Regulation

A Coronavirus Bailout Won't Save (or Fix) the USPS 

The postal service stands to lose $13 billion this year. But this is an ongoing trend, not a new problem created by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Congress has proposed a $25 billion bailout for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) as part of the latest COVID-19 stimulus bill, but it's unlikely that any amount of cash will be enough to stabilize the agency's finances. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the House Oversight Committee in April that the postal service stands to lose $13 billion this year. That's an acceleration of an ongoing trend, not a new problem created by the coronavirus pandemic; the post office has lost $69 billion since 2007.

In May, a report from the Government Accountability Office called the agency's business model "not financially sustainable"—a conclusion it had reached before the impact of the coronavirus was factored in. The report called for Congress to make changes to "critical foundational elements" of how USPS operates. In other words, COVID-19 might be an easy scapegoat to justify a federal bailout, but the pandemic is not the main problem, and a bailout would not be a permanent solution.

Thanks to congressional mandates, the USPS has been unable to adapt to a changing marketplace. First-class mail has declined 44 percent since 2006, but Congress has rejected proposals that would free the postal service to operate more like a business, instead requiring the agency to deliver mail everywhere six days per week regardless of cost efficiency.

Second, like many government entities, the USPS has overpromised and undersaved when it comes to employee retirement benefits. At the end of 2019, the postal workers' pension fund had $50 billion in unfunded liabilities—the gap between what the fund expects to owe beneficiaries over the long term and the revenue it expects to collect from paychecks and investment earnings. Meanwhile, the fund that covers health care expenses for retired postal workers is facing a $69 billion unfunded liability. The pandemic's economic impact has made both situations worse.

President Donald Trump has called for the USPS to raise prices, particularly on packages. He believes the agency is giving a free ride to Amazon and other online retailers. USPS has already tried that—the shipping price for the agency's largest flat-rate box has gone from $14.50 in 2010 to $21.10 this year, for example—but price increases are limited by market conditions (since the USPS does not have a monopoly on package shipments) and congressional mandates.  

Rather than more bailouts or slightly different mandates, Congress should set the postal service free. Privatizing it in whole or in part would allow the USPS to make smart changes to its business model while guaranteeing that taxpayers aren't on the hook for yet another massive bailout in a year or two.

NEXT: Brickbat: Good Neighbors

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  2. Is there nothing the government fails at that you vultures won’t privatize?

    1. capital punishment?

        1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

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      1. BLM seems ready and willing. But if we privatize da police, we get two for the price of one!

    2. Key word, and your word FAILS….

  3. Privatization won’t happen. It is way to much of a political football. The socialists would have to admit government control is a problem. While for the rest post offices are good politics. In my small rural county we have four post offices. Two are only open to receive mail for half a day. I’ve mailed packages using their overnight labels and was told it would be two days before it got to where I needed it to go.

    It is even worse in other areas. It is just not set up to be efficient.

    1. You can’t make as much money on delivery in rural areas as you can. Vehicle costs are much higher and labor hours are longer. Will a private company go these places or will rural folks have to travel long distances to get their mail?

      Any privatization of postal service would need to be prepared to take much reduced profits and some losses on rural areas. Profit-driven motives would reduce service in rural areas. Do rural voters want that?

      1. Innovation usually takes care of these problems. Whereas the government just keeps throwing money at the problem.

        And if privateers cant solve the issue, than its just something you need to consider for living the rural life. Take Alaska and Hawaii for example.

        1. It doesn’t though if there’s not enough money to be made

          Rural people still don’t have real internet

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  4. Going postal has a whole new meaning.

    1. Widespread Fraud In New Jersey Special Election Proves Again That Mail-In Ballots Are Ripe For Abuse

      The MSM are run by liars and they print mostly lies.

      Democrats are trying to steal this election since they cannot win it with one-person one-vote and Electoral College system.

      1. In the special election for city council, 19 percent of ballots were discovered to be fraudulent, forcing the board of elections to disqualify more than 3,190 of the 16,747 votes.

        Yeah, but if they were discovered to be fraudulent and removed from the count, then the system works, right? What are the numbers on the undiscovered fraudulent votes? That’s what actually matters!

        1. Trump could just declare himself emperor for life and there’d never be a single fraudulent vote again.

          1. Are you under the impression that I support Trump in any way, shape or form?

            1. So you must support Biden.

              You did say “way, shape or form” so none of this third party bullshit.

          2. And? Do you have a counterpoint or just throwing random what ifs to cover for the fact that mail in voting can be far more problematic than you would like to admit?

            1. Trump shovels and you just open wide. Not even a minute spent to fact check a man who has told 20,000 documented lies during his term. And for that matter had admitted in plain English that he wants to sabotage mail voting because he thinks it would be bad for Democrats.

              1. “…Not even a minute spent to fact check a man who has told 20,000 documented lies during his term…”

                The great majority being along the lines of ‘I thought it was yesterday’, when, in fact it was the day before!
                Yeah, shitstain, real hard-hitting there…

            2. Tony is just jealous because his Democrats could never be in a position where anyone is scared they could be as powerful and as popular as Trump is.

              Yet Trump is shrinking government at every turn. It drives the Lefties and Jeffies crazy.

