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The Future Of Snail Mail

We’re talking about the U.S. Postal Service, on the brink of default and asking: could we, will we live without the U.S. mail? Or, with a very different postal service?

In this photo taken Wednesday Sept. 7, 2011, Allison Fisher, 25, visits a post office to mail textbooks in Worthington, Ohio. (AP)

In this photo taken Wednesday Sept. 7, 2011, Allison Fisher, 25, visits a post office to mail textbooks in Worthington, Ohio. (AP)

The United States Postal Service has more than half a million full-time employees. Only Wal-Mart has more.

It delivers mail to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and on snowmobile to the wilds of Alaska.

It was launched by Benjamin Franklin, and has delivered in rain, sleet and snow ever since. And now, the U.S. Mail is –- once again and really, really, really it says –- on the brink of default. Losing money hand over fist. Up against e-mail and Fed Ex and UPS and maybe soon a “death spiral” says the Postmaster General.

This hour On Point: could we, will we, should we live without the U.S. Mail.

-Tom Ashbrook


Marshall Van Alstyne, an Associate Professor at Boston University and a Visiting Professor at MIT. His work concerns information economics. In designing information goods, this research concerns competitive strategy and network effects.

Philip Herr, director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, Government Accountability Office.

Ed O’Keefe, Federal Eye columnist, Washington Post.

Robert Reisner, president of Transformation Strategy, a management consulting firm.


The postal service faces some daunting challenges – it is fast running out of cash in the short-term, but it also faces long-term structural problems due to the shrinking volume of physical mail and the explosion in e-mail.

“Not only is mail volume falling off a cliff, but labor costs are skyrocketing and account for 80 percent of their costs,” Ed O’Keefe, a reporter who covers the federal government for the Washington Post, told On Point today.

Marshall Van Alstyne in the On Point studio. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Marshall Van Alstyne in the On Point studio. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

One of the main problems drowning the mail service’s books in red ink is the fact that it is required by law to make significant contributions to workers’ retirement funds, to the tune of $5 billion per year. The post office doesn’t have a problem with pre-funding those accounts, said O’Keefe, but they’d rather do it at a lower level, say $1 billion. “It is basically making them go broke every year,” he said.

The country’s mail service is bound to change, but how fast that change will come and in what form, are big unanswered questions. “I’m sure there will be a dramatic evolution in what we mean by a post office, but in the short-term I think it’s a very important institution and critical to the democracy,” said Robert Reisner, president of Transformation Strategy, a management consulting firm, and a former senior official at the U.S. Postal Service.

Marshall Van Alstyne, an associate professor at Boston University, has studied the problems facing the post office and foresees a continuing – if much different – future for the U.S. mail. “[The post office] can become a platform, a purveyor of digital services for other folks – digital archiving, digital secure documents, Van Alstyne said. “We want to see if we can move the direction towards digital goods and services where you can have a sustained revenue stream. The difficulty is that digitization is going to happen, whether they like it or not. The trick is going to be getting efficiency to that.”

With budgets tight and the public in no mood to prop up failing business models, the pressure is on to redefine the post office for the next century.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it would seek to save the deficit-plagued Postal Service from an embarrassing default by proposing to give it an extra three months to make a $5.5 billion payment due on Sept. 30 to finance retirees’ future health coverage.”

Bloomberg “The inevitable can’t come quickly enough for some companies. In 2010, for the first time, households reported paying more bills electronically than by mail, according to the most recent USPS Household Diary Study. But only about 15 percent of consumer bills and statements are delivered exclusively online. Businesses spend about $30 billion each year printing, collating, and mailing documents, and a typical bill costs a company anywhere from 70¢ to a dollar to deliver. ”

Politico “The USPS, which has lost an average of roughly $7.5 billion a year for the past two years, is maxed out on its $12 billion line of credit with the Treasury Department and could default on a $5.5 billion payment it must make to a retiree health benefits fund by month’s end. That’s on top of the estimated $7 billion to $8 billion the USPS is projected to lose this year.”

The Washington Post “Competing legislative proposals from Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate are pending, and Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe wants lawmakers to vote by month’s end, when the Postal Service will have to pay more than $7 billion in statutory labor and health-care costs that Donahoe says are chiefly responsible for its financial collapse.”

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VDH4GYJMIUFU373W3XUQVD2V4E Patrick

    America is a nation of deliberate crises.  It is not a mistake that we’re speculating about an America without a national mail system, a product of the thoughtful efforts of our founders and the able management of Benjamin Franklin.

    This crisis, like the cynical attacks on Social Security and Medicare, is also deliberate. The proponents of cut-rate privatization are pretending that market competition could exist where it won’t.  What private shipping company is going to send your mail to the Bering Strait?  What private shipping company will come to your home and set up mailboxes on your street and guarantee a reasonable rate of postage?  People, get a grip!  There is no reason for private shipping — there is no “free market” here!

    So why the drama?  As usual, cynical politicians are being bought off by private industries whose business models involve chiselling out a “free market” where none belongs or should rationally exist.  Notable examples here include FedEx with $25M annual lobbying (UPS had $4.5M) –Open Secrets.  Granted, much of this goes to infighting between the two companies and their respective labor statuses.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      I use all of these services and they all work for me. I don’t want to get rid of FedEx or UPS, I’d just like the USPS to be better managed so that it beaks even on its budget. No profit necessary on a service like this, just break even so that it lasts forever.

      Many Americans will have no clue how important this service is until it’s gone. Let’s not let that happen.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If USPS almost exclusively delivered print magazines and mail order catalogues, would their business plan make more sense or less sense?   Now that there is a 13-ounce limit above which you must show up at the post office in order to mail something, I find that I may need to take a taxi to the post office now and then.  And then what I mail often consists of documents which could be e-mailed if certain supervisors felt e-mail was secure enough.  So issues of security, as to whether I’m mailing bombs and as to whether something going over the internet is more secure, seem to be at the top.  If the USPS can save a ton of money by having regular 40-hour workweeks, and everybody having Saturday and Sunday off, that makes sense. They could run an Express service for those days and bill extra for pickup, which I think they do for Sundays anyways.
        But with the catalogues, the carriers tell me they like to deliver those because it keeps them in business.  For my part, I like to see what is available for purchase, in a way much more time-efficient than heading for malls.  This “junk” is not junk for someone who does not have a car.  So let’s not preempt a greener future and forbid this kind of marketing.   I can still be local by asking local merchants to stock this or that, but mainly I save a lot of money because of the exposure.  As to print magazines, I’m not sure these existed in quite the same way in Benjamin Franklin’s day.    

  • Doug Giebel

    In our self-described Greatest Nation On Earth, it seems almost criminal that the federal government is incapable of (or unwilling to) fund something as essential to each individual as the postal service. Perhaps if we had to pay for e-mailing and “texting” it would put the USPS in the black and eliminate most of the meaningless, wasted and often-annoying
    “messaging” at the same time.
    Doug Giebel
    Big Sandy, Montana

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Doug: We do have to pay for texting (well, most people do anyway) but email is another story although most people pay something for internet access in their homes.

      I agree though, we need the post office in addition to the other forms of communication.

  • Mr. Hankey

    Great post!

    Conservatives have done to the Post Office what they want to do to public education, medicare/medicaid, social security, etc., etc…

    … namely, privatize the government program that people depend on, subsequently watch it fail, then blather on about how nothing touched by the government ever works… never mind it worked great for decades or centuries before conservatives got their grimy mitts on it.

    There are programs and entities which serve the greater good in our nation, and which fill the needs of many citizens whose needs would otherwise be utterly neglected… the USPS is such an entity.

    The ignorance required to misunderstand the concept of “greater good” is astounding, yet conservatives have mastered dunderheadedness and are flushing our society down the pot Republican turd by Republican turd.

    It will be great having vast, sprawling ghettos again… maybe some Brazilian style favelas around every metropolitan area… the majority of ignorant conservatives won’t be living in the protected, isolated, gated communities… by then, the wealthy will have used these idiots up and scraped them off their shoes. Of course, also by then,  it will be far too late for any of us. Howdy Ho, Rick Perry!

    • Cory

      Awesome, Mr. Hankey!  Hopefully once we are all in Bravillian style ghettos they will let us celberate Carnival once per year!

    • Beez

      If Americans can have the bodies of Brazilians it might be worth it

  • Perullamafarm

    I lkive in a small rural town. If you travel 25 miles to Staples, you will often see a waiting list at the self service FAX and photocopy machines. Why doesn’t the post office have one in every small branch? Instead, they sold Walt Disney ties, and, in answer to my question, my postmaster said not only did they not sele any, but no one even looked at them.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      I think you make an excellent point.

      While I think the post office must be saved, instead of incorporating useful business services they sell crap.

      Better management and a large bailout will certainly help.

  • Dee

    The local post offices determine a person’s legal place of residence..
    I guess– in much the same way the date of birth determines a time
    in place…. 

    Please leave our post offices alone as I still send out cards, and bills
    and packages and expect to get themselves in the mail too. Go after
    the pension system– if anything as it seems that is what is gobbling
    up much needed operating cost today…..Dee

  • Dee from NYS

    The Post Office provides a service, not a commodity. It has, in fact provided that service for over 200 years and does it in exemplary fashion. The fact the Postal Union is the last extant federal employment union and thus slated for drowning in Grover Norquist’s bathtub is key to understanding the hows and whys of this situation. The mails are and can be delivered on time. The crisis, like every other we now face as a nation, has been deliberately manufactured by the Disaster Capitalists, who can’t stand the thought of not separating the People from the last shreds of their wealth.

    • Cory

      It is a little early to do this, but…  Dee, I’d like to buy you an ale or lager of your choosing!  Outstanding coment, beautifully expressed!

  • Patty in Minnesota

    I’ve been a postal worker for 26 years, the last 16 of them in a mail processing facility, one of many “invisible” employees that the general public isn’t even aware of.  My greatest frustration in this debate is the plethora of misconceptions that are out there about the PO and it’s workers.  The unthruths range from being supported by tax dollars to our lavish benefits and pensions.  There has been a concerted effort by the right-wing politcians to foster these lies in their push to privatize the PO which has been going on long before I started in 1985.  It’ll be a damn shame if we allow it to happen.

    • Cory

      Bless you and your job.  You are worth every cent!

  • Winston Smith

    The wages and especially benefits (a ridiculous number of vacation and sick days, a ridiculously high match on their 401K, a ridiculously low retirement age) need to be cut to be in line with the private sector.  I as a taxpayer should not have to subsidize this featherbedding pillaging of the American taxpayer.  Another example of unions destroying the country.  The business model needs to be changed to be competitive and financially viable just as a private sector would have to do if it wished to survive.  But then again, the postal union’s position is that the U.S. government can just run the printing presses and print more money so that their life of obscene leisure can continue.  If they aren’t willing to work for a reasonable package, then fire the whole lot of them.  There are plenty of people out there that would take their jobs.  Reagan had it right when he fired all of the air traffic controllers because of their hard line union position and their willingness to shut down the country rather than face economic reality.

    • Markus

      Friend became a temporary letter carrier when he lost his job in the private sector. He had to find things to do during the day because the time they gave him to complete his route was several hours too long. Apparently, there are mail boxes with a bar code that the letter carrier needs to scan to control how fast he goes on his route – or in this case, to slow him down. He figured that even at a relaxed pace, they needed a third less letter carriers.
      Post office hired a consultant to help with efficiency. He showed how millions could be saved by eliminating one computer center in Ca. Post office management very politely said they couldn’t because of a congressman who pressured them not to.
      My uncle was a letter carrier til he retired young. I spent summers with his family. I was amazed at how many days he called in sick, then off to OTB (off track betting).
      We need the post office. But from a little bit of personal experience and some knowledge of their internals, it appears massively inefficient. I blame Congress, the unions and a board that is politically appointed and largely incompetent.  

      • Gregg

        Thanks for the insight. The private sector motivated by profit will almost always do a better job than government. With UPS or FedEx I can track my shipment from the warehouse to my doorstep, not so with USPS.

        Public sector unions are an abomination as FDR knew.

        “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

        • Cory

          “The private sector motivated by profit will almost always do a better job than government.”

          Like Enron or Edsel or Backwater/Xe, right?

          “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” – Obi Wan Kenobi, in Star Wars episode III

          • Anonymous

            Episodes 1-3 should not have been made. 

          • Cory

            I’ll agree about episode II.  The wisdom of Master Obi Wan is still undeniable…

          • Gregg

            I’ve never seen any of the episodes. Is it “Star Wars”? I do know they were were more successful than these.

