Is Congress Robbing the Postal Service?



I've read stranger things.

Completely by accident I assure you, JDA ended up linked to on a site that aggregates postal service news for postal employees. Not being one to cower at the thought of my mail carrier going postal on me, I got hit with plenty of spicy comments from mail carriers who took issue with my view on the pathetic "service" I'm stuck with from my local PO. On the bright side, I discovered a pretty useful website for all things USPS. If you're into watching car crashes or burning buildings, I recommend checking out Postalmag.com as I'm sure they will continue to update as USPS rots from the inside out.

Anyway! I happened to catch this on the site and couldn't pass it up. Are we misguided in our USPS criticism? Could it be that it is, in fact, Congress who screwed this all up?

From Postal News:
Through the first two months of its fiscal year, the US Postal Service, despite a weak economy and a sharp drop in first class mail, has made an operating profit of over a half billion dollars. At least that’s what the USPS would be reporting if it were allowed to operate as it was designed to forty years ago. Thanks to the “reform” law Congress enacted in 2006 after it was discovered that the USPS was overpaying its retirement obligations by billions of dollars every year, however, the service will once again have to turn its profits over to the Treasury, and borrow more money to keep operating.

For the month of November the USPS reported an unaudited net profit of $109 million on sales of $5.7 billion. Added to the operating profit reported in October, that brought year to date net profit to $549 million. Because of the 2006 law however, the USPS already owes the Treasury $917 million in so-called “trust fund” payments. Those charges are partially offset by another Congressional brainstorm, the monthly revaluation of the USPS’s workers comp liability. The bottom line however, is a net loss for November of almost a half billion dollars.

As bizarre as the whole shell game is, it’s probably the best current example of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill: Democrats get to shave a few billion off the national debt, and Republicans are spared the inconvenient example of a government run enterprise that makes a profit- instead warning of “taxpayer bailouts” when no “taxpayer” money is involved! It’s a win-win- at least for the politicians.
"Unaudited", as if that makes a difference.

21 comments:

W.C. Varones said...

Cut them loose and make them compete in the free market against UPS and FedEx. They won't last a year.

Whiny little government leeches.

Anonymous said...

W.C. Varones doesn't seem to be listening. The fact of the matter is that Congress is milking USPS for billions every year. They won't cut USPS loose because they don't want to give up the billions of dollars USPS contributes to the Treasury. USPS is in a very different market niche than UPS or FedEx so there would not likely be direct competition anyway. I suggest Mr. Varones purchase a Business 101 text book and do a little boning up on basic business concepts.

Anonymous said...

W.C Varones. Your statement is a typical, acknowledgeable statement, thrown out in anger. Why would USPS not last a year in the free market? In the free market, the USPS would be allowed to set their own rates (or allow the market to). Right now, the Post office must go through the postal regulatory commission and present a case on rate increases, and contend with major mailers crying arguing against a rate increase. Rates are artificially LOWER at the post office, because it is not in the free market. The postal service delivers parcels for far less than what both UPS and FEDEX charge. Postal delivery employees are paid considerably less than UPS delivery employees. Your statement is baseless, and is nothing more than a rant. In addition, both UPS and FEDEX use the post office to deliver many of their packages, especially in rural areas. In a Free market, customers in rural areas would see drastically higher postage costs.

Anonymous said...

JDA: First off, I would like to say that I sympathized with you in regards to your legitimate points you brought up in yesterday's post (Neither Rain Nor Snow Will Keep USPS From Sucking). If I was your carrier I would always make sure that yours and all my customers' mail is properly delivered. Also, thanks for bringing the Robbing Congress issue to the forefront.

Due to a number of factors, USPS has been cost-cutting at the expense of "service" and I assure you that the majority of postal employees have been disagreeing with this plan. Retail clerks are short-handed, a good number of mail boxes have been removed, carrier-routes expanded etc.

