Covered at Reason 24/7: GAO Overrules Postal Service Cutbacks

Well, so much for the United States Postal Service’s own efforts to staunch some of the fiscal bleeding. The postmaster had declared in February that they would be cutting Saturday deliveries of first-class mail, despite not getting clearance from Congress first, in order to try to reduce its significant losses. The Government Accountability Office is not on board.

Bloomberg reports:

The service is bound by law to deliver mail six days a week, and is incorrect in interpreting that the temporary measure used to fund U.S. government operations released it from that requirement, the GAO said in a letter to Representative Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, who requested that the watchdog agency look at the matter.

The plan to cut delivery of letter mail while retaining package delivery on Saturdays “rests upon a faulty USPS premise,” GAO General Counsel Susan Poling said in the letter.

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  • Paul.||

    Bloomberg reports:

    This Bloomberg guy is amazing. Banning Sodas, guns AND a field reporter. When does he sleep?

  • ||

    He banned a field reporter now? Which one?

  • Paul.||

    And he shot an elephant wearing his pajamas!

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, well, the cops shot his dog.

  • Professional Target||

    Why was an elephant wearing his pajamas?

  • C. Anacreon||

    I'll never know.

  • Almanian.!||

    Must have been one small hefalumpp to fit into Fuhrer Bloominonion's jammies.

  • Juice||

    Why don't they just let the USPS go private? No congressional requirements, but no special treatment either.

  • ||

    Unless they repealed another law, it would just have to go out of business. I don't know what it's called, but there's a law that says all public roads are considered "postal roads". Postal roads can only be used by the government to deliver mail.

  • Paul.||

    Doing some research now.

    There's an insidious quote in a wiki article about the post office that talks about the Post office being granted a monopoly by congress, and that no other shall compete unless granted the authority by congress. Here's what the actual clause says from Article 1, section 8, clause 7:

    "Clause 7:

    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
    "

    I looked it up because, thanks to Wikipedia, someone put "citation needed" by the former.

    So yeah, I'm not really sure just how much of a legal monopoly the PO has.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They have a monopoly on the mailbox and PO box addresses. For the most part, that's it.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I've always wondered about the legality of setting up a "FedEx/UPS/anyone not the USPS" box right next to my official mail box.

    Reason legal team?

  • Brandybuck||

    As I understand it, that's perfectly fine. Just so long as your USPS box meets regulations.

  • Wind Rider||

    Fedex and UPS exist because they won that battle a long time ago. The only thing the Post Office has a monopoly on anymore are 'letters', which is why the Fedex/UPS document envelopes are called 'parcels'.

  • Professional Target||

    USPS thought they couldn't make money on it, granted them, then got pissed when they made it work.

  • ||

    Here you go, Paul.

  • ||

    Oh, looks like the USPS can suspend their monopoly if they want. When (yes, WHEN) they actually shut down, I'm not sure if they'll do so, or be required to do so. Worst thing that could happen, they could just leave the monopoly in place when they close. I'm sure the statutes would get challenged then, though.

  • Zeb||

    I had to explain that to a Canadian co-worker recently. He was surprised.

  • ||

    As I understood it, the provision that letters could only be carried by USPS came about because the private carriers were handing the USPS its ass.

    I don't have a source for that however.

  • ||

    Francisco, you are correct.

  • sloopyinca||

    True story: when we have a boy, his first name will be Lysander. And we will auction off the middle name again.

  • ||

    Lysander Spicer: now that's a name.

  • sloopyinca||

    This might be a chance for that auction to actually pay off and us call the boy by his middle name.

    Either that or we call him "Sandy".

  • ||

    Oh Christ, you aren't going to reproduce again, are you?

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, hell yeah. But it's cool. We're both genetic A-listers, which should mean a lot when the eugenicists like DB Cooper and American take over.

  • mr simple||

    Lysander Jehovah Spicer. You're welcome.

  • sloopyinca||

    That may be a bit strong. Why not just go with "Lysander Christ Spicer"? Or "Lysander Jesus H Christ Spicer" if you're not into the whole brevity thing?

  • C. Anacreon||

    How about Lysander Electric Spicer?

    My mom gave us an Electric Spicer. Press the button on top and it grinds the pepper for you, right on to your food.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    That has a certain ring to it.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    That was for sloopyinca's comment "Lysander Jesus H Christ Spicer".

  • ||

    Sorry, turns out it's a court decision, not a law.

  • ||

    Oh, so it WAS statutory law first. Thanks Epi.

  • ||

    Because then the junk mailers won't be being subsidized by the taxpayer, duh. They make campaign contributions, don't you know.