          • Gregg

            I said “almost always”, that’s not an absolute. I certainly did not mean to imply all private sector enterprises succeed. Enron is a good example why unethical practices are not good business. When an entity puts it’s own money at risk they are much more careful with it. I seriously doubt my mail carrier cares a lot if my letter gets lost in the mail, it does not affect her paycheck. Failure is a necessary part of the process and not always a bad thing. Lessons are learned. The Edsel failed but Ford did alright in the end. I’m not sure which sold more the Edsel or the Government Motors Volt. We all pay the price for that debacle.

          • Cory

            There are some people who take pride in their work for its own sake though.  I’d like to consider myself one of them.

          • Gregg

            Me too. That’s probably why we both are working in this down cycle.

    • Cory

      Why do we so begrudge folks who still manage to make a decent wage?  I’m happy for them.  Please don’t tell me it’s because you pay their wages.  You pay the wage of multi millionaire CEOs as well, just not through taxes.  It is a sort of conservative class envy.

      • Gregg

        The difference is freedom of choice.

        • Cory

          Gregg, you can change our government however you like through the power of democracy and your vote.  You have no such power over a privately held company.

          • Gregg

            It takes millions of votes to change government. When it comes to where I spend my money I only need one, mine.

    • Dalbin

      No, the American taxpayer does not fund the Postal Service. It is a self-funded organization.

      2006 Congressional mandate put on the US Postal Service contained in the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006” to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees, a 75 year liability over a 10 year period. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. This provision costs the Postal Service $5.5 billion a year. When you add in an adjustment that was made in how workers’ compensation costs were calculated based

      • Winston Smith

        Then how is the post office going to fund their projected $8 billion loss this year?  Sell bonds?  Who’s going to finance their debt?  And if something doesn’t change, then they will default on that debt.  Guess who pays that?  Us, the U.S. taxpayer.  And I certainly won’t get paid for my unused sick days when I retire.  Why should they get paid for them?  And I’m all for paying for health and retirement benefits up front.  Why should they generate a debt and leave that to…you know who…us again?  Believe me, like any other government agency, when the post office is losing billions with no hope for recovery, you and I will get stuck with the tab regardless of what current laws say.

        • Anonymous

          If you like paying in full the cost of one’s government program, avoiding fraud, and getting the desired results, you have to love Social Security and hate the military-security complex.  Right?

        • Brianrcosby

          I retired from the u.s. postal service in 2009 and was not paid for my unused sick leave, they never have and they never will, but you are paid for any vacation time you earned if you have any hours left, which most employees don’t have anyway. I don’t know who gave you that misleading information.

  • Peettamburino


    Why does the postmaster general get the second highest salary in the entire U.S. government? Maybe he should take a pay cut first, then start laying off eorkers.

    • Cory

      Well I think you are overpaid, and should take a pay cut.  Your benefit package is also too generous.  You can certainly survive on less.

      I don’t even know you or your situation, yet all the things I said above are true, from a certain prospective.  I’m a soft hearted lefty though, so I consider it hostile to attack someone I don’t know in such a way.

      Just remember, if your boss could keep more of what he pays you, he’d be more free to create jobs, or purchase more goods and sevices that create jobs.

      • notafeminista

        And yet the left sees fit to attack corporate CEOs in the very manner described here every day.

  • AC

    i don’t know why they don’t take advantage of their existing infrastructure and expand their flat rate package sizes? i’ll admit, that’s the only time I have gone to the post office in the last ~5yrs….but whenever I buy something online, if shipping’s not free, i usually wait 7-10days and still pay ~$10+ and it’s usually 1 of the 2 bigger private carriers. The USPS could totally take over this market…or what am I missing?

  • Drivingguy

    Just raise the prices till you cover your output, those who need this type of service will pay, cant remember the last time I used any of services they offer. Dont we go through this ever 5 years or so.

     If we dont get a few things done in this Nation, we are doomed

  • Dave in CT

    The Howls will come, the day will pass, and before we know it, aside from nostalgia, we won’t even miss it. Someone else will come to your mailbox.

    That transition from sea to land was tough too….

  • Cory

    The USPS is a miracle.  I can put a letter in my mailbox, and for less than a buck someone will come to my home and deliver it to Honolulu, Baghdad, or Sapporo.  I get magazines and local papers delivered to my home.  So nice.

    Raise price of postage as needed to keep this important service afloat, I’ll gladly pay more.

    Or…  dismantle and privatize it so postage can be super expensive and maintain some fat corporate structure with a super rich CEO at the top and shareholders who skim profit off the top with an eye only on short term profit.  Now THAT is a “capital” idea!  

  • Gregg

    In the private sector, more efficiency equals more profit. In the public sector less efficiency equals more funding.

    • Cory

      Gregg, I know you are not a monolithic conservative.  I know you are a critical thinker.  What is your solution to the postal problem?

      • Gregg

         I don’t claim to be an expert on the USPS, but I would oppose any bailout, I am confident the private sector would fill the void more efficiently if the USPS went under and I would dramatically curtail union influence.

        As far as a “solution” goes, I’ll leave it to people smarter than me. I don’t have a solution for nuclear fusion either but I support it.

  • Rational

    What is the truth behind this debt? Is it just too little mail over too many boxes? Are there lavish pensions?  Overpaid employees?

    The one thing I’m certain about is that it can be fixed… if truthful, rational non-partisan are in the analysis, and subsequent restructuring.

    Nobody needs mail every day. Three days per week is more than enough.

    Stop raising the price of postage. They are really shooting themselves in the foot here.

    The PO building in my town (appx. 40K people) is HUGE (2 acre plot, 5 stories tall). It has six parking spaces, two of those are for handicapped.

    The next town over is a small ranch house turned into a PO. It has 40 parking spaces, and everybody goes there. And it has a drive up letter box (so simple, and so very very efficient).

    If they could fix GM they can fix the PO. I don’t know for sure…but I’m willing to bet that there are a bunch of overpaid brain dead executives in the PO that are making 200 times the base salaried worker.

    This country needs a PO.  So fix it!

    I just received notice via the mail yesterday that the CC auto payment for my internet had stopped in may, and I was 6 month overdue. The company stopped taking that type of card. I didn’t notice what wasn’t on my statements, so the PO was the way this company decided to contact me. The phone is unpredictable, and email is filtered, or lost. 

    But its impossible to ignore the mail.

    • Cory

      I agree with most of your post but have a question about this statement you make:       “If they could fix GM they can fix the PO. I don’t know for sure…but I’m willing to bet that there are a bunch of overpaid brain dead executives in the PO that are making 200 times the base salaried worker.”

      Do you have this same objection about the private sector?  I suspect it happens as often in the private sector as it does in the public, it is just not as easy a target.

      • Rational

        Of course I have the same objection toward the private sector. Corporate waste is not just vacations, and unnecessary infrastructure, etc… It’s also executive pay.

        This is a US thing,befitting a plutocracy, and all its tenets. Wagoner and Lutz ran GM into the ground and they couldn’t care less. Why? Because their salaries and employment contracts put them above the fate of the business. Indeed many of them contractually make more if the business fails!

        Rick Wagoner GM salary 2000: $14.4 million
        Allan Mulally Ford salary 2006: $21.7 million
        Katsuaki Watanabe Toyota 2005: $900,000

        Its also interesting to compare the backgrounds of these executives. Especially their education.

  • Yar

    A big part of the Postal Service problem is healthcare inflation.  As our GDP shrinks and more people become uninsured, the cost for those who buy insurance goes up.  We have socialized medicine with a regressive funding system.  We pay for healthcare for all by taxing consumers of health services, in essence we have a health usage tax, even though it isn’t identified as such.  Every stamp you buy has a few pennies of healthcare redistribution built in.  Think of it as a healthcare stamp tax.  Until the economy collapsed, the USPS was able to carry the health tax, when mail volume shrank and healthcare inflation kept rising it made them lose money.  Nobody wants to talk about the redistribution of healthcare dollars or admit we collect a health use tax through insurance.  President Obama was correct in attempting to address healthcare when he first came into office, the problem is he didn’t get the reforms needed.  We must look at reducing health costs and making the payment of those costs more progressive.  I ask that your guests address the issues of healthcare cost redistribution and how regressive our current system is for collecting payment for our socialized medical system.

  • Anonymous

    I only check my mailbox twice a week unless I’m expecting something.  Most of it is crap that I don’t want.  And then I have to recycle it.  Junk mail should have to pay first class rates or allow a return to sender option. 

    Many of the offices in rural areas should be shut.  I’m tired of rural Republican states complaining about taxes and Federal spending and then whining when their inefficient local services are cut. 

  • Yar

    FedEx partnered with Kinko’s to provide better service, what would happen it the postal service expanded into the print business as well?  Just think, instead of trucking magazines and newspapers all across the country, they could be printed in your local post office. Reduce rural route delivery to every other day.  Price services at the true cost of delivery.

    • TFRX

      At some point people who run print businesses for money would have something to say about that.

      The peculiarity of a postal service is that it has to be there, but also has no opportunity to expand into what private companies do. That’s against the whole idea of a public sector doing what a private sector won’t (roads, etcs), and I’m sure it’s in a black and white law somewhere.

      It’s interesting that there’s no cry from the FedExes, UPSes and others to take over the task of driving to every business and residence address every business day.

  • Jsexton9

    Isn’t “Junk Mail” being given a big discount?  That could be eliminated.  Also getting more competitive with UPS and FedEx might be worth a little more effort.  Since the local carrier will pick up out-going mail you leave in your own mailbox, I don’t see the need for those blue boxes curbside.  It might also be good to publicize a little more than is being done now the “satellite” locations at places like 7-11 and certain supermarkets.  Outgoing mail can be left at these locations too.  Finally (for this comment, anyway), Saturday deliveries wouldn’t be missed by most of us.

    • Rational

      I don’t know if this has been noticed by anyone else. But I have placed orders that were UPS or Fedex, and actually were converted to USPS. I even had UPS and Fedex partial deliveries. As in UPS or Fedex delivered the package to USPS, and then USPS delivered the package to me. 

      Odd stuff, because the parcel delivery packaging and labels would be on the box and over those would be a USPS label. It would seem that the private sector does NOT want to deliver to every address in the US.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I just had that happen to me also – I thought it was strange -  I was also still able to track the package through USPS

  • ebw343

    Responding to other commenters:
    - UPS and FedEx have already creamed off a market share of the most profitable operations. 
    - I fail to understand why we’re supposed to resent unionized public sector workers. Perhaps it’s private sector wages, benefits and hours that should be “brought in line” with those? Aw, but poor old Grover Norquist wouldn’t be happy.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that bulk mail is charged LESS than first-class. The USPS is subsidizing junk mail (and would no doubt be forced to seek Congressional approval in the face of a well-funded industry lobby to change that). Imagine how profitable the postal service would be, even with far less junk mail, if that which remained had to pay retail rates.

  • Emjones

    So don’t deliver mail on Wednesday. WTF?

  • Liminalx

    As I read the Constitution of the United States of America; in Section 8. it seems to mandate “To establish Post Offices and post Roads.”  The Constitution says NOTHING about the Post Offices make a profit, it says nothing about postal employees’ collective bargaining rights, it says nothing about private sector competition… It said the Federal Government is compelled to provide postal service and maintain postal roads.  Perhaps UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc., should be taxed additionally for their use of the post roads (by the mile).

    And stop attacking the Public Sector!

    Keith W.   

    • Cory


  • john in danvers

    Funny people think USPS should make money.

    It’s a public service, guys.  

    One its main purposes early on was to knit the country together with common communication.  One way it did this was to subsidize the distribution of newspapers, which were often little more than political screeds.  But it worked.  

    A similar idea today would be to have public broadband and ditch the telco’s.  

    So quit complaining.  

  • salzburg

    Living overseas I used to depend on the US Postal service for cards, packages and personal notes, but in the last five years my recipients often did not receive items. Relatives tell me drug addicts steal mail and even postal carriers have been caught dumping mail in the Rio Grande river.

    Hand written communication is lovely, but if the system is not reliable then one stops using it. 

    USPS also discontinued the overseas bulk rate awhile ago. They trained their users to go else where. No depending on them.

  • super sox

    I appreciate the post office trying to stay in the game with their free pick up service. I used to hate the post office, but the last few years the customer service seems to be much better- and for shipping packages they are so much cheaper than UPS or Fedex. I hope they can make it work

  • mundy

    this is evidence of a serious change in the souls of the modern day americans.  it saddens me that we have become a society so dependent on instantaneous communication that we no longer use the post.  call me an idealist, or a dreamer but what will it take for us to see that we must slow down the way in which we communicate on some level.  inconvenience is the only thing that might save us at this point.

