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USPS Ending Overnight First-Class Letter Service 713

Posted by timothy
from the just-another-troubled-dot-com dept.
New submitter cstacy writes "The United States Postal Service will be closing half of its processing centers this spring. Currently, 42% of first-class mail is delivered the following day for nearby residential and business customers. But that overnight mail will be a thing of the past, with delivery guaranteed only for 2-3 days. About 51% will be delivered in two days. Periodicals may take up to nine days. (Additional delays beyond this may come into play when Congress also authorizes USPS to close operations for some days each week.)"
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USPS Ending Overnight First-Class Letter Service

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  • Netflix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Pirou (1551493) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:05AM (#38262802)
    That is going to be a pain for subscribers to Netflix, Gamefly, etc. I used to be able to validate the turn around time with local processing centers, but this is going to impact monthly turnover for those with DVD plans. I can see where this is probably going to do more to push consumers to use Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks, furthering the impact to the bottom line of USPS when more Netflix subscribers drop their service, decreasing use of traditional mail.
    • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:11AM (#38262824)

      Doubtful. Chances are pretty good Netflix and Gamefly will turn to UPS and Fedex

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204012004577072323400561792.html

      Let the free market succeed where the USPS only exists by monopoly.

      • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Funny)

        by h0dg3s (1225512) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:12AM (#38262838)
        They won't use UPS if they ever want to see their discs again.
        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Informative)

          by blind biker (1066130) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:17AM (#38263430) Journal

          Or see them intact, for that matter.
          Whenever I get some UPS package (not my choice, I am always forced into this option), I wonder in what creative new ways will the parcel be damaged. Broken items, punctures in various places of the package, even folded parcels (3D parcels, that is, where one dimension isn't particularly prominent, either), leaks of chemicals into the parcel, these are all various joys of a UPS-delivered parcel.

          The fact that they treat you like an idiot by never telling you when they'll deliver it at your home (and doing this repeatedly) just adds insult to injury.

          • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Insightful)

            by peragrin (659227) on Monday December 05, 2011 @07:33AM (#38264198)

            How do they know when they will deliver it to your home?

            answer they don't.

            fact is residential deliveries are extremely variable in their timing depending on how large the area is and how many packages are in it.

            businesses get reliable delivery times because the routes generally have so many packages going to each place every day.

          • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:30AM (#38266160) Journal

            I have to agree, although I've long since switched to FedEx for most of my package shipping needs.

            UPS uses union labor and FedEx doesn't (at least, last I checked -- because I realize there have been some fights to unionize there in the last few years).

            I'm not necessarily a believer in the idea that union labor is always worse in some way, but I think that tends to be the case when you're talking about relatively unskilled labor. Basically, you've got a scenario where the people doing basic, manual labor (loading and unloading of boxes at sorting facilities, etc.) are protected against punishment for wrongdoing in the workplace by layers of bureaucracy. (EG. Shop foreman can't just fire some guy on the spot if he witnesses him flying into a rage and stomping his boot through a customer's "FRAGILE: HANDLE WITH CARE!" box on the shop floor. He has to go through some union-mandated disciplinary procedure that probably means, at the very least, the employee just receives some kind of verbal warning for the first offense.)

            Plus, I'm not impressed with UPS based on personal stories told to me by former UPS employees themselves. For example, one of my buddies used to work at a UPS facility where he said boxes were regularly stacked up into 6 foot high walls, regardless of any warnings printed on them. When a truck would come in, someone would yell "Tear 'em down!" and they'd knock over the walls, letting boxes fall all over the concrete floor, for people to sort through and load up.

            FedEx isn't perfect.... I once had them absolutely destroy a music synthesizer I was shipping to Canada, and then fight me for weeks about paying the insurance claim on it. But overall, I think they have a better track record of getting boxes to destinations on time and in one piece. Additionally, they have a better arrangement for receivers of packages if they're not available to sign for the delivery. Unlike UPS, it's easy to go to a FedEx facility in person, in the evening, and sign for and pick up your delivery.

      • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:31AM (#38262954)

        UPS/Fedex? Ridiculous!

