Free Markets, Free People

The shape of things to come

The US Postal service has a financial problem.  That’s not a surprise, especially is a time when the entire US government has a financial problem.  Unlike the rest of the US government, the USPS is relatively limited in the amount of government money it can receive, and is more or less—and often less, granted—supposed to rely on postage to fund its operations. It still manages to get nice subsidies from the government, but even then it’s supposed to pay those back. Eventually.

In other respects, though, it operates like the rest of the government. Nice federal workers’ and union bennies, heavy bureaucracy, a monopoly on the service it provides, etc., etc. So, that makes it sort of a canary in the coal mine when it comes to government financing. Which makes this interesting:

The U.S. Postal Service would eliminate about 220,000 full-time jobs and shutter about 300 processing facilities by 2015 under a proposal to bring its finances in order, a postal official said on Friday.

The Postal Service needs to cut payrolls to about 425,000 employees and take over its retirement and health benefits instead of participating in federal programs, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told Reuters.

This will require abrogating union contracts on layoffs on retirements and health care, and restructuring its employment and benefit rules, close about 3,000 post offices, and contract out mail services to private organizations.

Naturally the unions are already screaming, as are some Democratic lawmakers.


Cry me a river. This is what financial reality looks like.  This is the reality that’s coming to the rest of the Federal government in the not-too-distant future. Get used to it.

Dale Franks
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6 Responses to The shape of things to come

  • It was very curious that the USPS wanted to exit the federal government health care system, saying that the could save money.
    The fact that they have 600,000 employees and 480,000 pensioners, reminds me of GM.

    • GM’s ratio of active employees to retires is much smaller.  Probably somewhere from 1:3 to 1:5.  So not even close.

    • What they are probably shooting for is to leave the current retirees on the government and start fresh with the current crop of employees. That way their books would look good for the next 30 years or so.

  • Simple:

    The Postal Customer Protection and Affordable Postal Service Act of 2011 (aka ObamaMail)

    The feds will simply mandate that you sent all your letters, e-mails, texts, IM’s, tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc., through an affordable, reliable, fair postal “exchange”.

    Called the US Postal Service.

  • The unions are going postal about the $5.5 billion dollar payment required by Congress through 2015 to cover retiree health care benefits. Fact of the matter, the recording of liabilities associated with the employee rights to benefits is a steadfast accounting principle that the Post Office has been ignoring.  Oddly, however the USPS accountants are expensing the required payments without regard to assessing the true liability of the million or so eligible employees.
    You can read my theory <a href=””>here</a>.

  • USPS has financial problems? The solution is obvious. Charge the junk mail senders a whole lot more. After all, they have lots of money. Surely then can spare some of it to keep the overall system stable.
    What’s that you say? That would cause them to stop sending mail, and lower overall revenues, thus making collapse even more likely?

    Well, yeah, but the left leaning media keep using the same argument on taxing the rich to fix the US financial problems.