        2. voter suppression no doubt

      2. “Widespread Fraud” in one basket case of a city. These morons didn’t realize that business as usual was going to leave a paper trail for once.

        1. One city?
          Vote fraud has been a proud democratic tradition since at least 1948.
          A certain three letter President (D) even bragged “I stole that election fair and square”.

          1. It’s notable because they actually got caught. I have no doubt that they do this as a matter of course; I mean it’s Paterson – a place that makes Flint look like Chappaqua.

          2. There are now examples and examples of voter fraud, election after election. They are not isolated incidents. The MSM just cannot contain the truth anymore thanks to the internet.

    2. 1. USPS Is Not Required By The Constitution

      This lie is particularly funny. The Left refuses to recognize the Constitution as a list of enumerated powers, but insists on inserting a specific enumerated responsibility into it.

      1. If congress says a post service is required, then it is required.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Clause

        1. Minor detail; that link at no point pretends the constitution requires anything.
          The federal government has the power, not the command, to establish post roads.

          1. Its funny how dumb Lefties are. They hate the Constitution and yet dont really know what it says or how to cite it.

          2. Indeed.

            When someone makes the claim that the Constitution requires that the federal government must maintain a postal service, I like to point out that Congress also is granted the power in Article I to declare war. I then ask if that means that Congress is required to always have a war declared somewhere. There is rarely a response and never a logical response to this question.

  5. Don’t you guys read the Washington Post?

    There’s nothing wrong with the Post office except Trump.

    1. The NY Times, aka the TDS News, tells me that the world was perfect before Trump (except for the white-infested parts of the world, where everything sucked and it is somehow Trump’s fault).

    2. The funniest thing is that more and more Americans are NOT paying attention to the WaPO, NYT, or any other propaganda outlet of the Lefties.

  6. How do they still have unfunded liabilities after being required to prepay pensions for 70 years out? Have they just been ignoring the requirement, or are they do something stupid like claiming they are prepaying by purchasing a stock and saying it will grow 50% in value every year for the next 70 years.

    1. No worries. The check is in the mail.

    2. Why are they required to fund pensions and heathcare for employees who aren’t even born yet, while no other federal service or office has the same requirement? For that matter, why are we talking about the post service losing money? It is a government service. how much money did DHS lose last year? How much money did DoD lose last year? What is our ROI on ICE? A lot less than the ROI on money “lost” by the postal service.

      The answer to all of this is obvious. There has been a long term effort by the GOP to get rid of the post office. It is such a great opportunity for grift and rent seeking, why wouldn’t they? So you put a guy in charge who has a lot to gain if the post office fails like, I dunno, Louis DeJoy who is personally invested in USPS competitors to the tune of $70 million. Then you have him dismantle the org from within. Then claim it is broken and needs to be abolished. Also have your sympathetic “news” services reframe the language around the debate so that there is suddenly an expectation for a government office to be both profitable and have funding for employees’ healthcare and pensions who aren’t even born yet, despite no other government service having the same expectations.

      1. fake news. they are not required to fund benefits for people not yet born. they are required to fund accrued liabilities for current and former employees only (the way it SHOULD be). the only requirements around people not yet born involve financial reporting (basically, they have to estimate some costs far out, but NOT fund them)

        1. Indeed. I get so tired of hearing this claim. It’s amazing how long the union worshiping liberals continue to make these claims long after they have been debunked time and time again. I assume it’s the result of ignorance and an unwillingness to learn as making the claim causes knowledgeable people to ignore the person making the claim (rather like people who claim we didn’t land on the moon or that 9/11 was an inside job are generally ignored on virtually all subjects by thinking people).

          A nice readable summary of the situation can be found on Forbes.

  7. Mr. Boehm…Congress has proposed nothing; the House has. It would help if your opinion pieces were more tethered to facts.

    1. At least you are admitting it is an opinion piece.

  8. What an absolute load of horseshit. One, they passed the bill in 2006 stating they had to prefund pensions for 50 freaking years, something no other agency has to do. Two, it made a profit from like 2013-2016 or something. Three, it’s NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PROFITABLE.

    It’s a gd government service. Do we say the military “loses” 750 billion freaking dollars a year? No, we say it’s a service that the government is responsible for, just like USPS (which is in the constitution mind you.)

    You ratfucks are just trying to cash in on every gd govt service. How about just stop intentionally fucking it up so you can rape and pillage it?

    Can’t believe any morons are buying this garbage.

    1. “Do we say the military ‘loses’ 750 billion freaking dollars a year?”

      Yes.

      1. It did fail audits. We may not know how much was lost.

        1. The military does not produce anything. Therefore any dollar spent beyond national defense is a wasted dollar.

          And “national defense” does not mean new bases in Saudi Arabia or parades in D.C. We could cut the military budget in half and still have the strongest defense history has ever seen.

          1. There is plenty in the defense budget that isn’t “defense”, is poorly managed, or is bad policy. It is worse that they can’t even account for all of it.

          2. They produce a ton of things.

            https://www.arl.army.mil/

            Is this some type of conspiracy you believe in or just ignorance?

