As government entities go, it's actually pretty efficient (though that's not necessarily saying much), and unlike most, they actually provide a useful service. However, their business model is obsolete. Not enough high revenue First Class mail anymore to pay for personal daily delivery, and without it paying the fixed costs of the system, the marginal cost for lower classes is too high to maintain volume, and bulk ad revenue is down anyway due to economic downturn and web competition. Overall, a lot like the newspaper business.
They have, however, managed to fund the postal retirement fund enough that they could let off for a while.
But I think it's time to consider that in 10 to 25 years we won't need a post office at all. Letters, bills and finances will be all but completely electronic. Packages can be delivered by private couriers (if UPS won't go to Fumbuck, Montana, create an incentive system). And who needs the junk mail?
Ben Franklin had a great idea for 1760. But he wouldn't invent the post office today.
Might be time for a forward thinking (you know, 'progressive') society to think about winding it down.
Posted by: Steve White ||
Postal service does not want government health care, they was the civilian equivalent. The USPS went bankrupt not to their actions, but the actions of Congress that tied their hands. And yes.. Democrats.
Junk mail is most of what they deliver. Ban that and let UPS / FedEx develop a service to deliver essential mail.
Posted by: M. Murcek ||
Letters, bills and finances will be all but completely electronic.
Depends on where you live. Remote areas and settlements still blanket America. There are portions of the Navajo Res in AZ and NM that are still awaiting that marvel of modern technology known as a telephone. Won't even get into the backwoods of Alaska. We all too often view America from our urban or suburban eyes.
Unlike Social Security or Medicare, the Constitution actually addresses the function under Article I, Section 8:
Powers of Congress
"To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;"
I'd bet I pick up 95% of my fdx/ups packages at the post office; they worked out a deal so that my package would get delivered in a timely manner but they would not have to pay a guy and gas to drive 60 miles one way to deliver a cookbook.
What some call junk mail some businesses call affordable advertising. It also generates income for usps keeping regular stamps cost down.
It is also the face of the fed in every town. Not that I disagree it could be run better, but this is government union so can't easily trim down to appropriate size. It also does not help that places like the KC hub has a tendency to theft.
if they promise the retirement bennies, but don't fund them (to at least 80% is considered prudent), they're kicking the can down the road on a dying enterprise
Posted by: Frank G ||
Honestly, I live in the suburb of a good-sized big city, and I think I could do very well with delivery two or three times a week. I do most of my banking and bill-paying on line, through direct deposit, bill-pay or PayPal, half the time books and merchandise I order comes through UPS or Fed-Ex. There's nothing I really look for in the mail any more. What arrives in my mailbox every day is essentially the printed equivalent of what I empty out of my spam email folder every day. I empty both kinds into the trash can without a second look.
I could give up all that every day that so that people in the far corners of the US could keep their USPS mail delivery. I understand that they truely and honestly have few and unsatisfactory alternatives. I'd be OK with the USPS refocusing their mission to serve them ... instead of sending out a guy to my neighborhood who has a truck loaded with junk that practically no one looks at.
Lots of places in backwoods Alaska are using Hughes Net for internet communications. However, the first priority is always Dish Network, where they can pickup the sports channels---hear that, Commodore Frank?
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
What some call junk mail some businesses call affordable advertising.
I believe (corrections welcome) the reason for that affordability is because it is subsidized by 1st class mail.
The basic problem for the post office is the world has changed and their cash cow - first class mail - has gone away. For reasons mentioned elsewhere, they are unable to change and adapt.