o3||

    better: the gop got the gop rural voters memo

  • GILMORE||

    This should be an indicator of the prospects for sucessful spending reform by the federal govt.

    If politicians can't whip up the backbone *to even scale back* a dying industry, the concept of actually *cutting* programs or entitlements is simply unthinkable

  • ||

    Indicator? We're seeing this right now. No one who has a real chance of getting elected is proposing any kind of reform.

  • sarcasmic||

    You've got it backwards.

    No one who is proposing any kind of real reform has a chance of getting elected.

    Since most everyone is or has friends who depend on government in some way, be it Social Security, military, pensions, government contracts, any real cuts are political suicide.

    "Cut government, just not any part that affects me, my friends, or my family!"

  • ||

    I can't argue with that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's occurred to me before that a true libertarian should run, but without revealing his libertarian nature. Once elected, he casts off the disguise and champions limited government.

    I'd prefer a more honest approach, but I suppose this would be more likely to work. And it beats tyranny or violent revolt. Not that a libertarian president could solve our problems. Need a libertarian Congress to even start doing that, I'm afraid.

  • ||

    That's what I'd hoped Ron Paul would do -- become Romney Xtreme for the campaign and pander to all the right people, and then, the day after his inauguration, say:

    "Alright. Well, now that I'm President, let's start with an executive order halting the enforcement of any and all drug laws in the United States. How 'bout it, America?"

  • sarcasmic||

    The problem with that is that libertarians tend to be honest. The skills in deception required to pull something like that off are the skills of someone who seeks power to grow it, not destroy it.

  • ||

    But couldn't an ardent enough freedom fighter statesman pull it off if he really wanted to?

  • ||

    ...

    You guys are honest? Jesus, am I the only person here with an insistent need to deceive those around me?

  • ||

    Awesome. You can be the one. Work your way through the political system and get yourself elected President by Romneying, and then reveal your radically libertarian convictions.

    Will you accept this honor that we have offered you?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not much for deception. If I ever run, it's going to be on full stupid and honest.

  • ||

    Work your way through the political system and get yourself elected President by Romneying, and then reveal your radically libertarian convictions.

    I've actually considered a life of politics. My background checks out nicely, I'm intelligent, and I can get people to listen to me. But I do sort of fear the whole "abyss staring back at you" aspect of it.

  • R C Dean||

    If I say yes, why would you believe me?

  • ||

    As Reason keeps highlighting, Paul Ryan's proposal was a terrific example of that. A plan that grows the federal government exponentially anyway was decried as anarchy, and the outcry was taken seriously.

    God save the Republic.

  • BarryD||

    The thing is, it's NOT a dying industry.

    It's a radically changed industry. It's not going away; it's changing.

    And there's the problem. Politics are a terrible way to deal with technological and market change.

  • Bernieyeball||

    Don't know if it is my aging eyes but all I can read on the building is Independence and zip that starts with 9.
    Where is this?

  • John||

    It says Independence Ohio 93324 wherever that is.

  • ||

    Independence from market forces, because an immoral and unconstitutional governmental monopoly on non-super-duper-ultra-urgent mail saves us from having to do shit decently.

    /USPS.

  • ChrisO||

    Looks like "Calif." Northern California, to be exact, since it has a 93xxx zip code.

  • John||

    You are right. It is Calif. But I stand by the 93324 zip.

  • ||

    It's 93526, although I thought it was 93324 at first as well. Found it using the USPS's convenient website! Hooray, government!

  • John||

    Curses. I am getting old.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am getting old.

    Your shitty taste in music gave that way already.

  • John||

    If only I listened to prep school white boy rap acts like the Beastie Boys. Then I would be really cool.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you broadened your tastes beyond what was popular when you were in high school, then you might approach moderately cool. But really cool? That's just unattainable for you. Sorry :-(

  • John||

    You mean Muddy Waters and Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Clifton Chenier and Sidney Bichet were popular among suburban white kids in the 1980s? Wow, I guess I missed that whole thing.

    Sorry Sarcasmic, you can't call out other people for having narrow or predictable musical tastes and tell us how great the Beastie Boys are. It is like you are the only white kid in the 90s to ever listen to them. LOL

  • sarcasmic||

    I knew you were old but I didn't know you fart dust!

  • John||

    And you are so young and hip there sarcasmic. The Beastie Boys are as old now (26 years) as the early Motown works were when the Beastie Boys came out. What is next, you going to tell us about how cool and cutting edge Grunge is?

  • sarcasmic||

    What is next, you going to tell us about how cool and cutting edge Grunge is?

    It was at the time.
    Tell you what though. The first day I really felt old was when I heard something off a GnR album I bought in high school on the classic rock station.

  • John||

    If you were in high school when G&R was making records, you are not much younger than me. And yeah, to anyone under 21, you are old.

  • sarcasmic||

    Appetite for Destruction, man!

    One of the single best debut albums of all time!

  • Mo' $parky||

    Appetite for Destruction, man!

    One of the single best debut albums of all time!

    *barf*

  • sarcasmic||

    *barf*

    Youth is wasted on the young.

  • Mo' $parky||

    Youth is wasted on the young.

    What are you talking about, based on this conversation I would guess I'm right about the same age as you. I just think GnR ain't that great.

  • sarcasmic||

    Based upon your liking Ke$ha I had you pegged a lot younger than myself. I could be wrong. Happens more often than not.