            1. The good kind of socialism. The kind where stuff goes boom.

              1. National Defense is actually one of the powers in the constitution dummy.

                1. So is general welfare.

                  1. “general welfare” means enforcing contracts and protecting people and their freedoms.
                    Stealing from one to give to another is considered ‘general welfare’ by fucking lefty ignoramuses

                    1. I think it means universal healthcare. I also think a vague phrase like “general welfare” is just the tool we need not to be trapped in a ridiculous unworkable minimalist government in the 21st century. Easier than rewriting the damn thing.

                    2. @Tony (Is there a maximum thread depth on this forum? This is possibly worse than there being no edit button…)

                      Apparently it means whatever 51% of voters want it to mean at any given time and if the other 49% don’t like it then they can just spend a few years in a cage. Might makes right, apparently.

                    3. So why is it better for the 49% to prevail? On the contrary, this is an easy problem in democracy. Just convince a handful of people of your way and then you’ll be the 51%.

                      While I see this complaint framed in this way frequently, you guys never say who gets to step in and decide everything in place of the democratic polity.

                    4. “I think it means universal healthcare.”

                      Stealing from one to give to another is considered ‘general welfare’ by fucking lefty ignoramuses

                    5. “So why is it better for the 49% to prevail?”

                      When the vote regards stealing from one to give to the other, 1 vote should stop it.

                    6. Apparently it means whatever 51% of voters want it to mean at any given time and if the other 49% don’t like it then they can just spend a few years in a cage. Might makes right, apparently.
                      It means whatever 5 Nazgul say it does.

                  2. Another ridiculous claim.

                    The term “general welfare” first appears in the preamble to the Constitution. It states the purpose and justification of the Constitution just as preambles of statutory laws often do. However, the preambles have no legal force and are only occasionally looked at by the courts and then generally to resolve a ridiculous interpretation of the letter of a statute or an inadvertent ambiguity (possibly an error) in the statute.

                    If the intent of the founders and the states ratifying the Constitution was to grant Congress the power to do whatever they determined would “promote the general welfare” of the United States, there was no need for Article I, Section 8 where most legislative powers of Congress are detailed. As well, the point that Congress ONLY has powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution would not have been reiterated in Tenth Amendment

                    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

                    The other place that the term “general welfare” appears is in the first paragraph of Article I, Section 8 where it refers specifically to a taxing power that Congress has. However that limits that taxing power “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”. That does not grant Congress any power to control anything not in the following list of enumerated powers – it merely grants them the power to levy taxes et al to fund the exercise of powers they otherwise have.

                    If a future Congress were to decide it would be in the best interest of “general welfare” to force all women that have had more than one child to be sterilized, would you argue that would be Constitutional because Congress had decided that doing so would promote the “general welfare” of the United States? There’s nothing specifically in the Constitution that forbids Congress from forcing sterilization as a means of population control and climate change reduction.

              2. “The good kind of socialism…”

                So you have no idea what that word means.

                1. What it really means nobody is talking about because nobody actually advocates it, much as you wish you could debate that straw man.

                  1. “What it really means nobody is talking about because nobody actually advocates it,..”

                    That explains a lot; you are not only ignorant of the word’s meaning but ignorant of 20th-century history.

                    1. So I accuse you of wanting to debate a straw man and then you immediately insist that what I want is 100 million dead of starvation, right?

                    2. “So I accuse you of wanting to debate a straw man and then you immediately insist that what I want is 100 million dead of starvation, right?”

                      Thereby admitting is isn’t a strawman.

    2. how dare we don’t allow government to make obviously non realistic and unpayable promises. Working great for California.

      1. What do you mean?

        I very much enjoyed my two hour and 40 minute trip yesterday from San Francisco to Los Angeles on California’s new HSR. It’s amazing that the project only cost California taxpayers $9.95B worth of bonds (for a total final cost including interest of ~$19.4), as promised to the voters in Prop 1A in 2008. And the trip only cost $50 as advertised by Prop 1A!

        I’d provide more detail but I’m preparing for the rolling electrical outages that are anticipated here in California as apparently the powers that be just recently noticed the sun doesn’t shine at night and on hot days, power consumption remains high after the sun goes down.

    3. The 50 state DMVs lose billions every year too. And should be abolished just like the USPS.

  9. the post office has lost $69 billion since 2007.

    If *only* they had more blue boxes and sorting machines!

    1. The greatest trick Trump ever pulled was convincing Obama to remove post office collection boxes for the 2020 election.

      https://pjmedia.com/election/matt-margolis/2020/08/15/flashback-the-obama-biden-administration-removed-thousands-of-usps-collection-boxes-n796263

      1. That PjMedia site is the ultimate pacifier for the mid-tantrum “conservative”.

      2. Trump has said explicitly that he is fucking with the post office to get rid of mail in voting. The president is using his power to impede an election. And you are in favor of that. So what does that make you?

        https://www.npr.org/2020/08/14/902456159/trumps-comments-on-usps-funding-has-voters-worried

        1. Get your ass to the polling place and dip your finger in purple dye.

  10. Thank goodness Boehm is here to tell us that a coronavirus bailout won’t save or fix the postal service.

    How would we know otherwise?