  • Travist Tarpy

    Bloated govt. It’s that simple.
    Delivering the mail is not a “high skilled” job. Pay them accordingly.

  • rj

    Why are we talking about post office pensions at all? Hello, we taxpayers haven’t had pensions with employment since I joined the workforce 25 years ago!

    • Anonymous

      Don’t you find it interesting that the “greatest generation” and its business and government leaders took for granted that fixed benefit pensions were to be standard operating procedure. 

      Now we have  the 401(k) which transferred all the market risk from the professional money mangers to the individual who is invariably less skilled and has fewer resources.  Oh, and those financial pros still get paid, quite handsomely, and without any real risk, for touching “your” money, even if all of it is lost.

    • Cory

      Oh, poor taxpayer!  Maybe you should move to another western country with lower taxes (if you can find one)

  • TFRX

    “Is there support for the USPS? Maybe not,” says our host.

    This is so Beltway Inbred it makes my teeth ache.

    Y’know what we could do? Hold a flashmob town hall run by CNET, or an online poll at Wired, and let that be the end of it.

    (It’s pathetic that it will have to be explained the above is a joke.)

  • rj

    Post office should be open nights and weekends like other retail businesses have to be, and cut back on business hours when consumers are at work. My mom was a small business owner and always had to work nights and Saturdays when i was growing up. That’s life. If the post office wants to be a business it’s got to stop keeping bureaucrats’ hours. And that can be accomplished WITH cuts.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I have no objection to a postal kiosk in retail stores, so long as Congress removes the ban on carrying a concealed handgun into a post office.  If the ban remains, I can see a move to extend the ban throughout the whole store.

    • Cory

      I agree.  I can’t reasonably be expected to drop off my mail without a nine on my waist, can I?

    • Anonymous

      Just what the Post Office needs – more guns! 

  • http://twitter.com/en_b ian berry

    Post offices used to be such grand ambassadors of our government to the community and now they’re just an unpleasant experience.
    Dirty, disheveled, and occupied by grouchy attendants.

    • Cory

      Maybe it’s dirty and old and the employees crabby because their funding, pay, and benefits are alternately being threatened or reduced.

  • MoChaMan

    I believe that the USPS is necessary but Saturday delivery is not . Due to the massive increase in electronic mail , delivery should be reduced to Monday Wednesday and Friday . Mass / Junk mailers argue that they need it so ads arrive when people begin their weekend shopping . They should just time their ( useless ) ads to arrive on Friday . People won’t pick up their mail until Friday evening anyway. I know that’s when I throw it in the recycling bin .
    It’s too bad Congress did not see fit to let the USPS own the “.us” top level domain so they could evolve into the next century handling electronic as well as physical mail delivery . That is yet another decision based on private greed instead of the public good .

  • Rational

    There is a logistical problem here that the parcel delivery services like fedex and ups cannot handle. In an apartment building or condo complex the mail boxes are massed to simplify delivery.

    UPS or Fedex would have to have their own boxes… They would not be sharable or they would have to attempt repeated delivery over and over again at each residence.

  • Rob

    It’s hard not to see the post office issue in the context of a broad assault on the middle class, unionized workers, and government services.

  • Rghoyt1

    Why is Social Security going to electronic payments and NOT supporting the post office if it’s in trouble? Shouldn’t the government give it’s business to the post office?

    • Vermont22us

      I would imagine that social security mailings are sent for free… it would seem silly for one federal agency to pay for the services of another federal agency.

  • Anonymous

    Lets be honest, the mail isnt going anywhere…  A few suggestions for fixing the post office…

    1.  More of those 24 Hour Postal Stations located in places where people can access them 24 hours a day and restricted Post Office hours… Maybe the office should only be open one day a week to handle exception packages such as international shipments.

    2.  Raising rates for Saturday Delivery.  If you need your package on Saturday, you can pay extra for that.

    3.  Creating a Sunday Delivery for Packages and charging extra for them.

    4.  Raise rates on package delivery comparable to UPS and Fedex.  Right now for $5.00 you can send a small package.  It’s much more expensive to do that with UPS and Fedex.

    And there is no doubt that a restructuring of the retirement payments would not hurt.

    I’d rather lower the number of people in the office all day (while their customers are at work) than reduce delivery.

    • Modavations

      Name me a govt.branch.or program that ever goes away.Unfortuneatly ,up to 120,000 employees may

  • Beez

    I think those dudes in Iran WERE spies!!

    • Modavations

      Surely there is more to this story then meets the eye.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I pay bills without stamps wherever possible, mainly by paying by the year.  But then the companies keep sending me statements, with first class postage, every month anyway.  I guess they want to keep the USPS in business.

  • Mike

    Congress should have forced FEDEX & UPS to serve rural areas of this country when they were allowed to enter into mail delivery system, especially the Priority & Overnight mails, Parcel post. This would have created a level playing field. As of now, FEDEX & UPS don’t have to serve rural areas; they pick & choose areas they want to serve.

    • Cory

      Somebody told me that the free market will solve all these problems…

  • Daniellesway

    I work for the usps in new england. I have to tell you that seventy five percent of what ii deliver is junk. Catalogs, advertisements,credit card offers, etc. And about seventy five percent of the people I deliver it to DON’T WANT IT. The usps cannot compete with modern technology of the personal computer.

    • Rationa

      I agree. The bulk of my paper recycling is mailed to me.

      • TFRX

        I don’t usually “pimp” websites, but Catalogchoice dot org has really cut down on the direct-to-recycling-bin stuff at my place.

    • Cory

      Fine.  You’re fired!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XJMNTQ6EKSBKA6SHI3WZNRUKFI ChristyS

    I am a postal worker in a rural area.  I see people who have no bank accounts, who have no computers, who depend on the postal service each and every day.  If you get rid of the postal service you put the elderly and the poor at a great disadvantage.
    I believe that there are many post offices that can be closed, and I am not against getting rid of Saturday delivery. But are there “Golden Parachutes” and Postal executives who will lose their jobs also?

  • JP

    Without the USPS to temper them, watch other parcel services skyrocket in price… and this in an era when all purchases are increasingly being made online… what will this do to commerce in America???

  • Ellen Dibble

    You can order stamps from the internet, but what I’d really like to have at the pharmacy or local minimart would be those machines where you can send a package that weighs more than 13 ounces — or buy postage.  It takes a photo of you, for security purposes, and they say that photo has to be taken the day that you mail the package.

  • Jim in Lexington, KY

    Why should it cost as much (as little) to send a first-class letter across town as it does from Florida to Alaska?  Why not, as I think it is with packages, charge more (or less) to send a letter depending upon the distance it must travel.

  • Anonymous

    Mail Delivery Boxes at Union Station sounds like a security risk to me.  Can we guarantee that packages delivered there aren’t explosive?  I am pretty sure no one is going to send a bomb to me at my house…  But if they can send a package to anyone at Union Station, that would be a risk.

  • MK

    The Post office should close offices, in Barnstable, MA (pop 48,000) there are 10 post offices, 3 within 2 miles of each other.  In the past the Post office has purchased employees home when the employee was transfered, even when the transfer was only 10 miles (60 Minutes did an article on this practice a few years ago).  This agency wastes tons of money.  The volume of mail has decreased 25%, if a private company had that kind of reduction in marketshare they would have staff reductions, the Post Office has to reduce their staff.  Also, check their benefits, very generous.

  • Badexample

    Facebook produces nothing…market cap is only what the next fool is willing to pay for the stock

    • TFRX

      Yeah, we can talk apples, oranges and kumquats more readily than GM, Facebook and the USPS.

      Until the day I can “Like” and get new valve cover gasket through my wifi, that is.

  • Daniellesway

    You should also know that the postmaster general makes $800,000 a year.

    • Cory

      The leftfielder for my pro-baseball team makes 10 million dollars per year.

    • Modavations

      I trust this is a joke?Imagine the combined total of all the other management types.Probably a zillion,or two.I keep thinking of that movie Brazil

  • brian parizek

    as a start, i would say that congress needs to move forward on the Donahoe proposal.   the price for all that “garbage” mail needs to go up…at least to half the first class rate.

  • Anonymous

    The Post Office should just tell all of their creditors that the check is in the mail. 

    • Modavations


  • Philis

    I’ve been listening and so far have not heard anyone comment about the value of the post office in rural areas.  In Lexington where I live in Kentucky we have lots of options, but most of the state does not because it is very rural.  Many places only have dial-up Internet (not high speed) and even cell phone service is very spotty.  The post office is the link to the outer world for the isolated communities — most of which are also very poor.  Do we, as a country, have a responsibility to all our citizens or only to the people who live in cities?

    • Guest-22

      There are many, many  people (myself included) who do not trust online services for banking and bill paying. Too often, hacking and power failures, along with other glitches, degrade security and reliability. Until banks can guarantee that their computers are absolutely unhackable, I will trust only the USPS for banking and bill paying. Private companies simply cannot be trusted and cannot be held as accountable. Plus, with computer services costing more and more for a simple subscription, many are being priced out. Computer services for many middle class and poor families are already a myth.

      • Cara L.

        Isn’t it just as easy for a person to take an envelope?

        • Yar

          My bank is 75 miles away, I don’t use online banking, no it is not as easy to take in an envelope.

        • Lori C

          I have always sent and received every vital communication through the USPS.  However, my email has been hacked thrice and my personal information stolen which was stored on a university server.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The Postal Service is the part of the Federal government that I interact with daily, and it’s the most visibly efficient part.  Perhaps it’s time for the post office to operate more of the government.

    • Cory

      Especially congress.

  • Sandra W.

    As an employee of the USPS, it has been painfully clear that we need drastic changes to survive. While many of my fellow workers are as entrenched in the old system as are many of our customers, everyone can adjust to change if handled fairly. But it’s been very frustrating to watch congress refuse to make the changes that even the majority of us are willing to accept NOW… eliminate Saturday residential delivery, close small unprofitable offices and move them into stores, increase postage rates (we have some of the lowest rates for what we offer in the world).

    But, something I never hear spoken of is the fact that the Post Office is not allowed to work as a business entity… while we operate totally on the monies earned from services and not from taxpayer funds, we have not been allowed to accrue funds from profitable years… it is absorbed into the general fund so there is no cushion for lean years!

    Congress needs to allow us to operate as most businesses so we can make day to day change quickly as neededs!

    Sandra W.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    No, no, no–I don’t want to be tracked.  Not by a business, and not by a government.

    • Modavations

      You better toss your cell phone,quit driving new cars and never use a credit card

  • Vudumike

    When I lived in Snowmass Village CO, we had NO home mail delivery, like many other small towns. Everyone went to the post office to get their mail while they ran errands. It was convenient enough and a great way to run into your neighbors, and the post office only employed one person.

  • OneLittleBird

    i find this troubling. however much the business model needs to change – the electronic transformation of society is not something everyone has access to. anyone who speaks of the post office as disposable because of digitisation is speaking out of a mindset of technological, social and economic privilege.
    as an immigrant to the US, i cannot imagine my life without the post office.
    and for the record – my local postal service is fantastic. the staff are helpful and friendly, and one only need look at the folks in line to see that there is a broad cross section of society relying on their service.
    the same issues are facing postal services elsewhere, but we should all be wary of thinking we can gut this service and not have a significant detrimental impact on society.
    there is far more to the postal service than ‘being a business’.

  • Modavations

    Once again the unions destroy.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Isn’t this the fault of Congress?

    • brian parizek

      lazy commentary…management also has a part in the cost and failure of the system.

      • Modavations

        Again,the unions have over promisecd and another,once proud institution is undone. 

    • Cory

      For once, you are correct.  Unions destroy (tyranny by management and ownership, dangerous workplace conditions, hopelessness for workers, child labor exploitation etc etc)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=741939451 Neal Gaffey

    The US Postal Service is amazing when you really think of it. Who else is going to take a letter across 8,000 plus miles, three to five time zones, Puerto Rico to American Samoa, Nome to Key West, usually within a few days, all for only 44 cents? If we lose it, we lose an important part of our national idenity.

  • mundy

    here’s the thing- as you continue to revise systems based on our current systems in practice, you continue to face similar difficulties down the road.  creating a usps that mimes amazon is not necessarily the answer.  furthermore, i find that this dialogue is elevated towards an upper middle class whereas i think the number of working class and working poor will essentially be excluded from these systematic revisions.  wait 15 years (if this thing even takes off) and see what mire we’re wallowing in then…

  • Margery

    Residential delivery should be reduced to 3 days a week rather than 6. There is nothing I receive that couldn’t wait a day or so.