        The USPS is incredibly cheap compared to the commercial alternatives. The USPS goes to EVERY mailbox each day (6 days a week). Nearly everyone gets mail every day and even if there is none to deliver there might be some to pick up. This is particularly important outside of big cities. There are MILLIONS of people living outside UPS/Fedex delivery zones.

        What are you going to do for the farmers and ranchers who live 50 miles away from the nearest FedEx drop box? Remeber they don't get internet out there either. So you are going to let them swing? Really? Nothing for the people growing your food? It is not wise to SHIT on the people who feed you.

        Government operations like the post office is just one of the many "costs of doing business" in a large society. Change the funding model so that the postal service can raise its rates and fire those that need firing and you'll see that it can work.

        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Interesting)

          by firex726 (1188453) <firex726@@@yahoo...com> on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:39AM (#38263022)

          Not to get too off topics, but that's something I never quite got.
          As society gets larger and more spread out there are certain services such as the USPS/Fire dept that will become a nesesity reagrdless of their bottom line.

          • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jhoegl (638955) on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:52AM (#38263356)
            Agreed... but then we live in the USA, where people are ignorant and uncaring of others as long as they can save a dime.
            Oh, you want running water way out there? I dont want to pay for it even though you help pay for my schools, my roads, my police, and my firefighters.
            • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Funny)

              by skovnymfe (1671822) on Monday December 05, 2011 @04:32AM (#38263708)
              Oh get off your high horse, you SOCIALIST.
            • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Informative)

              by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:56AM (#38264478)
              OK, a couple of points. First people who live out in the sticks probably are not paying for your firefighters (unless your firefighters are paid out of state funds, they are not in my state). Fire companies in most rural communities are voluntary, non-profit organizations that are not run by the local government. Generally, their operational expenses come from donations (although they sometimes get grants from various government agencies to buy new equipment). Another point, U.S. society is actually less spread out today than it was 100 years ago (that is a larger percentage of the population lives in cities today than did then). As for running water, very few, if any, people living in rural areas are dependent on the government for running water and they like it that way.
          • COMMUNIST (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:29AM (#38263866) Journal

            So, while firex726 is hauled away for daring to think in a free country (try typing that with a straight face) I, as a communist living in a communist country (IE everywhere NOT America) can confirm this.

            There are plenty of essential services that our society depends on but that don't always make economic sense. A starbucks is a easy. it should only continue to exist where it makes economic sense. It is not going to have enough business to sustain itself in a one horse town. (Horses don't drink coffee for the agriculturally challenged) But since nobody actually NEEDS a coffee shop (no, you really don't no matter how much you need caffeine to function) this is alright. You can live your entire life quiet happily without a starbucks or a McD near you.

            But try the same thing without say, water and sewage services. Electricity or gas. Or even more basic, a road system. Roads to most people just seem to be there but they are costly to put down and maintain and often of no direct economic value. It is a rare farm that can afford to pay for a road a system to deliver its produce to all its customers. Without the road it cannot deliver but it would be a very costly bit of lettuce if the farm itself had to pay for it. Me? The customer pay for it? I don't NEED that farm road or even the countless kilometers (remember, communist) of highway. I live in a small area and pay for goods to be delivered to me. They can pay the transport costs from that.

            This is why private roads are rare AND deliver ON private roads is NOT a sure thing. If you own a farm and don't keep your private road in a satisfactory state of repair you might be highly surprised to learn that deliveries are to the edge of your land, not the door. I am not going to risk MY truck on YOUR pot filled hole. To some people, getting the mail is a bit a more then firing up Gmail.

            Essential services are a part of the infrastructure that an entire society is build upon. This is nothing new. It doesn't even have to be costly. Once the USPS was a big source of income for the US government. But decades of mis management in order to reduce government by republicans have made a profitable service that everyone needs a byword for money loosing inefficiency. And the result? We have been steadily going back on the quality of a service once known for its reliability.