  11. But a multi-billion dollar bailout certainly will save the post office for a couple of years and that’s good enough. The post office would be foolish to pass up this opportunity to extort some money from the government by threatening to be unable to deliver the election balloting unless they get what they want. And the coronavirus! Don’t forget the coronavirus! Everybody knows mailboxes are an especially virulent disease vector.

  12. 2016: Russians controlled our Elections.
    2020: Trump is slowing down USPS to prevent mail-in ballots.

    Democrats, liberals and progressives love to wear the tinfoil hats they are so quick to accuse others of wearing.

    1. They are still pushing the Russians this year. And downplaying Iran and China.

      1. Republicans have thrice decided to ignore or vote down election security bills. Also eliminated language from another recent bill that tried to at least put back the foreign campaign contribution reporting requirements. Funny that.

  13. Before we decide on privatizing the Post Office we need to decide what are the obligations of the government. Do we believe that every person in the US is entitled to some type of delivery of mail and packages? If the answer is yes, then how do we achieve that for those not served by alternative delivery services? If the answer is no, then what is the rational for denying service to some who have received it for so long, Messaging has been a service of our government since it inception, do we end that now?

    1. “those not served by alternative delivery services”

      Everyone can be served for the right price.
      Just like how you don’t expect San Francisco internet speeds in Colter Bay, Wyoming, you shouldn’t expect the same delivery costs either.
      There are benefits to not living cheek by jowl in a feces and needle strewn hellhole, and then there are negatives.

      1. Explain why making life worse for Americans is a good idea. What are you trying to accomplish?

        1. Explain how socialism will not make life worse for 99% of Americans.

          Show your work.

          1. A near universal approval rating for the postal service would seem to indicate that it works in that instance. Maybe everyone just has Stockholm syndrome.

            1. So you can’t answer and choose to make up lies in the hopes no one notices the misdirection.
              Mendacious shit…

            2. The post office? I suppose you think the DMV also has near-universal approval since everybody goes there. And Bernie was right about bread lines.

              Jeez bro, at least wake up before posting. This is embarassing.

              1. Yeah, the post office. Rural areas depend on it heavily. So do service members. UPS and FedEx will not deliver final mile for many or most rural locations. They send it USPS from a sort center to get it to Joe Bob.

                1. You too conflate “have to use” and “enjoy”.

                  Do you enjoy colonoscopies or bypass operations?

                  Do you enjoy the DMV?

                  Do you enjoy withholding, the IRS, sales tax?

            3. That positive attitude may change when, as a result of plummeting First Class mail volume, the price of First Class mail goes up to cover the cost of handling and delivering it. Perhaps $1.50 for a one ounce First Class machinable mailpiece would cover it fully in five years.

              Of course, if you receive paper statements/bills, you will eventually end up having to cover this somehow. Some businesses will likely assess a monthly service charge and waive (all?) $3.00 of it if you accept paperless delivery only. Others just won’t offer paper delivery at all to avoid the fixed infrastructure costs of providing it. I have a number of accounts where paper delivery of documents that were traditionally sent monthly just isn’t an option – at any price.

              This is a bit of a death spiral of course — First Class mail volume will drop to virtually nothing within the next 30 years even if rates remained the same (obviously in this time frame residential delivery will be cut back to two or three days a week to help control costs) because demand is just declining. Increasing the price will just increase the rate of decline (how many fewer Christmas cards will Grandma send out at $1.50 vs. 55¢ each?).

              I know quite a number of people 30 and under who don’t bother to check their mail except when they get notification that an online vendor has routed a delivery through USPS, in part or for the last mile, because there is absolutely no First Class mail they could care less about and just throw it away with the junk mail.

          2. Are you suggesting that the Post Office is socialism, because that seems a stretch?

        2. Where did I say that? you disingenuous fuck.

          1. When you suggested turning a universal postal service into a quasi-business-like entity that would shaft rural citizens (and probably everyone else).

            1. So the post office needs to lose money?

              1. We can make it however we like. It’s ours. We can give it away to private interests if we want, but we don’t. Hence the nefarious underhanded schemes instead of submitting the idea to democratic debate.

                1. “…Hence the nefarious underhanded schemes instead of submitting the idea to democratic debate.”

                  Hence the bullshit from the left, voting on free shit.

                  1. As has been amply established on this webpage, it’s not free.

                    1. If you stand by that, you are the first socialist ever to recognize the difference between free price and free cost.

            2. When you suggested turning a universal postal service into a quasi-business-like entity

              I did nothing of the sort, you lying snake. I implied fuck the post office and let your parcels and mail be delivered by a private entity of the sender’s choice.
              You just make shit up constantly.

        3. Because making life worse for a few often makes life much better for the rest. Can you explain where you draw the line in subsidizing other peoples’ lifestyle choices?

          1. Sometimes I’m tempted to draw it at propping up the healthcare and other public services for obese, unhealthy, ungrateful Republicans in red states, but then I think the benefit of a universal risk pool outweighs my revulsion at their hypocritical parasitism.

            1. Hmm… I see a lot of very obese people when I drive through parts of town whose racial demographics suggest they vote pretty much straight “D” (if they bother to vote at all – some showed up to vote for Obama and some may show up to vote for Harris). There are just too large a percentage that are obese to imagine, coupled with voting patterns, that most of them are voting “R”.