  • Modavations

    Let UPS,Fed Ex,Dhl,et al., deliver the mail.I believe they are forbidden to do so by law.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      And how much will it cost to mail a letter?  Those who have little money would be hurt if mailing letters, documents, etc. shoots up in price.

      • Modavations

        Quit using the poor as your constant excuse.Your paternalism is oppressive.What did we do for the thousands of yrs.before the P.Off.?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Paternalism?  No, it’s standing with my brothers and sisters.

          • Modavations

            As in Union Thugs

        • TFRX

          For thousands of years, when “literacy” was something largely a skill limited to clerics and royalty? Or when a king ruled people, and a “well informed” citizenry (not yet called an “electorate”) was something to be feared rather than encouraged?

          Gee, whatever could be the hole in that line of thinking?

          • Modavations

            Tell that to the Greeks and Romans.If I were Finland, I’d demand the Parthenon for collateral ,on the debt

        • Cory

          I’d rather hear that from someone who is poor.  I’m QUITE sure they don’t want you to speak for them a few sentences after quoting Reagan.

          • Modavations

            This station is the exclusive perview of “swells”

    • TFRX

      If they could do it for 44 cents, wouldn’t the Heritage Hacks have been beating the drum for them already?

      The dirty little secret of the USPS is that fuel is expensive, and every time it gets moreso, it costs the USPS more money.

      And your beloved privateers don’t want to drive to every residence and business address 6x or 4x a week without someone paying them 44 cents or bulk mail rates.

      • Modavations

        The dirty little secret is the unions prommised their cadres too much and it’s killed them.But what’s new there

      • Modavations

        I believe that’s a subsidized rate and we pay for that through our taxes.Tell me the unsubsidized cost and i[‘LL BET MY ENTIRE BANK ROLL THAT ups WILL BEAT IT BY A MILE.

        • TFRX

          Your belief?

          Your proof. Do your own homework.

          And good luck getting the private corps to hold to an agreement to do something when their bottom line says its a bad idea. Try to learn the difference betweeen a service and a corporation someday.

          The USPS is obligated to drive to every business and residence address 6x or 5x a week.

          If UPS and FedEx etc wanted to do that, it’d be a talking point on Fox Bidness right now, and the NPRs of the world would be helpless to not cover it, because “the idea is out there” in circulation. And they’d be flogging the idea of “we should be able to compete for it” or “we could do it without any funds”.

          I posit that the Ben Steins and CEIs of our “question everything gov’t does or authorizes, after the GOP has dedicated itself to running it into the ground” mediascape don’t have one single iron in the fire means something about the economic uberlords.

          • Modavations

            Ronaldos Magnus:The nine most dangerous words…..I’m from the govt.and I’m here to help.

          • Cory

            Ape the ape.

          • Modavations

            Troll please

        • Cory

          Uh, wrong.

          • Modavations

            And the unsubsidized rate is?

  • Robin

    The USPS is NOT BROKE. An audit by the Office of Inspector General found that the post office has overfunded its pension fund by $75 billion, which dwarfs the projected $9 billion deficit. This is a manufactured crisis, being used to scapegoat workers and strip Americans of an essential public service. The so-called “healthy” private companies profit by charging high rates, cherry-picking urban addresses, and denying workers’ rights.

  • Cara L.

    This returns the back to the idea that Americans want everything and don’t want to have to pay for any of it. I like the idea of the listener that called in with the idea of paying a nominal monthly fee for home delivery – but I just don’t know that it will go over with the populous. Also, as far as tracking goes, the post office pays a MAJOR role in this. The are probably one of the largest and most accurate databases for being able to locate and individual (for serving a person papers for example) and people willingly provide them their information, rather than having to pull a credit report and hope the information is correct.

    • William

      Well, could I do what Krammer did and “op out” of the postal system? I don’t care to receive junk mail anymore if I have to pay for it.

  • Anonymous

    Paula Poundstone said that to save the Post Office “they should put a third clerk on when it is busy.”

  • Anonymous

    The USPS needs to charge more for bulk mail!  This makes up about 90% of what gets delivered to my home — and virtually ALL of it goes straight into the paper recycling…  What a waste.


    • bill from harrisonburg

      If they charge more for bulk mail, this will have a detrimental effect on countless businesses, and deprive local and niche newspapers and periodicals of the opportunity to reach their audiences.  Even if all your bulk goes straight into recycling, bulk mail is an effective marketing technique in the aggregate.

      • brian parizek

        so i should subsidize your business mailing w/ the first class stamp?  seems like the post office should be able to charge an appropriate rate the average consumer isn’t unnecessarily supporting your business.

      • Anonymous

        Right, but if the higher cost is the “real” cost, then shouldn’t those businesses pay for it?  At the very least, they should do it more efficiently, with far smaller catalogs, or less frequent mailings.

        100% of the mail I received today (5 pieces including 2 catalogs of 30-40 pages) went straight into the recycling bin.  Those businesses that send out a lot of junk mail are WASTING their money anyway, so they should reevaluate what and how they use bulk mailings.

        Either that, or the federal government has to (further) supplement the USPS; to support those businesses.  But that seems to be silly; especially since it also wastes a lot of paper.

        We all need to reevaluate how we do *everything* — just selling more *stuff* is not going to work, in the long run.  We are running out of the resources to make all the *stuff* we buy.



  • Judyk1818

    Wouldn’t the demise or drastic change in the ways the Post Office functions  affect low-income folks disproportionately?  For instance, most middle class folks have computers and can receive and pay bills electronically;  do low-income folks depend more on mailing bills?  Would charges for monthly delivery represent more of a low-income person’s income than for a middle-income person?

    • William

      Nearly everyone has a bank account that the bills can be routed too. Or like in our small town, we can pay the bill at the library.

      • Cory

        besides, who the hell cares about poor people?!

        • Modavations

          My team teaches them to fish,we don’t give away fish for a vote

        • William

          Well, apparently, Congress does. EIC, WIC, SNAP, Section 8 Housing, Subprime Loans, free breakfast, lunch, dinner at school programs, Medicaid, I even heard there was some sort of program in DC where the taxpayer was paying private school tutition for poor kids.

  • Modavations

    I use Fed Ex and UPS to transport my jewelry orders from Taxco.Taxco is in the mts. 4 hrs from M.City.At least 50% of my orders are delivered to my office in Boston ,by 10:30 the next day.And that includes going through customs.

    • Yar

      I live on a rural route, and most packages that come from UPS are delivered by the postal service. They drop it in the mail to save the cost of delivery.

      • Modavations

        That’s called the market.Efficency,efficency.I lived in Mex. for years and you go to their p.off and get your mail.UPS,and Fed EX are used for pkg.delivery by co’s in Mexico.No one trusts the Mex.mail,including the Mexicans

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Again, if a poor person has to pay a much higher rate for mail delivery, how will that person afford getting medicine through the mail, paying bills, etc.?

      • Modavations

        Call your church,or heaven forbid,use your family.This nannystatism will be our destruction

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          You have such a simplistic view of right and wrong.  I take it that you are secure from misfortune and will never need anything?

          • Modavations

            I’ve got a mother and father

          • Cory

            I love that a righty ding dong puts you in the lefty role, defending reason.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

          • Modavations

            Troll please

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Just remember, there are more of us than there are of you, and we’re taking notes in our knitting…

          • Modavations

            I battle you guys with half my brain tied behind my back

          • Anonymous

            It shows.

          • Modavations

            I’ve pulled the whole shift and not one frigging Troll.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Sometimes, that seems obvious.

          • Cory

            You should at least cite Rush Limbaugh when you hijack his schtick like that.

          • Modavations

            He calls at 8:00AM for his marching orders

          • nj

            It’s a little lower, actually.

          • Modavations

            I know half you guys work for the state and while I wouldn’t put an audit past you guys,I’m legit and my papers are in order

  • Christopher Patzke

    The USPS is Constitutionally mandated (Article I Section 8 Clause 7) why get rid of it?

    • Lawtonwe

      exactly correct

    • William

      Why not sell it off? Times change, it is losing money under the current business model, why fear change?

      • TFRX

        Why don’t we sell off the military?

        After all, we’ve had such good experiences with outsourcing so much of the war on terror.

        • Modavations

          Any idea how many mercs we employ.That’s privatization and I’m all for it.

          • TFRX

            Yes, after all that funnery with electrocuting showers and such, let’s hear more from you in support of them.

          • Modavations

            KBR is owned by the heirs of Lady Byrd Johnson,Give her a call.How many guys are in the field and how many were electrocuted?

          • William

            I was in the military and we lost people in accidents. It happens.

          • TFRX

            Shoddy construction and electrocuting showers isn’t “it happens”. It’s morally indefensible, not up to spec, and possibly persecutable. And if it were in a home in the US or a school, someone’s butt would be dragged to court.

        • William

          Well, we have downsized the military. You know the U.S. Navy does not operate it’s supply ships anymore. They have outsourced it to a different government agency. Military Sealift Command. MSC operates the supply ships at a much cheaper and more efficient manner and the Navy is very happy with the arrangement. The postal system could keep the backbone, main hubs, but sell off the local post office to private companies and see how it works. I’m sure there are a lot of people that would like to buy a local post office and see if they can turn a profit.

  • Anonymous

    Raise the rates for sending garbage we don’t want.  If it costs more so they don’t send it, good! 

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think it costs less to bring junk mail by USPS because someone is coming to your house anyway.  I depend on this kind of marketing because I don’t spend time shopping by automobile.  This saves me time, money, and gas.  However, an enterprise will send me about a dozen catalogues where one would do.  I like Montgomery Ward, I think it is, which says this is our last catalogue to you (it is also their first, but anyway), so order if you’re interested.
        So I hang onto that catalogue if there is something there I think that only that place sells.  Unfortunately, if I DID purchase something, I’d probably get flooded from them too.

  • Margaret

    OMG is Google needed to take over the Postal Service! That is what I heard. Perhaps Bulk Mail rates are to cheap.

  • Modavations

    I used the US and Italian mail services to send a painting to my cugino, in Bologna.It was returned to me 2 months later.At least I got the painting back.Never give the mail services anything of value ,without a tracking number.Personally,I like my local guys,it’s just the hack unions,as usual.

    • TFRX

      Whatever you do, don’t go to Consumerist’s website and search for Fedex or UPS or Airborne delivery disasters.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Right–the post office doesn’t tell me that I have to be available whenever they want to deliver my package.

    • brian parizek

      what did the union have to do w/ your painting being returned?  maybe you had an improper zip code.

  • Anne

    We are an aging couple living in a very rural area of New York State, even though we are only 60 miles
    from the state capital.


    Please please do not eliminate rural postal service.


    Very many people here, especially the poor (working or
    otherwise) and the elderly, have no access to e-mail or on-line services
    because we have no ability to connect to the internet.


    We have satellite internet provider, but can go weeks
    without any service whatsoever.


    During severe weather events we can go up to two weeks
    without land-line phone service.


    Our mail carrier is THE ONLY person who comes to our door on
    a regular basis.


    I’m willing to pay more if I have to. I like the idea of
    placing postal services in grocery stores, etc…..but please remember that the
    nearest big box store is a 90 mile round trip – for those of us who can still
    afford to maintain a car and buy the gas to get there.

    Alternately, you could put them in local shops, but we have
    very few left.


    We have NO national commitment to “last mile” broadband
    service.  Until then, rural citizens will
    not be fairly and fully integrated into the 21st Century.


    May I suggest that if communications services are not
    provided equally to people in rural areas, that those in urban areas stop
    looking to us to provide them with food, potable water, trees and rocks and
    gravel to build their unsustainable communities with!


    PS:Please get rid of the junk mail. We don’t need it, rarely
    buy things, it costs us money every week to take it 25 miles to the recycling

    • William

      Why live there if you don’t have the services you feel you need?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        People don’t always have a lot of choice of where to live.  Cities are expensive.

        • William

          True, but when start to compare costs how where you live,  you have to consider things like this postal problem. I could have moved farther out of the city, but I think the cost of gas, car maintenance, insurance will continue to climb and make living farther out such a great idea. The postal system will eventually have to charge higher fees to those people living out away from their main delivery routes or just have hubs and those living out there will have to drive to the delivery hub for service.

        • Gregg

           People totally have a choice where they live.

      • Anne

        Hi William,

        We are farners. Would be hard pressed to afford 100 acres in an urban area. Plus, the neighbors might complain about the roosters!