            But who still sends mail? Bill collectors? In a country in debt, that is the only remaining growth industry. The idea that you can send a letter and have it delivered anywhere in the country the next day is so ingrained that we don't think of it anymore. Electricity and water are the same and when they are turned off for a short time we suddenly notice how depended we are on it (quick for how many flushes of your shit do you have water stored). But they are only cut for short times or during unplanned outages where everyone is working as fast as possible to get it back up. NOBODY could seriously suggest that electricity will only be delivered part time (except in the glorious free market of California, high tech area of the world, think about that if you can).

            Once the mail service has been gutted (and it is already way to late) turning it back on is impossible. The infrastructure is gone and no matter how much it is needed, the finances just won't be there to restart it. Oh, the people will adjust but it will be one more slide into 2nd world status for the US. Roads broken up, bridges falling apart, electricity unreliable as in 2nd world nations. Pretty soon, this will be used as an excuse for entire companies to relocate to areas with better infrastructure. Oh wait, the companies already did move since lack of social services and high living costs put the pressure of paying for it on individual wages and made the US worker far to expensive. Here is a hint, if the only way for a worker to come to your factory is by car, then his salary must be able to pay for said car. A cyclist can afford to demand a lower wage. Simple economics no republican will ever understand. Same with health

          • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Insightful)

            by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:34AM (#38266216)

            As society gets larger and more spread out there are certain services such as the USPS/Fire dept that will become a nesesity reagrdless of their bottom line.

            Not all the case in the US of something that will beceome a necessity as society gets larger and more spread out -- its something that's always been necessary, in part because of how large and spread out society was, and was recognized as such by the founders. For quite some time the political Right has advanced the idea that "government should be run like a business", and one of their big "successes" there has been the semi-privatization of the USPS into an entity that is, rather than operated like a public service, operated like a self-supporting business. The objective has always been to kill the USPS, and, even though it took a long time, they've finally reached the point where they've almost been successful.

            (Perhaps ironically, the USPS's main opponents are the same people that talk about limiting government to performing its constitutional roles -- and operating a postal service and postal roads is one of those constitutional roles.)

        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Chalnoth (1334923) on Monday December 05, 2011 @05:55AM (#38263934)
          The problem actually has nothing to do with the Post Office's business model. The USPS makes quite significant profits. The problem, instead, has to do with Republican legislation put into law in 2006 built with the very purpose of killing the USPS: the USPS has to forward-pay the benefits of its employees *for 75 years into the future*. See here:
          http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/09/28/330524/postal-non-crisis-post-office-save-itself/ [thinkprogress.org]

          So basically, we shouldn't have to deal with this. But the Republicans want to kill the post office.
      • I disagree. My suspicion is that most people would rather put up with the slightly slower service and the customers who feel that this will impact their experience will add another disc to their plan. Chances are it's a minority of Netflix customers who watch more than one or two discs per week. The one-per-week customers will not have a real impact to their experience.

      • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shentino (1139071) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:51AM (#38263088)

        The USPS exists by monopoly to preserve service to poor areas.

        We decided that mail service was such an important part of our national infrastructure that we mandated it even in the poor areas.

        The monopoly was a QPQ that allowed the USPS to serve unprofitable areas with the support of income from high profit areas.

        Otherwise a commercial mail service would hog the high spots to itself and leave rural areas out in the cold.

        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Informative)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:53AM (#38265674) Homepage

          We decided that mail service was such an important part of our national infrastructure that we mandated it even in the poor areas.

          Also worth noting here is that the people who negotiated the Constitution thought a public mail service was so important that it's one of the 18 powers specifically granted to Congress. (Article 1, section 8)

      • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Interesting)

        by arth1 (260657) on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:02AM (#38263132) Homepage Journal

        Let the free market succeed where the USPS only exists by monopoly.

        No, USPS is no monopoly. If you think you can deliver letters across the country for less than half a dollar, you're free to do so. And unlike the USPS, you're not required to do so.
        And therein lies the problem - USPS, which is a private company, doesn't get to fight against other companies because laws and regulations hinder them. Which is fair enough, but then We The People need to foot the bill for this extra service we demand of them.

        My advice: Nationalize the postal service[*].
        The government owned and run postal services of many other countries do pretty well at low cost.
        Where they have privatized them, the expenses have skyrocketed and service has taken a dive.