      2. I have no problem with discussion the issue this way. I think too often we hear that the PO loses money without a discussion that it is providing a service. Also that that service is based on the weight and shape of the item being transported and not the distance to make the delivery.

    2. I mean, even though it may be an anathema to hardcore principled libertarians, the Post Office was pretty much one of the few things the founders explicitly said the government should be doing. Unlike how it is sometimes spun, the Constitution does not, to my knowledge, say that the government MUST deliver the mail, or that it MUST have a monopoly. So yes, you could probably do away with the Postal Service and not have a constitutional crisis, but it’s not to be taken lightly. Again, the founders clearly thought it was an important and proper function of the government- about the only things they seemed to think were OK for the federal government to do were defend against foreign powers and deliver the mail.

      1. But did the framers intend for the mail to be delivered by trucks and airplanes or by horse drawn carriages like back in their time?

      2. Funnily enough the framers felt that it was perfectly Constitutional to appoint postmasters, who then gave out contracts to private individuals and businesses to handle the actual mail delivery. The idea that Congress demanded postal delivery must be handled only by federal employees is completely not related to the actual history of the US.

    3. messaging is free now

  14. “A Coronavirus Bailout Won’t Save (or Fix) the USPS”

    Tony, White Knight hardest hit.

  15. All we have to do is throw money at the problem and it will be fixed. It’s worked every time before. Oh, wait my error. It never works

  16. The election can be protected from Trump and/or from postal unions trying to hold it hostage by reducing use of and burden on the postal system: drop off ballots personally before the election; DON’T mail anything but ballots in the two weeks before the election; DON’T order stuff from Amazon to be delivered by USPS during these two weeks. Also protects Dems using mail as the excuse should they lose.

    tinyurl.com/y57p3q68

    1. You don’t, as far as I know, have control over how Amazon ships things in most cases. Therefore, you couldn’t order almost anything from Amazon for delivery during that period. Complete implementation of your suggestion would likely result in millions of workers, including upstream and downstream of Amazon and other etailers, being furloughed or getting dramatically reduced hours during that two week period.

      Does that really sound like a good idea in this economy already hobbled by the pandemic?

      The USPS will handle the ballot delivery, both ways, fine. Official election mail (outgoing ballots, sample ballots, and returned ballots) is a tiny fraction of First Class mail and even a tinier fraction of all mail. For each election I get one real ballot and mails one back (or drops off), one sample ballot, and one or two pamphlets” (explaining the propositions and describing the candidates). The latter is sometimes sent only “one per household”. We however typically receive 30 to 50 mailpieces during election season imploring us to vote for measure X or Y or candidate A or B (all these mailpieces go directly to the recycle bin with an occasional glance at them before to remind me how gullible and ignorant most voters must be if these ads actually work).

  17. “… requiring the agency to deliver mail everywhere six days per week regardless of cost efficiency.”

    Yeah it’s called the postal service. It’s not meant to be a business. It was working fine, fiscally speaking, until Republicans imposed ludicrously insurmountable requirements on funding future obligations as part of the design to force privatization. It’s not the first time they’ve pulled this shit, and Reason is perfectly well aware of it, opting to blame unnamed “congressional mandates” and then going right on ahead and arguing for privatization.

    It’s not meant to be run as a business! It’s meant to perform a service, even if it loses money. We can decide to pay for the service even if it doesn’t make a quarterly profit. For some reason we have untold trillions to squander on tax cuts but we just can’t find the drop in the bucket necessary for the postal service, say people who have been perfectly open about their ideological desire to privatize it for decades.

    Let’s go ahead and assume privatization would ruin the service, because that’s what it would do. The sick thing is you want to privatize not even because you think it could work better (it wouldn’t), but because having one of the world’s most successful “socialist” programs happening around us every day to 90% approval ratings is terrible for your cause.

    I just wish the free market ideologies could man up and be honest about it one goddamn thing. If your ideas are so great, you should be able to sell them on their merits instead of inventing fake crises you have to solve with yet another ham-fisted scheme to funnel public money into private hands.

    1. Another idiot who thinks future liabilities don’t impede a business despite overwhelming evidence from towns and states like California.

      1. It’s not a business.

        1. So it’s okay if they go bankrupt? That doesn’t affect any citizen ever?

          1. We spend a lot more on the military and nobody expects it to do anything but sink money into a black hole.

            If you want the post office to act like a business you have to permit it to raise prices when it deems it necessary, right?

            1. Need help shoving those goal posts around? The guy who claims ‘moderation’ is probably willing to help.

              1. You have absolutely no idea what moving the goalposts means, do you?

            2. The military provides a vital function. Just by existing it provides deterrence to invasions. I keep telling you the postal service like we know it today didn’t even exist until the early 20th century. Prior to that, the Senate would appoint local postmasters, who contracted actual mail delivery through private individuals and companies. This is still how it is done in most of rural areas. Rural postal carriers are contracted private individuals who deliver mail, using their own vehicles. They are not USPS employees. A lot of the mail is moved on private airlines and shipping companies. Also, in some rural areas there isn’t an actual post office, but they lease space in private businesses to collect the mail and deliver the mail (i.e. in a grocery store). With revenues decreasing every year since the mid 1990s (they were running stories on how the USPS was going broke back in the 1990s) this model may need to be expanded. Or even just contract UPS or FedEx to handle the mail. This doesn’t violate the Constitiuton, as this is how it was handled for over 150 years (not UPS or FedEx obviously but companies like Wells Fargo and such) and is still how it is handled in many rural areas.