The article you quoted from postalnewsblog.com references to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, which placed a heavy burden on USPS finances. The Postal Service was mandated to prefund its retiree benefits (which was already properly funded) to the tune of $5.5+ billion every year until 2016. Take in consideration the greatest recession since the Great Depression and now you may see why this congressional legislature was nothing more than a dagger in the heart of the postal "service."

So the fact is that USPS would've reported about a half billion dollars in profit for the first two months of the current fiscal year, yet- what the public and postal-bashers see is a loss of about a $1 billion.

To give you a better example let's look at FY 2010. USPS reported a whopping $8.5 billion loss, but in reality $8 billion were in uncontrollable costs ($5.5 billion to the pension prefund and $2.5 billion in workers compensation adjustments). As a matter of fact, USPS would've made about $3.5 billion in profit since the enactment of the PAEA legislation. Not too shabby, is it?

OG

W.C. Varones said...

Union leaders and/or postal management are lying to the rank and file.

There is no way the pension fund is overfunded. It's perhaps less underfunded than it was, but still underfunded.

Do the math. Government slackers retire in their 50's and then live into their 80's or 90's. You think the money to fund those pensions grows on trees?

Anonymous said...

According to OIG latest study, USPS has overfunded $51.4 billion in pensions and $9.2 in retiree healthcare. No - money doesn't grow in trees and it doesn't come out of your pocket either.

OG

Darrell said...

Hey W.C., How many years do you plan on working before you retire? I started working for the USPS when I was 20. So after 35 years I could retire, I would be 55. What is wrong with that? And what is wrong with living until 80 or 90? Are you planing to die right after you retire? If so, please retire tomorrow.

W.C. Varones said...

Darrell,

You sniveling little shit.

I'm in the private sector, and like most in the private sector won't be able to retire until at least 65 because you government leeches are bleeding us dry.

Fuck you -- right in the ass!

mailman4 said...

Hey MC---If the job's so great why don't you work here ? Not smarter than a 5th grader ? Obviously not smarter than your mail carrier. Just like to insult your betters ? Just get back to work washing my mail truck, boy ! You can do your weird sexual stuff on your own time !

mailman4 said...

Best part about W.C.(water closet=toilet)is he probable will work until at least 65, but will have less years "actual " working, because he gets fired so often for being a foul mouthed punk. He'll live on unemployment 10-20 of those years.

Anonymous said...

Mailman4: it seems like this fuckwad has no basis for his insults. He'd elbow his way to work for a decent organization.

Anyways, back to the original and decent question: JDA, do you think a USPS profit (since 2006) of $3.5 billion is shabby considering the recession, PAEA and obvious drop in mail volume? Just a simple question.

OG

Jr Deputy Accountant said...

Now now, children, let's behave ourselves. Words like that should be reserved for cussing out people like Ben Bernanke.

Mailman4, I think you win a prize for sniffing out what WC actually stands for. Inadvertent clever is awesome, ain't it?

OG, I would not call that sort of profit shabby but where are the actual numbers that prove it?

Anonymous said...

JDA: first off, fuck Bernanke but not fuck the Federal Reserve Bank just yet. Are we OK with that?

Actually the $60.6 billion overpayment was just a teaser. You are clever indeed! The whole enchilada was more like $142 billion that USPS overpayed. Here is a link that may prove I wasn't blowing smoke up anybody's ass:

http://www.apwu.org/news/burrus/2010/update17-2010-101008.pdf

To be honest, I was lazy and did not provide the direct link to the OIG - instead, I settled for the highest Google search.

Thanks for agreeing that $3.5 billion profit is not too shabby. Have a nice day!

OG

PS - You know what ... fuck Greenspan too!

PPS - my comments keep getting deleted by the system. JDA, do you know anything about that - or am I technically un-savvy? Oh, I see .. that's what liber-tar-anism means. Thank you for the forum.

014 - that's your weapon? Ha! We deliver for you!

Anonymous said...