        • William

          Yes, that is a difficult situation. I wish I had cheaper internet service but can’t seem to get a break on that bill. Of course, if you live in some parts of LA you will hear those roosters!

    • Nick Nocera

      At the end of the day, it’s an antiquated technology. I’m not riding to school on a horse and I’m not salting my meat to preserve it. When better and more efficient methods of accomplishing things come along, we use them. If Ben Franklin were here today he’d look at e-mail and wonder what the he’ll we were doing jabroneying around with the USPS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephanie-Baker/1251361276 Stephanie Baker

    As a citizen of a rural community, I see how an electronic Post Office would negatively effect our community.   Places without the “Modern” conveniences of our fast paced world would be left behind and possibly never catch up.   People depend on their daily mail for everything from the daily or weekly newspaper to paying their monthly utility bills.   The internet and electronics are NOT the answer to all things…There are those of us out here who have not been brought in to the 21st century.

    • TFRX

      Not knowing what rural community you live in, I’m curious about the position your Representative and Senators take on this issue.

      As a lifetime Coastal Elite, I’m a lost cause, but one hopes the people looking for the votes of RealAmerica are listening to the folks like you, plus the elderly, and the poor, on this.

  • Earl Shepherd

    How much of the postal system budget is caused by overtime?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Our post office used to have a marvelous aquarium.  To me, it makes sense to use these fine buildings for historical societies, archiving.  They are secure, and people end up waiting anyway.  Let them read the history of the city while they’re there.

  • just me

    What about newspaper delivery too? In many areas the subscription and free weekly news are only delivered by mail.
    In rural areas the postal service is our lifeline. Internet here is often unreliable and cannot be counted on for paying bills with all of the security risks. Taking the long walk down to the plow battered box by the roadside to see what has come in the mail is a highlight of my day. Even the catalogs, local mailers, and junk mail gets a look over before being recycled. Where we are the UPS deliveries often come by mail too.

  • Modavations

    If Bush had bypassed FEMA and hired UPS to deliver supplies to the victims of Katerina,he would have left office with higher poll numbers

    • Terry Tree Tree

      “Heck of a job, Brownie!”, ‘W’s horse-breeder choice for a director of FEMA?  Since horse-breeding is such a great training ground for managing an EMEGENCY AGENCY?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        eMail passes at his secretary, was more important than the victims of Katrina!

        • Modavations

          The citizens had been so welfareized(?) they didn’t understand the admonishment to flee.Can you imagine what the public school system was like?.After N.O.was wiped out I think they privatized the whole system

      • Modavations

        Two worst Presidents in my life time George and Barack.No dodging on my part

    • Cory

      If a million monkeys typed on a million typewriters for a mllion years, one of them would inadvertently write War and Peace…

  • bill from harrisonburg

    Why does the post office have to be profitable?  The government provides lots of services that aren’t designed to earn a profit.  If, as a society, we decide that the services provides, and they are substantial are providing a social good, why not subsidize it and stop demonizing the post office for not turning a profit while providing this essential service.

  • Sandracseaton

    The issue with the post office is symptomatic of what we are facing right now with the rest of our economy. The postal service worker with its lower middle income base, many of whom are minorities in our urban centers, is the backbone of our economy. We must take care of our workers. Do we want to be a nation with the majority of its citizens so poor, they can’t even afford the most basic necessities while the wealthy buy $3000 watches at Tiffany’s? Raise taxes, take care of our workers’ job benefits, and stave off the threat of the U.S. becoming a third rate country. Better to buy $1000 watches than to have a country with no middle class.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Go to every other day delivery. Problem solved.

     No one is willing to do what the Post Office does for 10X the money. And for God’s sake quit complaining about the Post Office. They are awesome. England and Irelands post offices all do multiple things. Wake up America.

  • Rob

    Doesn’t anyone else see this in the context of general cuts in all government services: EPA, FAA, parks, student loans, school construction, etc etc? And the obvious next targets of Social Security and Medicare? The costs of recession should not just fall on the middle class! Look at any statistics on where the wealth has gone in the last few decades. Every plan acceptable to our present government involves disproportionate cuts to the middle class. Why shouldn’t the super wealthy be called on to help out?

    • Guest-22

      It’s Reagan-Bush politics to privatize everything, and public service be damned. Bust up the unions. It’s all political and geared to gore the public more and more, so that millionaires and billionaires can gouge us all with fees, subscriptions, new “services” we don’t want or need to buy or rent.  The USPS is a SERVICE, not a business. Bush changed this in 2006 on purpose, to destroy, not build.

    • Cime

      Any program that benefits the poor is on the chopping block these days! Keep an eye on the big picture folks!

  • Yar

    Postal service and private eye? That sounds more like China.  I don’t want people to pay the postman to check up on our citizens.  If I was given the choice to pay 5 dollars per month for daily delivery or 10 for weekly, I may opt for weekly delivery, I could then process all my mail at the same time.  If there was a fee to have delivery the service from the receiver it would fall apart.  I would pay to opt out of junk mail.  It would be worth a 5 dollar a month fee to not have to throw away all those fliers.

    • Ellen Dibble

      You can opt out of junk mail specifying which catalogues you do want to receive (if any).  There is some address.  You don’t save money, but it saves trees.

      • Yar

        I have already done that, my junk mail comes from local businesses, and the bulk postcard advertisements.  I get very little mail, even with the junk, but I would pay to reduce it to zero junk.  If you could opt out by location, then businesses would modify their behavior and we will save many more resources.

      • Rational

        The system should be OPT-In by default. Make a rule that no business can send anything bigger than a prepaid return post card that can be mailed back if the recipient wants a relationship with the business.  If they don’t send it back then no more mailings from them for 1 year.

        A better business model than shotgunning everybody with catalogs, and sales flyers.

  • Anonymous

    Please tell me where exactly the deficite occurs.  Labor costs ?

  • Sarah

    Hey Tom – I am a musician who (believe it or not!) still sells a whole lot of CD’s. I not only depend heavily on the USPS, but trust them greatly. For small packages and letters the best and cheapest way to go. My local postmasters in my small town in TN (Gerard and Julian) are not just postal workers, they are friends! Love the USPS. And gee, those stamps are pretty, too. :)

  • Rose

    I can’t understand why the post office places its boxes in obscure locations that are not readily accessible.  Why not place these boxes in or near supermarkets and banks where people can actually use them.

    • jsexton9

      Actually, four of the five mailboxes closest to my home (all within one mile of me) are located at places of business, including a 7-11, and two supermarkets.  The more “remote” box is on my street, about 1/2 block away.

  • Scbrowne2011

    We our allowing the most extreme elements of our society to chart our course. Where will this end

    • Guest-22

      This is part of the Bush era’s move to privatize everything in the government. It began under Reagan, when he wanted to bust the air Traffic controllers’ union. It continues in the push to get rid of public schools and public school teachers. There would be plenty of money for USPS if we simply raised taxes on the millionaires and billionaires who used to pay more, until the banksters took control of everything. This is politics, pure and simple. Funding pensions was no problem earlier and would be no big problem again, if we’d go back to the pre-2006 system for USPS employees. Everything moving to electronics?! Bull.

  • Anonymous

    They should only offer Mon and Wed deliveries.  Pay more for delivery on another day if it is something that can’t wait. 

  • Donna

    Here in the Northeast Kingdom, we rely on our post office as so much more than just the mail. Our historic academy building also houses our library…apparently a library in the building since like 1857 or something. We also use the post office kitchen and access our historical photos and information and documents there. To lose our post office is in essence, to lose our village community center. With only 140 or so people in our village, many of them older residents and young students, our way of life would be transformed….but not necessarily for the good.

  • JD

    I heard you speak about our physical locations (in the Nepal example)I worked for a company that heavily used postal addresses. The postal services converted rural routes to addresses for 911. We will need to have phyical address locations regardless of whether it is used for mail delivery.

  • Tossme9

    R_U_Kidding?  First it was the USPS then the private carriers emerged, BOTH successful and competitive when gasoline was the fuel for staying connected.

    Now, electrons are the fuel too, as is gasoline.  Reverse the process, let the evolution take place in reverse.  CompuServe>AOL>OtherDialUp IPservices>Comcast.    

    Keep the PO in every town, but put servers in them that will compete the modern day delivery system of the private sector.

    Start another series of Postage Stamps — as a digital fee for IP service IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH COMCAST.  

    The real truth of this possibility being successful is the fear of the idea by COMCAST and the other IP companies.

    CompuServ and AOL both are great examples of this.

  • Jaki Reis

    I’m from Vermont, where there are a lot of small towns.  It seems to me that if we were to combine a number of services that these small towns need, into one center-town location, those services would be:

    internet service – like a cafe
    a meeting place for the folks – like a cafe
    a place for some small needs – to replace the old country store, local made foods, maybe on the farmer’s market model

    and some of the items that are made possible by USPS and are getting carried less and less in the diminishing newspaper and stationery outlets  like magazines,  greeting cards, even perhaps newspapers!

    Maybe, it could even become somewhat of a co-op, or follow some of the successful co-op models, so that some of the financial burden to keep the place open would be shared

  • http://phantomminuet.blogspot.com/ MinAgain

    The argument that the Post Office is not competitive with private business and/or is somehow financially unsound is completely bogus. We don’t run our military that way.  As a nation, we identify a need for the military, and we pay to meet that need.  Why should the Post Office be any different?  We continue to have a need for the services that it provides.  Acknowledge the fact and pay for the service, instead of putting arbitrary limitations based on a financial “crisis” that was basically manufactured by Congress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/etoile Eliot Walter

    My father lives off the grid in Australia and if I want to send a letter it’s two weeks for a round trip communication.  If I could send an email to the postal service, they print and deliver the email as well as mail-to-email for the return would cut the round trip to four days.
    I would like to see postal services around the globe as being liaisons to the web.

  • Anonymous

    Another revenue solution: Post Office slot machines.  Although only two of the five will be open at peak times. 

    • jsexton9

      The little postal workers inside the machines DO need a break!

  • Natasha Sh

    Of course, the post office should be saved and supported
    even it’s not profitable. It’s one of the few nation-wide infrastructures. It’s
    can be viewed as very important for national security, in case of emergency or
    national-wide problems. It’s still relevant for waste majority of the people in
    US. And who know when it can become irreplaceable.
    It can be and should be restructured and re-designed from business prospective.
    Maybe number of offices should be reduced. Maybe digital/virtual offices should
    be established in areas where close to 100% of residents have excess to
    internet. Maybe additional services, like checking on elderly and sick, matters
    reading and so on, should be introduced. But the structure should be preserved
    as much as possible. 

  • Weisgerberm

    Charge a minimal fee ($3) yearly surcharge per address or PO Box in addition to stamp fees. 

  • jsexton9

    This may be way out there: for those who don’t want to use electronic devices when sending their messages, but are communicating with people who DO use electronic devices, there could a special coding that allows hardcopy letters to be scanned and transmitted to such recipients.  For return mail, the process could be reversed and the original sender could receive a hardcopy communication.  The logistics of paying for such a service could, I am sure, be worked out.

  • Arjun

    1.       Can we use the USPS as a way to create an optional War Tax; buy dedicated stamps to support the conflicts we, the US is engaged in?
    2.       What would it cost each US delivery address to bring the USPS to a balanced budget today?

  • Hal Pepinsky

    In the current public/private debate, bear in mind that the US Postal Service is the ONLY government service guaranteed to the public by the US Constitution.  Are we going to shut down even that singular, constitutionally enshrined public service?

  • Hal Pepinsky

    Under Article 1, sec. 8 of the US constitution, Congress has the power and duty to make the following uniform throughout the United States, the only public service duty in our Constitution:

    …To establish Post Offices and post Roads;…

  • Barlow_307thAEB

    Have the USMail offer competitive E-Mail service with and against Hotmail, AOL, Ect, That allows ZERO SPAM Mail service.

    I would switch to ME.USMAIL

  • Anonymous

    Do they still sponsor the Olympics?  That is a waste of money.  They wasted money sponsoring Lance Armstrong. 

    • TFRX

      That is a waste of money.

      How do you know? The Priority Mail service needs to be advertised, no? Same with the Stamps dot com website.

      • Anonymous

        How many people weren’t aware of the Post Office? 

        • TFRX

          The Post Office, or its Priority Mail service pricing and terms of service?

          Please try to answer the question I asked, and then answer this one: What kind of plan is it to introduce a service and then never advertise it? How do you get people to use it that way?

          • Anonymous

            The sponsorship provided details of its pricing and terms of service? 