  • Mo' $parky||

    If you bought Appetite in High School then you may be a year or two older. It came out my Freshman year.

  • sarcasmic||

    It came out my Freshman year.

    Same here. Small world.

  • John||

    Double Barf. When even Mo and I agree on something, it has to be true.

    earth to sarcasmic, Axel Rose couldn't sing. So it didn't matter how good the rest of the band was. You still stuck when your lead singer sounds like a cat barfing up a hair ball.

  • sarcasmic||

    It is like you are the only white kid in the 90s to ever listen to them.

    That's not true. There was one guy who I worked with as a prep cook who got excited when I brought in a Beastie Boys cd.

  • John||

    Shorter Sarcasmic,

    If you would just stop listening to dated music that came out when you were in high school and instead listen to dated music that came out when I was in high school, you wouldn't be so lame and old.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're lame and old because you were lame when you were young.

  • John||

    I was lame because I couldn't get my frat boy groove on to the Beastie Boys. Got it.

  • sarcasmic||

    You were in a fraternity? Super lame.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Never really got the Beastie Boy thing myself. Other than when I was raging drunk and the music seemed to fit the alcohol induced mood.

  • T||

    Plenty of young people have shitty taste in music, too. I can think of no other reason for Ke$ha and Lil Wayne.

  • sarcasmic||

    Speaking of Ke$ha, John would fuck her.

  • Mo' $parky||

    Ke$ha is my new darling, she's the reason I changed my name. I would fuck her until my dick fell off. I bet she's absolutely insane in the sack.

  • sarcasmic||

    I would fuck her until my dick fell off.

    I'm sure it would.

  • Mo' $parky||

    It would be so worth it.

  • sarcasmic||

    My latest musical crush was on the chick from Phantogram.

    Good enough to eat. And a couple of their songs aren't half bad either.

    Here you go John:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=28tZ-S1LFok
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvSgLHWR16o

  • John||

    My last musical crush was the chick from Pomplamoose. I don't care if she has a five note range and her band sucks. I love that hipster girl. She is just so damned cute.

  • ||

    My guess is Independence, CA, 93526

  • ||

    SQUIRRELS!

  • ||

    They could scale back on personnel easily if they'd just drop the idiotic requirement for handing large packages to a human being. Fucking pointless waste of time.

  • sarcasmic||

    The Postal Service is a union shop.

    Scaling back personnel is, well, heresy.

  • ||

    It's just too fucking bad that the story of Lysander Spooner's American Letter Mail Company doesn't sadden and enrage nearly enough people. For that matter, it's too bad that not nearly enough people even known about it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Er, what?

  • ||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....il_Company

    The American Letter Mail Company was started by Lysander Spooner in 1844, competing with the legal monopoly of the United States Post Office, now the USPS, in violation of the Private Express Statutes. It succeeded in delivering mail for lower prices, but the US Government challenged Spooner with legal measures, eventually forcing him to cease operations in 1851.

  • ||

    Oppose anarchy, or else we might end up with an efficient postal service.

  • ||

    I don't take postal advice from fucking anarchists.

  • ||

    I suggest using FedEx. Personally, I use your mom.

  • ||

    That was an outburst. Sorry. Don't hold it against me.

  • ||

    I suggest using FedEx. Personally, I use your mom.

  • ||

    That was an outburst. Sorry. Don't hold it against me. I'm not an anarchist, but I certainly won't ignore a worthwhile argument or view to consider from one.

  • ||

    Did the squirrels just fuck both of us?

  • sarcasmic||

    hard

  • ||

    I'm honored that I'm one of your fantasies, sarcasmic.

  • sarcasmic||

    I indeed had a fantasy about you being rage fucked by a dozen gray squirrels.

    Busted.

    Totally.

  • ||

    That wasn't a fantasy, that was on the DVD I sent you. Remember?

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh yeah. I was so drunk when I watched it that it just merged into my subconscious.

  • ||

    If I told you you had a disgusting, hairy, horrible-smelling body, would you hold it against me, RPA?

  • T||

    I certainly would. There's only room for one of those in my sex life, and I'm it.

  • ||

    Not unless you're a really, really hot chick. Are you a really, really hot chick?

  • Paul.||

    What about Saturday mis-delivery? Are they going to stop delivering my mail to random neighbors on Saturday?

  • ||

    An Internet -- you have won it.

    *Hands over shiny, ruby-encrusted Internet.*

  • sarcasmic||

    I always imagined the Internet to be encrusted is something else.

  • ||

    Semen?

  • T||

    Nacre?

  • l0b0t||

    How about they stop subsidizing junk mail direct mail and make those spamming assholes pay full 1st class rates like the rest of us.

  • Christ on a Cracker||

    Actually, I was thinking the other way around. Leave the bulk rate more or less as it is, and raise the 1st class stamp rate to a buck.

    Charge more, much more, to your part time customers and take care of your big fish.

  • Hugh Akston||

    the National Association of Letter Carriers is still hoping to "fully lift the onerous burden to fund decades of future retiree health benefits decades in advance,"

    Making us pay for our own retirement is totally unfair!

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, that whole "fund deferred benefits in advance" feature of pensions seems to be lost on them, no?

  • Mr Whipple||

    Somebody just kill the fucker known as USPS. At the very least, start a "Do Not Call Junk Mail List".

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