  • Sevo||

    I've been curious how the reduction in service was going to affect the costs. Are the carriers hourly? Is Saturday work OT?

  • Professional Target||

    Gasoline at $3.50/gallon?

  • Zeb||

    I think most are hourly and only work 5 days a week.

  • ||

    It depends, they bid on routes. Most Carriers case mail in the mornings to prepare it for delivery (it takes about 1-2 hours now, it used to take around 4), and spend the rest of an 8 hour day on the road.

    Due to the "National Reassessment" a few years ago, they're expected to deliver more than is reasonable in the time allotted and get scolded for going into overtime. Some of the workers are on a 6 hours for 6 days schedule as well.

  • sloopyinca||

    If the government cares about value, they'd pay them piece work.

  • ||

    There's so much wrong inside the Post Office that could just be improved with "encouraging" more workers out on disability retirement rather than pushing them up to a desk job where they become petty tyrants. That was part of what the national reassessment was supposed to do, but it drove a bunch of people onto the work comp system with psych claims instead.

  • SweatingGin||

    Do you have any links about this? I'm intrigued at suggesting more retire on disability. Also psych claims.

    Would be interesting to see percentage of the workforce that end up with some kind of disability claim compared to, say, ups, FedEx, or dhl.

  • ||

    Sorry, I just work in a medical clinic that handles a lot of work comp (specializing in federal and therefor postal workers). The way they structure their work is brutal in terms of repetitive strain injuries.

    During the national reassessment we got flooded with psych claims, which my office doesn't handle. They mostly claimed harassment from supervisors who were doing everything they could to induce workers with work comp claims to take disability retirement, or get non-injured workers to take early retirement deals.

    Injured Postal workers are legally required to be given work within their duty limitations. The limitations can be so restrictive that they have to be given make-work jobs, sent home without available work, or rubber roommed.

  • SweatingGin||

    Injured Postal workers are legally required to be given work within their duty limitations. The limitations can be so restrictive that they have to be given make-work jobs, sent home without available work, or rubber roommed.

    Holy crap, that's worse than I thought. Very interesting though, thanks.

  • Stilgar||

    well the big problem seems to be that the critters want it both ways - for the post office to continue to be under their domain and constraints (and with some privledges granted by such -roads) while at the same time being operated like a private company. If Congress would get out of the way - better yet, reverse stupidity of the past 10 or 20 years - the post office would be able to deal with their problems.

  • Wind Rider||

    The Post Office guys screwed the Pooch by violating a cardinal rule - anybody even remotely connected with the Government is only allowed to give lip service to "efficiency" and "cost effectiveness", not to actually be either one. That's heresy, blasphemy, and just plain rude in bureaucratic circles.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    The Postal Service is explicitly listed in the Constitution as an explicit function of the Federal Government. Cut the DoD and other discretionary/entitlement before touching the Post Office (or roads or Navy)

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Department of War (DoD's baby name) is in the Consty too.

  • sloopyinca||

    But a standing Army isn't. That DoD could be a few hundred people outside of the Navy. I sincerely doubt the founders envisioned 718k civilian employees feeding the military-industrial monkey.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    We don't have a standing army. Congress just happens to reauthorize the temporary army every 2 years.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Yep. No Standing Army at all. Thats why there isn't a Federal Army Academy to train non-career officers...

    /sarc

  • sloopyinca||

    Governing by technicality is no way to do things. Even a utilitarian cock-stain like you should know that.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Its not even utilitarian. Most of us utilitarian acknowledge the Constitution as near ideal.

  • sloopyinca||

    We don't have a standing army.

    Tell that to my brother in law, who is a Regular Army officer.

    FTL: The Regular Army of the United States was and is the successor to the Continental Army as the country's permanent, professional military establishment.[1]

    Sounds like a standing Army to me.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Its pretty standing-y to me. But then again, I was just a dumb-ass Guard (and sometime Reserve) guy.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Exactly. Tulpa is being a dumbass again.

  • ||

    The Congress shall have Power

    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    Doesn't say they must or have to.

  • sloopyinca||

    OT: Here's a daily dose of stupid.

  • RBS||

    I thought the above commenter claiming to be a LAOL was?

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    It doesnt cost much to run what's explicitly listed in the Constitution. Get rid of the Service Academies, NEA, Army, etc...

  • RBS||

    Honestly, when I see LAOL I immediately think Tulpa and my first reaction is to insult it.

  • ||

    My advice: be less honest.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    Clinical trials of what, a 100 people? You can't just combine that with broad surveys, the margin of error would be enormous.

  • sloopyinca||

    Why do you hate children, Jerry?