    • Rational

      Do you mean like this titanic waste of money: NASCAR star rallies support for U.S. Army-sponsored car:  http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/02/nascar-star-rallies-support-for-us-army-sponsored-car/1

  • Barlow_307thAEB

    Get rid of Sat service, how ever charge a Premium for Sat Delivery for those who have to have there package.

  • D W Henderson, MA

    A lot of the discussion was based on the ‘digital revolution’ replacing the USPS.  Two issues with that concern me, one is the availability of inexpensive and ‘senior friendly’ internet access.  Under NO circumstances could my 84 year old mother-in-law become safe, much less proficient in ANY digital media environment.  The second issue is something my being a digital engineer is near and dear to my heart.  Under NO circumstances will I ever consider the Internet and the ‘Cloud’ secure places for my personal and financial data.  I don’t care how much you encrypt the data, some hacker somewhere is devoting their life to break into it.  Yes, someone can steal a stack of letters from my mailbox, or a whole postal truck if they wanted.  But that media is completely random and its value on a hit or miss basis is not worth the stint in Leavenworth when they get caught.  Digital data on the other hand is nicely grouped and organized making the reward much greater, and you can steal it in your PJs in your living room.
    My real solution is first class delivery MWF paid for by postage.  Second class junk mail and magazines etc delivered on TThS with the FULL cost being borne by the bulk rate structure (90% of that crap is trashed anyway, let them pay the price to bug us and invade our privacy).

  • Dochwhitner

    Having the PO in a privately owned business is not new.  In very rural Glover, Vermont the Post Office has been in Currier’s General Store for many years.  See link to this real Vermont country store…

    • Modavations

      I have a client in that’s got an PO in the back of her boutique

  • Chuck

    USPS is a waste of money.  I’m 30 – I grew up with electronic communications.  There is nothing I want that ever comes through the mail.  I would be happy to PAY USPS to stop delivering mail to my address.  I don’t want all the pollution and garbage in my name.

    • TFRX

      USPS is a waste of money.

      And all that stuff you’re genetically predisposed to excel at, so you grandparents are whizzes at paying their bills online too? And nobody in your family is in the hinterlands?

      I’m 30 – I grew up with electronic communications.

      That says a lot. It makes the rest of your post not quite as favorable as you might think.

      • Modavations

        Stop the “busy body stuff”.Quit standing behind the skirts of your women.You’ve replace the church with DSS and the govt.makes a terrible daddy..But Moda,but Moda, it’s for the children

        • brian parizek

          at least this is coming from someone who seems to be in touch w/ reality.

        • Anonymous

          You are a real piece of work. Nasty and rude.

          • Modavations

            Come on Jeffe,you know you want to call me Troll.My pals are all erudite and quite worldly.If I fell,they’d pick up the rapier and continue the battle

          • Modavations

            And if the thugs knocked them off,one word would float through the ether….”Wolverines”

      • Cory

        No, no, no!  He is talking about HIMSELF.  HE will be fine without the USPS.  Don’t you understand? 

    • jkc

      You can’t tell me you don’t order things over the internet that can be delivered less expensively by the USPS.   UPS and FedEx are more expensive.  The USPS arrives nearly as fast.  I’m so happy for you that you have money to burn.

    • Slim

      Take the mailbox off of your house you idiot…problem solved.   Since you no longer use the service, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/debra.s.locke Debra Saunders Locke

    My oldest son lives in Brussels, Belgium, because the love of his live walked in to his high school ten years ago.  Last December 5, I mailed them a 12 pound package, costing me $89 (still cheaper than airfare).   All paperwork was properly filled out.  They never received it because the Belgians have privatized their postal service! Whoever was hired that day to make deliveries, was too lazy to do it.   The kids received a notice that the package had been delivered.  When they went to collect it at the Belgian Post Office, they learned it had been returned to the United States.  I received the box about six weeks later, unopened.  Using the customs form, I was able to call an 800 number and track the box (our Post Office found it).     Americans take for granted our postal system.  It has its flaws, but it works and works for EVERYONE.

    • Modavations

      Belgium hasn’t had a govt in 14 months.I’ve got pals in Antwerp who say no one notices.I had the exact thing happen in Italy.Their PO is public.What makes you so sure it wasn’t the US end that was the problem

  • Modavations

    It’s so simple kids,the unions killed the P.O.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Not the bad management that chose to build expensive Post Offices that are energy-wasting monsters, and badly designed?  Not the executives that have made expensive mistakes, but got their big pay, as if they had done a good job?  Not the executives that negotiated bad vehicle choices, and maintenance agreements?

      • Modavations

        Pensions and health care.The same thing that croaked GM.Unfortuneatly,this is just the tip of the iceberg.Check the liabilities of California

        • brian parizek

          it takes to sides to negotiate a contract…mgmt gave up too much in those situations.

        • Anonymous

          The same old right wing talking points. Blame the workers.

          • Modavations

            I blame Trumpka,I blame Hoffa and I blame any Union guy that acts as their Goon Squad.Tell the audience about the attack on the docks of Longview last thursday.After being enjoined legally,500 guys wielding bats,crow bars etc,. charged the dock and destroyed raillroad cars containing grain.6 hostages were held

      • Cory

        Nope.  Just the evil unions who fight for their workers.

      • notafeminista

        Who on earth are you talking about?  There is no secret evil private CEO behind post office.  That is all the federal government baby pure and simple.  You don’t like the way things were done?  Write your Congressperson.

    • brian parizek

      management is also at fault; don’t they sit at the negotiating table also? 

      • Markus

        Management sits at the negotiating table, but it really doesn’t cost them much to give in. I see this in local governments all the time. Town managers give the unions extravagant contracts cause it doesn’t cost them anything. At least it doesn’t cost them much until there’s a crisis like today and they can no longer move funds around in order to go back to the tax payers saying we’re going to have to lay off teachers, fire fighters and police. Course by that time, the people who made these bad decisions have moved on. 
        So yeah, I blame management and the unions. One for being short sighted and the other for greed. To be honest, I blame the unions more. Say no to them and you get picketed (or worse) and the local newspaper will be all over you as a hater. Say yes and you’ve got a gazillion friends til taxes are increased (or you need a bail out) and then you can spread the blame around.

        • brian parizek

          …then perhaps the town managers should have been fired or not re-elected.  a union is supposed to work for its members and the management looks out for its investors (or citizens).  in negotiations, both come together with a compromise.

          i blame the management more…if you are the one (or the committee) running the show, then it’s on you when the company or city/state is not meeting expectations.

    • customer

      The Post Office Unions have been around since the 1800s.
      How do you enplane its success until Bush’s reorganization in 2006?
      And its failure since?   

  • jkc

         We absolutely need to retain the USPS for delivery of physical items.  I use the USPS for packages whenever they don’t have to arrive by a specific time within the next three days, that is, I use it almost exclusively.  My letters and packages still frequently arrive in 3 days or so.  Excellent service.  The UPS’s and FedEx’s are way more costly.  I would hate to have to send a birthday card via one of these services.  I’m sure it would cost at least 10 times as much.
         I would be happy to receive mail only 3 days a week (i.e. over time, reduce the carrier staff so that different areas are delivered on MonWedFri and TueThursSat.  Do the same for businesses that are not in clustered or heavy trafficked areas.  But keep the background delivery resources.
         Let the Post Office add other income stream sources including digital services.   But the Post Office will be needed for physical delivery for at least the next couple of decades.
         Don’t kill it off prematurely.

  • Sam Walworth

    Yes, USPS doesnt generate any money, yes it runs in losses, hey, so does the military, so does the Police and Fire services..

    Its a service for goodness sakes, not everything can and will generate money.

    Finally, yes it can be more productive, yes it can be more cost effective (have you seen those old gas guzzlers in which the posts are delievered? why cant they be replaced slowly with CNG engines or even better get some light weight trucks like Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma or Ford Rangers etc)

    • BenD@NYC

      Constitutionally, USPS must pay all expenses from stamp and other revenue but costs are excessive in the face of declining revenues, thus negative ROI.  Military, and first responder services are taxed from federal and municipal revenues with an undisputable positive ROI – - difficult to compare the two.  USPS can be replaced by private market providers, Military and first responders not so easily. 

      • Sam Walworth

        then lets change the constitution for that part.

        There should be cost cutting, there should be more innovative ways to do business, but getting rid of postal service completely, is not going to do good for the country or the economy.

  • Anonymous

    Did anyone get anything necessary in their mail today?  I doubt that I will get anything that couldn’t have waited another few days.

    • Anonymous

      Yes I did, some bills, and a letter from my 82 year old mother.

      • Anonymous

        Could any of that waited until Thursday? 

        • J.

          All of it but the letter from Mom.

    • J__o__h__n

      Tonight I opened the box and got Newsweek (which could wait a few days) and crap from Comcast and a catalog from a company that I ordered a single item from four years ago and have no desire to do so again. 

      • Anonymous

        Yesterday just a commerical postcard for a service I don’t want.

  • Tbuchana

    It’s made me angry for years that companies get such a screaming deal on postage to send out junk mail.  They ran themselves out of business as far as I’m concerned; charging citizens a fortune, and companies very little.  Let it go!

  • Modavations

    The Iranian Despot is coming to NYC.Guess where he’s speaking?Columbia of course.Any returns on the A.Weener election yet

  • Jonathan

    If you live in Puerto Rico, USPS is essential. Private couriers consider the island international (some also give Hawaii and Alaska this status), so rates are much higher. The USPS is often the only reasonable choice.

  • Smokylomein

    We need to support our neighbors. As a nation, we have no problem supporting countries around the world with our consumer dollars. Why can’t we do the same for our fellow citizens? Stamps are relatively cheap. Send a letter a day to help your neighbor keep his job. We are all in this together.

    • BenD@NYC

      Communistic social liberal egalitarian make work crap that does nothing to resolve declining demand in the face of alternate communication choices. 

  • Anthony

    What about outfitting the USPS to gather metadata (geospatial, demographic, etc.) and provide cellular or wireless hotspots to boost connectivity?

  • Alan, South Amboy NJ

    I would love the PO to offer a shredding service.  I could pick up a $1.00 envelope,  suff it with junk mail, and drop it off at a PO or in a mail box.  “If it Fits it Shreds!!”

    Or,sell a 1 cent “shredding stamp” - place it on a piece o junk mail, drop it in a box!!

  • Richbward

    I believe there are two faces the USPS:  the mail deliverer you may (or may not) see every day – and the individual you have to use when you go to a post office.

    While most of us likely have a positive feeling for our local post person I would predict that most of us avoid going to the post office whenever we can because the service is so horrendous.

    Whereas the mail deliverer represents income already made for the USPS those individuals represent potential income.  I say that this is a big part of the problem.

    I just had to go to the post office today and it was the usual story: there were only two people in front of me but U still had to wait for close to fifteen minutes.  Why?  Because the individuals on the other side of the counter have no sense of customer service.  One decided it was time for her break and simply left;  the other two were moving in reverse.

    The typical business expends a great deal of thought, effort and money on their public brand, service and efficiency.

    The post office still has the attitude that they simply reduce service and raise postage rates.

    The tipping point has been reached.

    We cannot do without a postal service but I believe we need to get rid of the retail post offices – and most especially postal employees who have the attitude that service doesn’t matter.

    Consumers have choices.  If the postal service as you know it ceases to exist as we know it the vacuum of demand will result in something else replacing it.

    And I say this as a liberal…

    • Roymerritt19

      Do you have these complaints when you go to the bank and have to wait an inordinate amount of time?  You may have had to wait a long time because the postal service has such things as “Mystery Shoppers” who are individuals contracted to go into the post office and if the counter person doesn’t give them a litany of the services available they will be cited for not doing so and may well jeopardize their employment.  That along will cause one to have a long wait.  And rest assured it is not the employees who determine the number of people designated to man the counter.  In many cases they are under surveillance from the division headquarters.  I have been a clerk at the USPS for close  to 30 years and have seen management do many things that  simply cripple the service.  You have constant changes that often seem calculated to diminish service.  Many citizens also seem ignorant of such simple things as their own zip code or the correct address of someone they are sending mail to and that they should put in a change of address when they move, which will certainly delay delivery of mail.  We  track just about every parcel most having a delivery confirmation code, but this in itself causes delays due to the procedures involved in such tracking and bar codes placed on a package in such a manner that the code can not be read and requiring the code numbers being manually keyed in with scanners that are obsolete almost immediately after their introduction.  As far as our competition we already work in conjunction with both Fed Ex. and UPS delivering their packages as if an extension of these companies.  Employees of the USPS are often demonized because of anecdotes one hears without any real verification as to their veracity and just about everyone sees you as their own personal employee based on taxes when nothing could be further from the truth in that the post office is mandated not to use taxes.  And then there were criminal incidents where in “Going Postal” became part of the language giving the impression that we are all mental cases requiring close scrutiny.  Regardless its fate it will require an adjustment to the US Constitution for least we all forget delivery of the mail is a service this document has determined is necessary.  In the long run it has been the policy of the service’s management and a dwindling economy brought about by political incompetence that has brought it to this dire point and not the overall dedication of its many employees who by the way are like myself disabled veterans from the numerous military conflicts this nation has involved itself in.  There is an answer to what should be done, but it won’t be accomplished by divisive commentary by such politicians as Isa of Calf. and Mica of Florida who do so for political expedience and as well calculated to point the finger of blame at those such as myself who have done our utmost on a daily basis to fulfill our obligations.   

