How I Could Tell Congress Passed a Bill To Pay Its Bills

Pic credit: married to the sea

For the last week or so, my mailman has decided that showing up at 7p is totally acceptable. Just when I've given up on getting my mail at all (who the hell wants to brave the driveway at that hour in the freezing cold just for bills and junk ads?), yesterday I noticed a USPS truck blasting down my quiet street at - get ready for it - 2p! Unbelievable! What on Earth could this be about?

Well duh, it's because the mailman knows he's getting a paycheck this week.

Why does the mail suck so hard? The Federal Times seems to think it's the Postal Service's stupid cost accounting model. Always blaming the accounting, aren't we?

[S]ome have said that 80 percent of post offices lose money. The figure is wrong — and meaningless. That is because the revenue generated from the largest part of our mail — commercial mail — is credited to the post office where the mail is entered into the system and not to the post office whose carriers end up delivering that mail.

Under USPS' cost accounting system, all of the final costs of delivering the mail in a post office's area are included in the costs of the delivering post office — but none of the revenue associated with that mail is allocated to that post office.

Of course the delivery post office loses money. How could it not, when it bears the delivery costs but gets none of the associated income?

That 80 percent figure? It's understated. As the Postal Service recently told the Postal Regulatory Commission, 92.5 percent of post offices lose money. Only 2,205 post offices are "profitable," and those 2,205 happen to have the income of some big mailer credited there — even though the cost of delivering that mail is shared by post offices across the country.

If you want to make more post offices profitable, just change the cost accounting system so that revenues are properly allocated to post offices.

Of course the Postal Service is supposed to be self-funded but how the hell do they pay the bills when they're insolvent? Watch the government back away slooooowly (from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Obama's debt commission folks):

The report also supports greater management authority for the U.S. Postal Service.

"To put the Postal Service on a path toward long-term solvency, the Commission recommends reversing restrictions that prevent the Postal Service from taking steps to survive - such as shifting to five-day delivery and gradually closing down post offices no longer able to sustain a positive cash-flow."
Listen, I get that the Postal Service is allegedly fully self-funded by postage but who the fuck is keeping the lights on with them in the red?

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.