              1. Healthcare is literally a vital function. We know we’ll have heart attacks. Armed invasion seems somewhat less plausible, and surely your opinion on what’s legitimate doesn’t automatically justify every trillion dollars we spend on it.

                1. Notice once again you completely ignored my statements about how much of the postal delivery is already privatized and all delivery was privatized for most of the history of the US. Also, the threat of invasion isn’t at all implausible. But it only seems that way because we have a strong professional military (which is also established in the Constitiuton unlike healthcare). As for privatized healthcare, the private sector does better than any government ran system and almost all the extra costs and inefficiency are the result of government regulations. Therefore, most of our problems with healthcare are government created so your solution is to give the government more control?

                2. Also, the military provides a vital service that the private sector can’t.

      2. Are there businesses that prefund 75 years of employee pensions within 10 years?

        Also the money it did set aside was diverted to federal debt service anyway.

        1. But most private businesses are required to at least disclose the funding and liability parameters for their retirement plans, and suffer both market and regulatory pressure to achieve full funding. How many federal, state, and local agencies have to do the same?

        2. Are you aware that governments provide different rules to pension funds to be ran by private industry that are stricter than those run by the government? This is why companies have switched to non defined benefits like 401k plans.

          I have to ask Tony… are you just ignorant?

          1. The massive ongoing theft of wealth from the middle class is a public-private partnership.

            1. But we should totally take the wealth from the wealthy!

              1. Yes. They only have it because politicians took it from you and me and gave it to them. So we can take it right back.

                1. “…They only have it because politicians took it from you and me and gave it to them…”

                  Your cite is missing.

                2. It’s not like maybe they sold products or services that people actually wanted.

                  1. Or they put their wealth in an account where it makes money off itself. No problem if we simply define productivity as equivalent to wealth.

                    Or whatever. Just don’t raise my taxes ever! I’ll throw any rhetoric you like at it… want some candy? Have some candy. Just don’t ever think about how unjust the distribution of wealth is by every possible measure except pure thievery.

    2. So, why not just make First Class mail and package delivery through the USPS “free”?

  18. I honestly just don’t get how the USPS can STILL be losing money with no sign of recovery. Yes, first class letters and such are way down, and we know those were THE money makers for basically their entire existence. However, in this age of insane amounts of package delivery- how can they not be leveraging their unrivaled reach to every doorstep (or at least mailbox) in the nation, six days a week, along with staffed locations in every single community in the nation to get a piece of that pie? In my relatively rural area, the post office has been delivering all but the largest Amazon packages (either directly or doing the final mile(s) for UPS)- in terms of pounds or cubic inches of volume received via USPS, I am probably receiving an order of magnitude more than I was 10 or 15 years ago. I simply cannot understand how that kind of opportunity cannot be parlayed into, if not immediate profits, then at least a bending of the curve away from insolvency.

    And now, not only are they not making money by doing all this package business, apparently they are not even getting the packages delivered. I have noticed lately that several USPS items have been delayed, sometimes significantly. When you sold on ebay and purchased shipping through there, USPS was always the default and recommended service. However, now ebay says that due to delays in USPS delivery, they recommend you use another option. Of course, there is a disclaimer on the postal service website saying that it is all due to “Covid related disruptions.” Give me a break. Apparently “neither sleet, nor snow, nor….” only goes so far; a chance of people getting a mild cold will shut that sucker down.

    1. All of the problems you list were deliberately caused by politicians who want to convince people like you that the service sucks and should be gutted. Republicans sabotage government programs they would rather see privatized. It is what they do.

      1. Hey now, Tony, holster the weapons. This is a topic where you and I probably actually don’t disagree so much. I am pretty much a strict originalist in philosophy, and as I argued above, unlike any number of other things that government does or is involved with (from collecting income taxes to healthcare), the Post Office in inarguably legitimate. I do not want to see it go away, and I do not want to see its services reduced. And honestly, I think it was a major error to convert it from a formal cabinet-level department to a quasi-self-sustaining agency. I agree with you that, while its expenses need to be largely offset by income for services provided, if it must operate at a loss in order to provide the services it was established to provide, then so be it. We waste a lot more government money on a lot less useful things.

        THAT SAID, given the situation today- they still should be able to succeed. But they seem to be unable to identify the specific structural advantages they have and leverage them to their advantage in the current marketplace. And that is frustrating, especially for those of us who live in more rural areas where using UPS/FedEx/etc. can be a pain. Whether this is a result of purposeful sabotage by Republican appointees as you posit, well, I’m not so sure.

        1. I think it went above and beyond the call of duty for a national public service when it managed to self-fund on stamps as was required by fiscal hawks, who now have tried their best to make it insolvent as discussed elsewhere. (They also don’t permit it to raise prices when might be necessary without Congress, which may or may not be good governance, but is yet another way it’s not even permitted to act like a business.)

