Postal Service Going Broke

From the New York Times:

The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances…

In 2010, the US Postal Service had revenues of $67 billion.  Even if we want to assume that revenues have fallen in 2011, there still has to be in the $65 billion-range of revenues…in other words, quite a lot of money.   Any company earning $65 billion a year can’t be worthless…other companies with that level of revenues are Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, Target, Walgreen and Johnson & Johnson. That puts the USPS in some pretty elite company on the revenue end – so, what gives?

Don’t know for certain without doing an audit, but it should be noted that the USPS employs about 574,000 people…far more than, say, McDonad’s, which is also a labor-intensive corporation.  My bet is that the USPS probably employs far more people than it needs to, probably at higher wages than needs be paid, and you can figure they probably get fat pensions and benefits.  The bottom line is that the USPS does not need to go out of business, nor does it need more taxpayer hand outs…but it does need to massively cut costs.

It is time for the USPS – which does enjoy a monopoly on first class mail delivery – to join the real world.  Sink or swim – either figure out how to make itself profitable off of $65 billion in revenue, or fold and let UPS and FedEx compete for shares of that $65 billion in revenue.  Not one thin dime of taxpayer money!

Postal Service Seeks to Cut 120,000 Jobs

From the Washington Post:

The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent and to withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it could provide benefits at a lower cost.

The layoffs would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements, a proposal that drew swift fire from postal unions. The plan would require congressional approval but, if successful, could be precedent-setting, with possible ripple effects throughout government. It would also deliver a major blow to the nation’s labor movement…

First off, I’d like to say I never knew we had 120,000 postal workers.  Whenever I go to the post office I see 10 windows and two clerks.  Where are the rest?

That aside, this proposal will be fought tooth and nail – Democrats simply do not want 120,000 dues-paying (ie Democrat-donating) union workers let go, not right in front of an election year.  Doesn’t matter that the postal service is going bankrupt…all that matters is keeping the dues (donations) flowing.  But something does have to be done – and if any Democrat thinks there is an increased postal service subsidy waiting to come out of the House, he’s got rocks in his head (or, more accurately, more rocks than usual).

How this comes out in the end remains a mystery, but get ready for one heck of a fight…bet the Democrats try to tack a postal service rescue amendment to whatever the debt committee comes up with.