  • C. Anacreon||

    It's hard to believe this got through peer review, unless, of course, all the "peers" had the same fucking agenda.

    Here's something: about 20% of the population is sensitive to sodium. Those people need to watch their sodium, and maybe in some of those people excess sodium intake leads to conditions that have a higher risk of death.

    But the other 80% shouldn't have to worry about it, and some studies even show they do worse with low salt diets.

    This is getting awfully damn close to the argument that we should ban alcohol because some people become alcoholics.

  • ||

    We have no vested interest in what the research shows,” he said. “This is not sensational. The point is to objectively look at the impact of salt using the best possible science, and that’s what we have done.”


    Mozaffarian said he hopes the study will impel policy makers to set sodium limits in prepared foods and make it easier for Americans to lower their salt intake.

    I thought he had no vested interest in what the research shows?

    Which is it?

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, he doesn't. And the fact that he probably shorted Morton the day before e released the study is also a coincidence.

    Seriously, fuck these assholes. Harvard used to be a respectable research University. They're nothing but the research arm of whatever statist fad is en vogue at the time.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    This ties in with Jarod Diamond’s recent book about what we can learn from hunter-gatherer societies – i.e. the type of society that humans evolved in and that our bodies are designed for. One observation was that people in modern societies typically consume as much sodium in one week that hunter-gatherer people typically consume in one year (or something along those lines). Our bodies weren’t designed to consume so much sodium.

    Posted ironically from a computer.

  • Irish||

    He didn't even spell Jared right. Not to mention the fact that human beings in hunter-gatherer tribes are also more likely to suffer all sorts of ailments due to a lack of food. I'm sure we consume more water and more vitamin C than they did too, but that doesn't mean you should scale back on either.

  • ||

    Scurvy is just a natural part of life!

  • ||

    One observation was that people in modern societies typically consume as much sodium in one week that hunter-gatherer people typically consume in one year (or something along those lines). Our bodies weren’t designed to consume so much sodium.

    And what were the life expectancies of the hunter-gatherers?

    You may now feel free to gambol about the country.

  • Irish||

    I think my favorite argument along these lines was about stress.

    I once heard someone on T.V. claim that modern stress is terrible for the body because your body wasn't meant to have the constant day to day stress that we have. Someone else asked how that's possible since hunter-gatherers likely would have been constantly unsure of where their next food was coming from, would have been more likely to deal with food shortages, fights and day to day violence and would have had to deal with the possibility of natural predators.

    The first person was unsure how to answer.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    One of the reasons USPS is broke is that it has to fund its pension obligations 75 years into the future. In this context, "fund" means "give the money to Congress which immediately spends it and replaces it with used toilet paper long term treasury bills".

  • sloopyinca||

    Another reason they're broke is that people don't send mail anymore and once a postal employee is hired, it's nigh on impossible to terminate them because there is no longer a demand for them. And then there's another of those pensioners that they're required to account for that's not even needed.

    Make all federal employment at will and let the people go when they aren't immediately needed and you solve a ton of the pension problems.

  • Sevo||

    Tulpa (LAOL-PA)| 3.21.13 @ 8:08PM |#
    "One of the reasons USPS is broke is that it has to fund its pension obligations 75 years into the future."
    I love it; no unfunded liabilities tossed onto the taxpayers when the management does what gov't management typically does.

    "In this context, "fund" means "give the money to Congress which immediately spends it and replaces it with used toilet paper long term treasury bills"."
    Tough. You sup with the devil and find the spoon too short? Tough.

  • SweatingGin||

    My plan for the post office (assuming dollar still exists):

    When the last of the boomers is retired and ready to be shipped off to the home, shut it down. Fire everyone. Auction it off. Liquidate.

    Hire actors. Old postal workers are welcome to apply. Give them old uniforms, and bags of computer generated junk mail, letters, and fake birthday cards, which they'll deliver to the old folks home.

    Boomers will be thrilled to see the postman. Otherwise useless people will have make work, and the rest of us won't have piles of garbage delivered to us.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'd support a post-war hell where Kevin Costner has to resort to chicanery to get laid over your proposal. But that may be just me.

  • SweatingGin||

    What, figure it cuts the number of employees to a bare minimum. Each actor can probably visit 8 nursing homes a day. Nowhere near what they have now. Nursing homes can buy it as a service.

    "Put your decrepits in Golden Oldies* nursing home, they'll love the daily postal visits!"

    * a division of Monocle Heavy Industries

  • sloopyinca||

    Stop. Just stop.

    You had me at decrepits.

  • SweatingGin||

    Btw, I do like your choice of name above. Kid 1.0 shares Lysander Spooner's birthday.