          I may find out by reading more exactly why the free market fundamentalists’ mouths water so much at the prospect of privatizing a service that has 90% approval. Maybe they just like a challenge. I hypothesize that it’s very difficult to honestly argue that government just can’t do anything right (like deliver universal healthcare) when we have a clear example of a universally available program that not only does what FedEx does more cheaply, but is the envy of the world in terms of mail systems.

          I dream of a day when people see government working it means they alter their philosophy instead of sabotage the program to prove their philosophy right.

          1. The USPS was forced to self-finance because the postal workers wanted to negotiate as a union and they couldn’t do that as federal employees. So the democrats gave them their way buy turning them into a government-owned business.

            1. A business that can’t respond to market forces without congressional approval.

              1. They would probably be better off totally privatized, the democrats didn’t do that.

              2. A business that can’t respond to market forces without congressional approval.
                So it should be privatized.

                1. I don’t think we should cut off rural citizens from civilization anymore than they already are.

                  1. Your compassion for rural America seems out of character. Is everything OK on the Creek reservation?

                    1. I have family in rural America. I don’t want them coming to town to get their mail and then calling me for lunch.

                    2. There are cheaper ways to avoid your family.

                  2. “I have family in rural America. I don’t want them coming to town to get their mail and then calling me for lunch.”\

                    Great.
                    YOU pay for their post office; I don’t care.

                    1. You apparently do care. Overly so.

                      All you have to do to eliminate the post office is to convince a democratic majority to go along with it and elect the requisite Congress.

                      Doing it via sabotage and lies is not normal order and unsportsmanlike besides.

                  3. Our postal delivery is already being done by private citizens who are contracted by the government to deliver the mail. Those rural route carriers are not Postal Employees, and their vehicles are their own and privately maintained.

                    1. The important thing, to me and probably most liberals, is that the service is made available universally. Whether it’s done with government employees in government-owned cars or whether they’re contracted out is less important a distinction.

                    2. So then you don’t oppose privatized postal service? Because that is what most mean, the government just contracts private companies to do postal delivery. And yes, if you are willing to have whole armies of mercenaries we could do the same for the military. Allow private individuals to form their own regiments and equip them, and the government contract them when needed. Because that was done throughout history (all the way up to the Spanish American War in the US).

                    3. But to go to a private military would mean you have to let us civilians buy machine guns, tanks, fighter jets etc.

                    4. The good thing about government employees is they aren’t required to turn a profit, so we don’t waste tax dollars on that. Contracting out rarely proves to be more efficient.

        2. And honestly, I think it was a major error to convert it from a formal cabinet-level department to a quasi-self-sustaining agency.

          Which was the end result of the union strike in 1970.

      2. In 1971, the democrat controlled congress converted the Post Office Department into the USPS: a government-owned business that was expected to generate enough revenue to cover its own expenses.

        1. If only tax cuts were required to pay for themselves as advertised or else get expired.

          1. Taxes are violence.

            1. Then sign me up to be punched in the face because anarchy sounds like a shithole.

              1. The worst humanitarian crisis are usually caused by inflicting violence on otherwise peaceful people. As a general rule, avoiding or minimizing systemic violence is a good thing.

                1. And an effective return to feudalism would fix that.

                  1. The post office doesn’t prevent feudalism.

                    1. And technically feudalism has taxes. So is it back to the caves or what?

                    2. It would be good to avoid or minimize systemic violence. I believe it is possible to do that and still avoid cave dwelling.

                    3. Yes yes, government is violence and that’s bad and so that’s why government must be limited to only those tasks that involve shooting and imprisoning people.

                    4. Taxation is systemic violence, enforced by threatening to imprison or shoot people for noncompliance. Systemically threatening to imprison or shoot people should be minimized or avoided.

                    5. “Yes yes, government is violence and that’s bad and so that’s why government must be limited to only those tasks that involve shooting and imprisoning people.”

                      In spite of yourself, you’ve wandered on to a basic truism.
                      The government has a virtual monopoly on force and therefore be limited to those tasks which require it.

                    6. Not paying taxes is equivalent to stealing, so I don’t know why it’s bad to enforce that law but OK to enforce other laws against stealing. In fact it’s hard to understand how something necessary to a functioning society can be described as inherently bad at all.

                      It does all start to make sense when framed as rhetoric meant to defend policies and programs you like and delegitimize ones you don’t.

                    7. Taxation is equivalent to stealing in practically every way, and to the extent that it’s not is only by legal definition, in which case, failure to pay taxes is not legally classified as stealing.

                      If we’re going to avoid the legal classification and judge it based on the essentials, then taxes are a form of stealing.

                    8. So a little stealing is OK to pay for national defense and limited liability and whatever else you deem legitimate functions of government?

                      I think stealing is by definition never good and taxation is explicitly not stealing. It’s also not stealing when a restaurant asks you to pay for the meal you just ate. It would however be stealing if you refused to pay.

                      This is beside the fact that property, theft, and money itself are all creations of government.

                  2. The amount of stealing necessary to maintain civilization should be minimized or avoided.

                    Rights are social or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement. They are not government creations.

                    1. Rights in the absence of government enforcement are just opinions. And the guy with the most guns wins the debate either way.