    • http://phantomminuet.blogspot.com/ MinAgain

      I have always had a good experience at my current post office, and I’ve been trading there for 16 years.

  • Allan

    Not everybody needs _daily_ delivery; would it save money to have standard delivery be twice or three times a week, and people who want more often pay a yearly fee for 6 day?  I’d pay some money for daily (including Saturday)

    • notafeminista

      The USPS already does that…it’s referred to as a Post Office Box.

      • Allan

         no, PO box mail is never delivered to a door.  What I’m saying is that you can get expedited (home) mail delivery for a small fee, but otherwise you still get your mail, just not as fast.

  • Scottilla

    The post office delivers letters for 44¢.  UPS and Fexex charge a minimum of $20.00.  The Postal Service is runnung a deficit of $7.5 billion.  Split among 300,000,000 Americans, that’s $25 per person.  If the government subsidizes the postal service by raising your taxes by $25 per year, you only have to mail TWO letters in one year to save more than you’ve paid in.  Any more than that is pure gravy.  Why does anyone want to spend all that extra money to make some kind of point?  I’ve heard that money talks, and my money wants to stay with me, rather than with UPS of Fedex.

    Now will someone please explain to me why I’m sending all that money to my insurance company when Medicare would be able to cover me for 30% less.

    And while we’re at it, can someone please give me an example, just one, of a private enterprise that is morr efficient than the government.

  • Joyce Pfeil

    The Post Office may have to get smaller or smarter in their operation. Seven years ago when traveling I met a woman who worked for the Post Office. Her job was to find the ‘lost money in lost accounts’ in the millions of dollar range. Then there is the Postmaster General salary. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/17/in-hard-times-postmaster-earned-800000-in-pay-perk/In 2009; pay and perks amounted to $800,000. The Post Office is the only business I know of that has been required to operate at a loss. I think they have been successful.

    • Jwc2blue

      In 2007 the PMG was paid $186,000. In 2008 he made $265,000 PLUS a “performance bonus” of $135,000. In 2010, he made over $850,000 in pay and perks.

       This is a direct result of the 2006 Postal Reform bill, passed by GWB. 

      It ain’t your letter carrier who’s making all the money!

    • TFRX

      It’s not a business; kindly stop referring to it as such.

      My highway department operates at a loss, but nobody calls it a business.

  • http://mirandairvin.com Troy I

    I think if the Post Office no longer existed, a child born now wouldn’t believe, after coming of age, that an organized service would actually  travel to each residence in the country daily delivering pieces of mail.  It would seem much like Santa Clause and his group of elves creating and delivering toys to every child in one day; but instead of once a year, every day would seem unimaginable!

    • Jessi

       I have been receiving a pink envelope and letter in the mail from my Grandma just about every week since I was born.  I am now 30.  
      I definitely have an adoration for all the mail carriers who have delivered these delightful packages to me throughout my life.  
      I have shared Grandma’s Christmas cookies with a good many of them.  I have always chosen to live in rural areas and I really think that the death of the USPS would be like losing a huge piece of my life.

  • Herb Winkler

    If reliability could be improved (perhaps with package tracking software) more people would use the USPS.  The 2010 Census relied on FEDEX, and it was a gov’t operation.  What are the rest of use supposed to think?

    • Kpmann72

      USPS does have package tracking and USPS was the company used for the 2010 census.

  • Jerzyboy

    This is the second time I’ve listened to “On Point” and I am astounded by the lack of objective journalistic integrity the show presents.  Tom Ashbrook consistently displays a type of agenda-oriented broadcasting that Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Rachel Maddow and Amy Goodman have made a career out of and become infamous for.  “On Point” is and apt name for the show since Ashbrook’s hyperbole, his guests opinions and the calls that are taken rarely stray from an intended, one-sided slant.  For instance, on the current show about the USPS, Ashbrook emphatically querried, “But, do we really need the Post Office?” about a half-dozen times.  Also, one of his guests mentioned and praised twice the progressive, privatized style of Germany’s mail service.  Whereas, US ebayers have know for months that Germany’s system is increasingly becoming unreliable.  (In fact, many US ebay members who sell internationally are complaining that it’s taking 7 to 9 weeks for packages to arrive to Germany and many are no longer willing to sell items to buyers there because of the risks.)  The subjective style of which “On Point” deploys to frame its discussions smacks of agenda-setting, emotional-tugging, mythological-story-telling void of counter-point, while masquerading as open dialogue and rational disseminator of news and information.  Because of programming like “On Point” with broadcasters such as Tom Ashbrook, no wonder critical thinking people call NPR – (n)ational (p)ropaganda (r)adio.

    • Allan

       I have also heard rumors that German post is no longer reliable, but the story I heard involved low-cost immigrant workers in the post office.  (I also heard it was a bad idea to insure packages, as those were more likely to get stolen).  Canadian friends say their mail is not so good either.  I think I’d prefer paying a bit extra and having a reliable mail system.

  • Anonymous

    Ben Franklin would not be amused.

    • Bobblw

      Ben would be chagrinned…

  • 4fathers

    Ben Franklin would be bemused that in 2006 a congressional analysis showed that the US taxpayer was spending $2 BILLION PER WEEK for an illegal military action in Iraq, but now our US Congress can’t appropriate $9 BILLION PER YEAR to balance the USPS’s deficit.  I don’t know about you, but the bombings, insurrections, occupations or military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya over the past 10 years have done nothing for my economy.  While, they have taken many a brave soul away from us.  Unlike the ‘too big to fail’ banks, at least, I can count on the mail and possibly my money being well spent bailing out the ‘too good to fail’ US Postal Service.  Don’t be fooled America.  This story is not about ‘mail volume falling off’ or the ‘new digital methods of communication’, it’s about busting union contracts, reneging on pension obligations and privatizing supported taxpayer assets.  So, say goodbye to our middle class and the services we expect and appreciate.  Thank your Congress, Senate and the Media – like this show, along with the colluding, lauded reading list posted above – which often tries to distract, convolute and manipulate your opinion.

  • Dee

    I agree with those who say Tom has to watch how he portrays
    this postal crisis as I imagine he wouldn’t ask those same kinds
    of questions up front if he were talking about the national broad-
    cast system. ( I am sure he would be talking about preserving the
    integrity of the message. Well, the postal system is about the
    integrity of the product…specifically the mail ….)

    It seems today our civil society and civil agencies are under attack
    by corporate America and their apologists on the extreme right…

    Just consider what the privativatization of the army by outsourc-
    ing some of its operations and contracts to corporate America has brought us endless war and expense government contracts for more and better killing weapons which compromise our national security
    not enhance it….

    Our forces shouldn’t be occupying Iraq and Afghanistan –nor should we be using US Special Forces (used to be Blackwater ) to target kill our “enemies”. Think of how this betrays our democratic values….

    In addition, this corporate privatization of healthcare leaves out a whole segment of our population without healthcare and it increases
    our overall cost–not reduces it. 

    The same kind of thing is happening to our educational system today-corporate America is trying to split up public school– privatizing them with charter schools and testing centres and publishing Houses and
    corrupting the learning too.

    So beware, the same forces want to break up the public housing
    market that Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae …Actually, this time it is finacial sector who want a piece of the pie and we all know how
    they sold us out….This just goes on and on and people need to
    open their eyes to what’s actually going on today…..Dee

  • Wh2angel

    We still need the post office. I have lived in rural America where it was quite a distance to my mailbox. It was more convenient to receive my mail at the post office. It is still cheaper to have your prescriptions mailed to your home. I can see doing without newspapers but not the post offices. I am older and most of the people my age  have never used a computer. Times are changing. I receive most of the news over the computer, or the TV. I receive all of my bills by mail. I keep my statements. I agree that we must revamp the post office.

  • Bimmermanz3

    The majority of the mail we get is “junk” advertising. Typically we receive two or three pieces four days a week. My usual lament is that it wasn’t worth the trip to the mail box.

    If the bulk mail rates were raised the volume would probably go down. While revenue would go down with fewer bulk mailers, the smaller volume will require less fuel to deliver. This would probably off set quite a bit of the loss in revenue.

    Since bills usually come with sufficient advance notice, I don’t see any reason I need to have my mail delivered more than 3 days a week. This would further reduce fuel costs.

  • small town

      Rural America relies on USPS more so than urbanites and ironically rural post offices are being closed.  Why?  From what I’ve read on this issue, all the rural post offices in the US use less than 1% of the USPS budget.
        This is a poor place to cut costs for very little gain.

  • Jwc2blue

    I wrote and posted the following article on MSNBC’s “Newsvine” in August 2009.
    The only thing I would add is; If mail volume has declined so much, why does it still take so long to deliver a letter?

    The U.S.P.S. is in a fiscal crisis. The most often cited causes are real enough, decline of volume, the Internet, etc. but they are not the entire story, and the solutions proposed thus far will not address the unspoken issues the service faces. The U.S.P.S. had it’s highest mail volume in 2006. The Internet was pretty popular before that!
    1. The postal service has been lowering the cost of standard mail postage over the last few years. While the service’s costs have climbed, they have reduced the postage that big mailers pay while the pre-sorting and bar-coding required to qualify for those reduced rates does not economically justify the price reductions. The average single piece first class mailer should not be expected to subsidize huge discounts for profit making corporate mailers.
    2. The postal service is very top heavy with management.
    Reductions and re-assignment of rank-and-file employees continues with employees shouldering the workloads of their departed brothers and sisters, yet there have been virtually no reductions in management. The current RIF (Reduction In Force) targeting Postal management is largely based on relocating management employees, not reducing their numbers. In fact, the U.S.P.S. intranet focuses on RIF avoidance rather than results.
    Management, especially line supervisors, engage in work that could be done far less expensively by craft employees. Such work includes time and attendance reporting (formerly craft employee work), end-of run reports on automated sorting machines and other information reporting functions. Craft employees are compensated fairly well, and could easily take on more clerical responsibilities provided there were enough of us to do the job.
    Many small post offices have their own Postmasters when a lower paid manager reporting to a larger facility would be more than sufficient. This does not even begin to address the redundant layers of bureaucracy at the numerous district offices around the country and the headquarters in Washington, D.C.
    3. Zero accountability.
    Postal management is almost impossible to discipline, let alone terminate, no matter how egregious the behavior or terrible their job performance. In fact, many are awarded bonuses for doing little more than showing up for work.
    Huge amounts of money are spent on contract violations. Management willfully violates the Collective Bargaining Agreements with its three largest unions on a daily basis. Very often these violations are recurring, with the same supervisor perpetrating the violation, yet there is no action taken to rein him/her in. Union officers will virtually always tell management that they risk a grievance, yet the violations continue. In fact management’s attitude has historically been; “So file a grievance. In the meantime I’ll get my way and nothing will happen to me even if you win the same grievance a hundred times.”
    Postal management is constantly making poor decisions that cost the service money and degrade service, yet are rarely if ever held accountable. Nationwide removal of stamp machines, regardless of profitability is just one example. The services excuse has been; “They (sic) don’t make parts for them anymore.” Coming from a company that owns and commissions the creation of all manner of modern sorting machines and Automated Postage Centers, this seems pretty weak.
    4. Part of the decline in volume can be directly attributed to mismanagement, and worse.
    Piece counts of letter mail have historically been artificially inflated by supervisors re-running un-readable and misrouted mail through sorting equipment numerous times and overstating tray footage. Naturally, the nationwide consolidation of sorting facilities and the increasing sophistication of the automated sorting equipment has reduced the number of opportunities and facilities that engage in this practice, driving numbers down to more honest levels. Therefore the results of false reporting drove up piece counts and contributed to statistics that were simply not accurate in the first place.
    These consolidations have also led to a decline in service as evidenced by increased delivery times. This in turn has led to increasing numbers of people opting to conduct transactions on-line.
    This is a brief outline of some of the problems the U.S.P.S. needs to resolve in order to remain viable into the future.
    As in so many businesses, the postal service has its own unique lexicon and methodology. It is impossible for the uninitiated to understand postal operations. That being said, my recommendation would be a commission composed of a bi-partisan group of congressmen/women, postal officials and at least two representatives from each of the three major unions to study these issues and reach a consensus on

  • guest

    The Post Office Unions have been around since the 1800s.