  • C. Anacreon||

    It'd be great if they could deliver milk too.

  • SweatingGin||

    On a more serious note, I'd love to see what postal rates would have to be to actually be profitable, including fully-funded pension/retiree healthcare. I'd also love to see that related to expected service usage at that price.

  • Paul.||

    Mail a letter-weight pagage with UPS. That's how much it costs.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    They're all fuckin' aliens - takin' R jerbs.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HgUh5bOgbM

  • mr simple||

    Wow, UNLV sucks. They've hit like 2 field goals in 15 minutes. Have they played basketball before?

  • Mike M.||

    The three point line has been slowly degrading the overall quality of college hoops for years now. More and more teams basically live and die by the three ball, and dominant low post play has become as rare as hens' teeth.

  • sloopyinca||

    Remember the days of the 18' 3-point line in the ACC? That may have been the low point in college basketball.

  • Irish||

    Wait, 18 feet? High school basketball is almost 20 feet. I can't imagine a college game with that kind of three point line.

  • sloopyinca||

    Holy shit, I was wrong. It was 17'9"!

    Holy shit, that's close enough for women to be accurate.

  • mr simple||

    Hey, they have good fundamentals. It's not all about 3 point shots or dunking or being entertaining.

  • sloopyinca||

    Hey, they have good fundamentals. It's not all about 3 point shots or dunking or being entertaining.

    -Said nobody ever

  • mr simple||

    Do they still show the women's tournament on ESPN? I bet it gets worse ratings than their televised Magic: The Gathering matches.

  • sloopyinca||

    Magic: The Gathering

    We've got a theory about Magic and miracles.

  • Irish||

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    irish: on that we can agree

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • Irish||

    HOW IS THAT A REAL SPORT!?

  • sloopyinca||

    I fell asleep 30 seconds in.

  • sloopyinca||

  • ||

    Ooh, I like rugby.

  • ||

    My old rugby coach used to get furious when people didn't know the difference between rugby and Aussie rules. Referred to it "glorified random violence". I always thought he was overreacting and being tribal.

    And for something less violent but even more spectacular, here's a clip of the greatest scrum-half ever scoring the greatest try ever. Brilliant! They didn't need to keep saying it for us to believe it though

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwCbG4I0QyA

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Glory hounds.... I stand for all the real hard workers that get the ball moving, SECOND ROW OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Why? Is it that hard to play defense 18' out?

  • Irish||

    I assume everyone would have spent the game jacking up threes.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    nice theory, but I'm almost sure, but I won't bet my life, that more 3's are attempted now

  • Irish||

    From the article sloopy posted, it seems like people were just making an astronomically high percentage of threes.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I don't see any articles...help a brothha out

  • sloopyinca||

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Let's say they make it 3 pts outside that little circle for charges now. Would anybody dunk?

  • mr simple||

    I prefer having the 3 to not having it but it has seemed like a bad year for it. It seems like every other game I watch I'm yelling at whatever team I'm rooting for to just take it in a score some points while they continue to jack it up for one and done possesions and not close the deficit. It probably doesn't help that I'm a UK fan and they had a down year.

  • ||

    So basketball? Is that the one with the bats or the clubs?

  • mr simple||

    Its the one with nets. And a wizard.

  • ||

  • sloopyinca||

    That's gayer than a man putting his penis into another man's butthole while also crocheting a scarf.

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, NTTAWWT.

  • ||

    A pink scarf.

  • sloopyinca||

    While his partner sips at a Zima.

  • ||

    Through a straw.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    No fair, you guys are plagiarizing Epi and Warty's sexts

  • Irish||

    Warty can't sext because his tentacles can't manipulate the buttons properly.

  • ||

    God that all sounds like the type of thing you need to do to get out of Turkish military service

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "out"?

    You mean into the Turkish service, yes?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I live in a town where the USPS doesn't deliver mail. If you live in the town you get a PO box. Why the hell more cities don't do this makes no sense.

  • sloopyinca||

    #3 for New Mexico looks like he belongs in a Cobra Kai outfit.

  • mr simple||

    There is no mercy in this gym!

  • sloopyinca||

    Man, they're calling every little touch foul on Harvard. Fouls are 10-3 so far, and they just called a moving pick where there was no contact.

    This is just a poorly officiated game.

  • sloopyinca||

    No way can Harvard keep this 3-pointer pace up.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I'm catching up on Justified. I like this.

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, we should apologize that we're watching one of the greatest days in the sports world.* Isn't there some ice fishing or broomball on CBN?

    *IMO, this four-day weekend is the greatest weekend in the sports year.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    While I do agree, I have no other chance to catch up this week.