                    2. The number of social or ethical principles forced on people with systemic violence should be minimized or avoided.

                    3. Easier said than done. I would consider a libertarian regime to be an intolerable imposition of philosophy, low income taxes though it may offer.

                    4. I think the widespread systemic violence of our society is troubling.

  19. Forcing people to bail out the post office: that’s violence.

  20. With the digital communication technology available today, there really is not much need to send any personal communication through the mail. 95% of the items I receive in the mail are junk mail. 5% is bills or bank statements – most of which is going paperless. All of my packages are delivered by Amazon, FedEx or UPS.

    1. exactly. don’t privatize it. just let it fade away.

  21. Democrats are Shocked! to find out the post office loses money. They will have many hearings to determine why.

    Good thing there is nothing else going on this year.

    1. But Democrats are also offended by the notion that any enterprise has to break even (and repulsed by the concept of profit).

      1. Why do none of the government programs Republicans like have to break even?

        1. Let the SEC keep the fines and fees they levy, and they’d turn a profit.

  22. Meh, mail is a luxury we can do without since we are going with Marxism. Just have Uber figure it out.

  23. The government forces USPS as a monopoly by law, going back to the 1840s: its first bailout. That’s violence.

  24. I thought The Postman was a good movie (even “the Restored Republic of California” bit gave me chills), but the USPS is a relic. No one sends letters any more. Two great companies (and some competitors) send packages better. Bills are online or by email. People stay in touch on anti-social media. There is literally no use case for the mail except sending ads people don’t want.

    1. You can’t send live animals any other way.

      1. Got to have a constant supply of mail order gerbils?

      2. I shipped a live animal on a private airline when I moved to California.

        1. And live animals are shipped by truck and train every day.

          1. So you are full of shit.

            1. We could legalize personal shipping of chickens by Fedex, I suppose, but why bother when we can just fire up the private jet?

              1. No great surprise you wander off, since you are incapable of honest engagement.

  25. “The postal service stands to lose $13 billion this year. But this is an ongoing trend, not a new problem created by the coronavirus pandemic.”

    Well, let’s not waste this crisis!

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  27. Since its been mentioned multiple times now: USPS is NOT required to fund retirement benefits for people not yet born.

    They make projections for the solvency of the system over a 75 year period, but they are only required to fund accrued liabilities for current and former works. And this is how its supposed to be, unless you think its fair for your kids or grandkids to be paying the pensions of people who performed work for you.

  28. My state doesn’t mail ballots directly. It mails out applications for absentee ballots which have to be received and signed and sent back in order to get a ballot.

    There are only a 9 states that mail ballots directly, Five of the universal mail-voting states already planned to conduct mostly all-mail elections before the coronavirus pandemic, and only one of the nine states, Nevada, is considered a battleground in the race for president.

    Florida, touted as a “good” state by Trump (because he votes by mail there) handles mail-in ballots the same way as the other 33 states that allow mail-in voting without a reason/excuse. It doesn’t even use the term “absentee ballot” anymore.

    Trying to make out that all “voting by mail” is a bad thing is a ridiculous ploy that is not based in fact.

    None of the six swing states which allow no-excuse absentee voting are sending actual ballots, as opposed to applications, to all voters. To receive mail-in ballots, voters must request them or be on a permanent mail-in voting list.

    1. The problem with vote by mail is trying to set it up in a hurry and use a Post Office that can’t handle the volume. Also many people have a hard time filling out the ballot correctly as seen in New York where 20% were rejected by mistakes. If you want to suppress the vote it seems that vote by mail is the most efficient way possible.
      How do the Democrats insist on vote by mail knowing the problems with the Post Office, refuse to negotiate to pass a bill with money to help the Post Office which really would do nothing and now accuse the President of some how being responsible for the problems of voting by mail? They are the ones that created the problem by making people think they could vote by mail even though it has been shown in a close election less then half the population would have confidence in an election by mail and they still insist on doing it. Anyone that knows how to think should realize they are so sure they are going to lose they are attempting to corrupt our election and throw confusion and doubt into it. When has one party ever become involved with how Americans vote?

  29. As memory serves, correct me should I be in error, at least part of the Post Offices financial problems are attributal to congressional action, aka legislation that required the Postal Service/Post Office to set aside quite significant sums to cover the retirement of employees quite far removed from retirement. As to why congress so legislated, your guess is as good as mine, perhaps better.

    1. Yes, USPS are now required to (just like private pension plans but not private “retirement” health care retirement plans) set aside the future actuarial cost of retirement pensions and healthcare as those benefits are earned by an employee working another hour. This is very reasonable.

      USPS is also required to ESTIMATE (but not fund) the costs of these plans over a 75 year horizon (that’s where the lie that they have to “pay” for pensions for employees who are not even born yet came from – either an honest misreading of the law that seemed too good to back off from or a calculated lie figuring that most people will never fact check such claims.)

      They are also required to “catch up” to fully fund their plans as they were not doing so previously.

      In a business that is dying away, failing to manage the retiree benefits and rely in “current revenue” to fund obligations that will be paid off 75 years from now is ridiculous and long ago Congress effectively required private employers to stop acting recklessly in this regard..

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