JDA: first off, fuck Bernanke but not fuck the Federal Reserve Bank just yet. Are we OK with that?

Actually the $60.6 billion overpayment was just a teaser. You are clever indeed! The whole enchilada was more like $142 billion that USPS overpayed. Here is a link that may prove I wasn't blowing smoke up anybody's ass:

http://www.apwu.org/news/burrus/2010/update17-2010-101008.pdf

To be honest, I was lazy and did not provide the direct link to the OIG - instead, I settled for the highest Google search.

Thanks for agreeing that $3.5 billion profit is not too shabby. Have a nice day!

OG

PS - You know what ... fuck Greenspan too!

PPS - my comments keep getting deleted by the system. JDA, do you know anything about that - or am I technically un-savvy? Oh, I see .. that's what liber-tar-anism means. Thank you for the forum.

015 - that's your weapon? Ha! We deliver for you!

Anonymous said...

JDA: first off, fuck Bernanke but not fuck the Federal Reserve Bank just yet. Are we OK with that?

Actually the $60.6 billion overpayment was just a teaser. You are clever indeed! The whole enchilada was more like $142 billion that USPS overpayed. Here is a link that may prove I wasn't blowing smoke up anybody's ass:

http://www.apwu.org/news/burrus/2010/update17-2010-101008.pdf

To be honest, I was lazy and did not provide the direct link to the OIG - instead, I settled for the highest Google search.

Thanks for agreeing that $3.5 billion profit is not too shabby. Have a nice day!

OG

PS - You know what ... fuck Greenspan too!

PPS - my comments keep getting deleted by the system. JDA, do you know anything about that - or am I technically un-savvy? Oh, I see .. that's what liber-tar-anism means. Thank you for the forum.

016 - that's your weapon? Ha! We deliver for you!

Anonymous said...

JDA, thanks for your reply. The link I gathered my information is provided above. With all due respect, are you disagreeing with me saying that FRB is not the problem here?

Please let me know. Thanks.

OG

W.C. Varones said...

OG,

1) Even if the cumulative overpayment is $142 billion, the USPS is still losing a lot more than that. You don't ignore pension costs when you calculate profitability.

2) The FRB is the problem, not just Bernanke and Greenspan. The dollar has lost 95%+ of its value in less than 100 years that the Dirty Fed has been around. Bernanke and Greenspan are responsible for only a small fraction of that.

Anonymous said...

W.C. Varones: how do you figure USPS is losing more than $142 billion? The pension costs can be offset through the recovery of the overpayments. Congress should immediately address this issue.

I support the FRB because Dirty Bankers wouldn't take long to bring the monetary system to imminent collapse.

The majority of those advocating the privatization of the Postal Service are either a little envious or have a financial interest in mind. Let me know if you know of any other reasons.

Are we done cussing?

OG

Anonymous said...

Why do people automatically assume that all cival service employees' retirement is funded by the taxpayer???? The only taxpayer that funded mine was me. The government doesn't privide me with free insurance either. W. C., there are plenty of companies in the private sector have their own pension plan, allowing their employees to retire at age 55. It's not everyone else's fault because you chose a company that does not. I guess you've never heard of investing as part of a retirement plan either.....

Jr Deputy Accountant said...

Anon,

Riddle me this then... we know the USPS is supposed to be self-funded but if they are operating in the red, who is keeping the lights on? Because when I'm in the red, I don't eat.

p.s. I'm sure you meant "civil". Turn on the red squiggly on your browser, makes life easier.

W.C. Varones said...

"there are plenty of companies in the private sector have their own pension plan, allowing their employees to retire at age 55."

You are completely out of touch with reality. Most companies that had pensions in the past are changing to 401k plans because pension liabilities are unsustainable!

And what private company allows rank-and-file employees to retire on fat pensions at 55? Find me one! Much less allowing that for thousands of uneducated, unskilled workers like mailmen. Such a company would go bankrupt rather quickly... which is perhaps why the post office is in the predicament it is.