  • Irish||

    Why do you have no other time this week? Working long nights at the syrup factory?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    as that's my nickname for your mother, so yes.

  • sloopyinca||

    I heard there's been a run on milk in the western provinces. Maybe he picked up a part time job putting 2% in plastic bags.

  • mr simple||

    This is my favorite time of year. The weather is warming up, the bocks are out, and there is two solid weeks of good college basketball everynight. My wife is not a fan of the last part.

  • Mike M.||

    Hopefully the good basketball starts tomorrow, because the basketball today has been lousy.

  • sloopyinca||

    The day'll be a lot better if Harvard can stay hot and beat New Mexico.

  • mr simple||

    Sure, I guess you think you can afford to take the hit in your bracket. I, on the other hand, am tracking my usual 75% over the first two rounds.

  • sloopyinca||

    Looks like it won't matter. The officials are totally in the tank for New Mexico.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Don't know what to think of a libertarian hoping Harvard wins a sporting event

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm playing the long game here. Harvard winning makes New Mexico go away, which means the Buckeyes have a slightly easier path to the final four.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    and with a Quebecois on the team no less!

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Patton Oswalt is getting his fat ass kicked so hard.

  • sloopyinca||

    Somebody needs to call that dumb fuck out on his love of PETA.

  • SumpTump||

    Wow gotta love those bought and paid for politicians!

    www.Anon-Today.tk

  • sloopyinca||

    Justified got me thinking. You know whose writing I'd like to see a series made from? Carl Hiaasen.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    does he use dialogue where 40 words are used when 4 will do as well?

  • sloopyinca||

    Not that often. His writing skills are pretty solid. I'd have to say his dialogue is dead-on.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    so now back to College Hoops.
    Akron is being taught a lesson.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I guess Harvard is the game to watch

  • Mike M.||

    I still can't believe Shaka Smart signed that long term deal that he did. That dude is one of the absolute best coaches in the country, and he should be coaching a big name program and making at least double what he is now.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Illinois made him a huge offer and he said, "nah, I am staying here". Damn.

  • ||

    Finally, spring break!

  • ||

    Huzzah! how'd the paper turn out?

  • sloopyinca||

    Yeah? What class was it for again? Jewish Femenist Bootlicking 201?

    Although, it doesn't sound like you were gonna lick boots based on your chosen subject.

  • ||

    Very repetitive and not at all my finest work given my utter lack of interest in the subject. But then again English is not the professor's first language so I'm hoping my writing style and its sophisticated vocabulary convinces her I know what I'm talking about.

    And Ken that has to be the most succinct description of it I've heard haha, well stated.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • sloopyinca||

    Hilarious.

    Now stop posting shit that distracts me from watching Harvard run out to a 6 point lead.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    You should name your next kid Laurent Rivard

  • sloopyinca||

    Um no. First off, he's a flappy-head. Second, there was a vampire named Laurent in Twilight.

    Um, my daughter told me that last bit. Yeah, my daughter.

  • ||

    The entire internet is judging you harshly sloop.

  • sloopyinca||

    It's a fair cop.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    he might be a vampire. Rivard looks pale next to the ginger on the Lobos

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    We now interrupt commercials to show you 30 seconds of basketball.

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, shit. This is gonna happen. New Mexico had to score there.

    Aaaaaaaand another time out.

  • ||

    Couldn't you forgo the rest of the game and just watch the last 2 minutes?

    Seems like an incredible waste of time.

  • sloopyinca||

    Hey, that comment was probably made with under two minutes left!

  • sloopyinca||

    So Pizza Hut is basically selling Bagel Bites now?

    We get closer to Idiocracy every day.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Meanwhile Syracuse is throttling Montana

  • sloopyinca||

    Holy shit, that's ugly.

  • sloopyinca||

    I just want those dickheads from CBS that were going berzerk about New Mexico getting a 3 instead of a 2 to admit they were wrong.

  • sloopyinca||

    Hey, Amaker. Ever heard of setting picks on your inbounds plays?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    This is why I don't get friends who give up TV for lent. I get lent, I'm not objecting to lent, but March Madness is always during lent.

  • sloopyinca||

    I could never give up TV for Lent. Jesus wouldn't want me to.

  • sloopyinca||

    Motherfucking BRACKET BUSTER!!!!!

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    not for this guy

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    dude's fucked

  • sloopyinca||

    That's brutal.

  • sloopyinca||

    Save his bracket. He's gonna take a beating tomorrow.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    so now what

  • sloopyinca||

    Now, I go to bed and watch Saved By The Bell on Netflix.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I expect 750 words on the existential crisis of Screech

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

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