    How do you enplane its success until Bush’s reorganization in 2006?

    And its failure since?    

  • Dee

    addendum…People love the US postal service & it is incredible reliable.
    As one of Tom’s guests pointed out even though the Post office is in the
    red -it is essentially making money but that money today is being gob-
    bled up today by pension holders and employees health care cost…
    So this problem is fixable if empolyee and pension holders pitch in to pay
    more or accept less in their pensions until the postal services looks for
    creative ways to get through this downturn & advances in the electron age…
    Perhaps cutomers could agree to accept a rise in the cost of a to fifty cents also. US Stamps are ridiculous low in comparison to Europe…This
    couls also  bring in necessary revenue…
    Let’s face it–the mail service is here to stay because people love the
    US postal service , plus their mailman (or mail woman today) as the call-
    er in Vermont pointed out and perhaps most importantly as a public ser-
    vice it is incredibly reliable six days a week –52 weeks a year….WOW!

    (To place any part of it in Wal Mart would only cheapen the project.
    But I guess I could accept a stamp machine and a pick up box in Wal-
    mart…If it meant a way to raise additional revenue & preserving rural post offices….) Dee

    • craig wallace

      Sorry Dee but the money is not being gobbled up by by pension costs and employee health care of the postal force, it is being stolen by congress to pay for other people’s pensions and healthcare, and to make their deficit look smaller.

  • Dan Cooper

    I would have loved to hear a clip from Miracle on 34th street in this segment (the prosecution is second to none in its admiration of the post office department…) I mean if this is the service charged with determining the identity of Santa Claus can we afford to lose it?  As well - mention of Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49 would have been nice.  We might as well have some fun while we’re considering the depressing future of a boring service!

  • Guest

    So Mr. O’Keefe, skyrocketing labor costs? Last November I got a raise of just under 2%. The year before it was about the same. the year before that too. But, inflation (food, fuel, healthcare, prescriptions, utilities, taxes, insurance–yeah buddy–unavoidable Mr. O’Keefe!) is outpacing my financial gains. Slowly my family is sinking below the middle class and eventually we’ll hit the poverty level or lower. I know this will happen when I retire in a few years, thanks to President Reagan. Postal workers usually get cost of living raises twice a year. That hasn’t happened for about two years although it looks like one might be coming through soon. That may seem like a lot to most working Americans who never see a cost of living raise once a year or if ever. Likely they never see any sort of a raise, such as my wife who works at one on the big nationwide Red retailers. We have two incomes but they are way under the 6 figure threshold. Never owned a new vehicle or house. Our current house is 51 years old and needs some work. Our 401′s combined are worth less than $55k together (I’m a F.E.R.S. retiree which means a small postal pension, social security and my 401–which is negligible). So, where’s our “skyrocketing” earnings going? We handsomely fund the Healthcare System in America, the Energy and Utility entities, our local Tax Collectors and they aren’t cheap in this state (NC). FUEL, and our Grocers (no offense food growers of America), Insurance agencies, to name a few. I know everybody has to do this but I took this job to better myself and my family. For a while it was working fine, we were saving money and spending money. We still save some but we now spend only what we have too. Can’t afford the little extras like we used to.  Now I’m old and worn out and I’m hoping I can make it to retirement. My job is not an easy one delivering the mail. It may seem so to most folks who see a man or a woman drop some letters and flats into a mailbox but what they aren’t seeing is the internal strife and agony that we are beaten with nearly everyday BEFORE we go out to make our rounds while we appear to be happy. And Mr. O’Keefe, how many letters and flats did you deliver this past summer in Oklahoma or Texas? How much would it have taken to get you out there to do it for one week? Would $1200 gross been enough? How much of that would you have spent on gatorade to do your rounds safely?
    Don’t be a crybaby Mr. O’Keefe and blame the Unions and organized labor. They’re the reason why this country even has an economy sustaining middle class. Before organized labor and their “skyrocketing” labor costs there was the Elite and the rest of us who fed them and their lavish living. Enter AFL-CIO. Since the “Little Man” was already living in poverty he had nothing to lose by refusing to work, enmasse. How would the Elitists be fed? Time to negotiate, strike a bargain. Both sides got the timeless standard, “A fair days work for a fair days pay”. That’s been working fine for a very long time now. Most Americans understand how to be content in life. But sometime, has to be recently, all this “skyrocketing inflation” is apparently having an impact on the lavish living of the elite. Oh how do they manage to keep their multimillion dollar homes (and the servants that they need), 3 or 4 luxury vehicles (gas guzzling SUV’s mostly, and for Mom to drive the kids to private or public school.), annual muti-vacations (all over the world!),  expensive college tuitions, country club memberships, arms around the backs of both state and national politicians ($,$$$,$$$)? Take more from the middle class and start with labor unions. Once they’re broken to bits, the rest of the middle class will fall like dominos and the elite will have it all again while the rest of us are living in poverty or just dying off. We’ll all be working for minimum wage or just above that (Benefits? What benefits? You’ve got to be joking guy. That’s history!) while the “skyrocketing profits” will fund the elite. Is it “skyrocketing wages” Mr. O’Keefe that’s the problem or “skyrocketing GREED” that’s really driving all of this? I’ve never turned my nose up or scowled at our Mexican neighbors for wanting to come to this country to better themselves, legal or not. Here they have a good chance to stay alive. I see them working hard day after day but I know of none who because of this propagandized “Hard Work” ethic are living at the “Top”. Hard work may help, some, but everybody knows it’s the favoritism, who you know, that really  and only matters. Most Latinos send a portion of their earnings back home to help out the rest of the family that could not come (after deductions. The elite still have to be fed.) It won’t be long Mr. O’Keefe before there will be just two classes of Americans. So, destroy organized labor and all the good pay and benefits that they fought so hard to get for anyone content enough who wanted it. That will cure Americas ills. As a USPS district manager once said, “Make it happen and ask for forgiveness later”. Don’t even look at Big Business (i.e., banks, big oil etc.) Mr. O’Keefe because you will disappear never to be heard from or seen again. You have to blame the Unions for the troubles with the Post Office. Don’t blame the “Fat”, the overstaffed, leeching six figure managers and supervisors whose toughest job is stacking plastic trays and bins (“disrepectful non-sweating craft crossers!) on a pallet for a clerk to shrink wrap and send back to the plant. By the way Mr. O’Keefe, can you explain to me why the Postal Service spent nearly one billion dollars on automated machinery in the last year when it knew without a doubt that it was facing an unprecedented financial crisis and had been for several years? Maybe instead of looking at “skyrocketing” Labor costs you ought to dig just a little deeper, you don’t have to sweat doing it either, and see if you don’t find “skyrocketing” mis-management costs instead. Even Rush Limbaugh with 9/10′s of his brain tied behind his back would have been able to make such a simple decision as puting the brakes on an enormous purchase such as that, for now (maybe there was a contract involved with Grumann but better to keep it alive for a later date than let it die now. But hey, maybe Donahoe has already signed the check). Wait until a better time to move forward with such a huge capital expense. Now it all might just become idle and rust away. Do you run your financial budget like that Mr. O’Keefe? I don’t, especially now! Try thinking before speaking Mr. O’Keefe. Get the truth not the propaganda the Elite feeds you.  Support your country, pay your bills and send your cards through the mail and not online. Keep American people working not machines. You might be Hal’s next victim Mr. O’Keefe and watch out American Elite, remember what happened to the French Elite?  Have a nice day Mr. O’Keefe.

    Signed, A Hard Working, Sweating, Tired, Aching Mail Carrier

    • Zayda

      Amen, my brother carrier.  After 40 years of putting up with the mismanagement of these bozos I’m taking my retirement before the teabaggers steal it.

    • Zayda

      Why in the world was there not an official from the NALC or APWU on this program?  Only rich white guys concluding that they don’t need the Postal Service, so to heck with those who do.  Now that’s “elitist.”

  • Alan

    As a loyal listener to one of the few intelligent radio discussion programs remaining, I must say I am disappointed that the critical subject underlying this government “crisis” continues to be ignored by “On Point.”  (Perhaps it is too dangerous a topic to raise, even for you good people who produce the program.)  That subject is (and it should be crystal clear at this late date) that Democrats and Republicans have been unable to govern our country for a long time.  It is no mystery that we have so many critical problems facing our nation when a gaggle of immature, venal, self-serving toadies hold prisoner the apparatus of our constitutional republic.  (They cannot keep the postal service solvent?  Benjamin Franklin weeps.)  When what we really need are statesmen (and with a bow to political correctness, “stateswomen”) we are saddled with scheming politicians.  If we wish to set our nation back on course, we must seek and support independent, pragmatic, ethical citizens for public office.  THAT is the subject “On Point” should tackle, and let me suggest further that independent, pragmatic, ethical citizens — NOT “experts” — be sought by “On Point” to address this matter.  I think it is fair to say there are a number of us “out here.”  We are the people that are keeping the ship afloat!

  • Rukhsar Din

    kooooool 1st tym on here though really gud even though i live in uk

  • listener

    Some years back, the idea was tossed out that perhaps companies would pay to advertise on stamps.  Why was that never pursued? 

  • Phillip

    find it hard to take all the negative comments about the place I worked, loved
    and provided a good living for me.  Much of the speakers analysis was
    extremely ‘right wing’ slanted, although there is some truth to it.  The
    statistic about 80% of the cost goes to salaries is one that has been around
    for 30-40 years.  When I was in my 30′s, the figure was quoted as
    85%.  I have never been able to figure why that was such a bad thing. 
    Buildings, equipment (mechanized and automated) , a large fleet of vehicles and
    600,000 employees.  Virtually all of that ‘excessive’ salary goes
    immediately back into the economy in goods, services and utilities.


    items that never seem to be mentioned: the 5.5 billion annual payment for
    pre-funding future retiree benefits was assessed by congress on only the USPS,
    no other govt agency.  A convenient way to transfer $$ to other federal
    needs.  The second is that while volume is shrinking, the number of
    households (daily delivery points), continues to expand as new homes and
    businesses are being built.  Putting further strain on the system.

    I cannot believe that the American public wants to dismantle the Postal Service.  As the low cost, reasonable quality provider to virtually every household and business, there is still a place for the USPS.

  • Pingback: Molly Des Jardin: post office as information central? « wasting gold paper

  • Robert B. Pierce

    Destroying the world economy and the lives of tens of millions of people should be a capital offence.

  • http://Guadan.net Albert

    If the post office wants to survive they will have to become  digital.  Every thing now days is becoming so efficient and the world is moving faster yesterday. If they cant keep up they will be gone.  USPS can make money by delivering virtual services certified email forms that can be integrated from different agencies. The forms will be delivered to a postal email address issued to everyone that gets a drivers license example JaneDoe@CaIdnumber.usps.gov This is a simple way to have the post office send a certified letter cheaper than paper deliveries. When the DMV enters the area code it validates whether or not that person qualifies for an online postal virtual address depending if  access of internet from a library or like type or a check-box is available. If so logging in to the Web-site is always free to check mail and that is one way the post office can get started forward thinking. Once the post office issues email it will take the next step by digital signatures to sign online docs so that forms can become authorize by a sender or receiver.  When sending the digital doc back by entering a pin number that is chosen at the time of taking the photo I.D it will act a a secure digital access that validates the signature.  Albert Guadan

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.orourke.herbst Heather Elisabeth

    In context to Saturday check arrival slowing the cash flow of economy…the US really needs to be more dependent on wire fund transfer. 

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 19, 2014
Lara Russo, left, Cally Guasti, center, and Reese Werkhoven sit on a couch in their apartment in New Paltz, N.Y. on Thursday, May 15, 2014.  While their roommate story of $40,800 found in a couch made the news, other, weirder stories of unusual roommates are far more common. (AP)

From college dorms and summer camps to RVs and retirement hotels, what it’s like to share a room. True stories of roommates.

Aug 19, 2014
Police wait to advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

“War zones” in America. Local police departments with military grade equipment – how much is too much, and what it would take to de-militarize America’s police force.

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