        [*]: As well as any other essential services now run as private companies. The US Mint and the USPS are good starters, but there are dozens.

        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Informative)

          by cstacy (534252) on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:29AM (#38263256)

          Let the free market succeed where the USPS only exists by monopoly.

          No, USPS is no monopoly. If you think you can deliver letters across the country for less than half a dollar, you're free to do so.

          Actually, USPS is a monopoly. It is a federal crime to deliver a letter. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Express_Statutes [wikipedia.org]

        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Informative)

          by mysidia (191772) * on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:35AM (#38263276)

          No, USPS is no monopoly. If you think you can deliver letters across the country for less than half a dollar, you're free to do so.

          No... you're not free to do so. That proposition would be a federal crime. Under 18 USC S 1696 [cornell.edu]. Also, the "unlawful letters" would then be subject to seizure by US postal workers, and US marshals.

          Whoever establishes any private express for the conveyance of letters or packets, or in any manner causes or provides for the conveyance of the same by regular trips or at stated periods over any post route which is or may be established by law, or from any city, town, or place to any other city, town, or place, between which the mail is regularly carried, shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

      • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Uberbah (647458) on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:17AM (#38263202)

        Let the free market succeed where the USPS only exists by monopoly.

        Force the "free market" to completely fund the pensions of workers that haven't even been born yet and then we'll talk about how the USPS has "failed".

        • Re:Netflix (Score:5, Informative)

          by hrvatska (790627) on Monday December 05, 2011 @08:52AM (#38264470)
          To elaborate on what Uberbah is referring to, a 2006 Congressional mandate contained in the “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006”, required the USPS to pre-fund healthcare benefits of future retirees, a 75 year liability over a 10 year period. It has to project and pay for employees who haven't even been born yet. No other agency or corporation is required to do this. UPS and FedEx are not required to do this, only the USPS. Whose lobbyists do you think congress and the white house were listening to when they passed this provision? 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 on interest rate assumptions and long term predictions concerning health care and compensation of $2.5 billion (a non cash accounting adjustment), you come up with $8 billion in cost. Actual loss was $500 million and when added, comes to the $8.5 billion reported for 2010. While $500 million is a lot, it doesn’t compare with $8.5 billion and is down from the previous year loss of $1 billion. If you took out the onerous pre-funding mandate, the Postal Service actually shows a $700 million profit over the last four years instead of the $20 billion loss.
      • Re:Netflix (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mjwx (966435) on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:25AM (#38263228)

        Let the free market succeed where the USPS only exists by monopoly.

        Yep, without a low cost alternative to UPS, FedEx and DHL, prices will all of a sudden drop through the floor.

        That was sarcasm in case you didn't get it. The invisible hand is only ever preparing to pull down your pants and give you a wedgie.

        The USPS needs to get rid of it's bad, underutilised services and focus on it's core, money making units. Australia Post has managed to compete well with private couriers and are keeping up to date with technology as well as offering new services. Here lies the success of Aus Post, they diversified and now only 50% of their revenue comes from postal services, of the last 5 times I went into a post shop only 1 time was to post something. Why bother posting a cheque to the power company when I can pay it at the post shop (grandma still hasn't figured out how to pay online, but she can give the money to the clerk at the post shop), hell, what we used to call the post office is now the post shop because it's become more of a shop then an office.

        If I want to send something across Australia in 24 hours with guaranteed delivery, I'll pay a courier to make sure it gets there on time. I have to do this with some documents and even data as 6 GB takes a long time to transmit but can be contained on 2 DVD's. But if I dont care how long it takes to get there and just want the cheapest option, I'll take Aus Post. I have to ask why the USPS didn't restructure like this years ago.

  • Good plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:11AM (#38262830)

    They're going to encourage people to use their services by dramatically reducing the service quality they offer.

    • Or, phrased differently, they're going to cut their distribution costs in half (from 500 processing centers to 250) while providing virtually the same service in 58% of cases and only slightly diminished service for the other 42%. Considering I wasn't even aware of the fact that letters I mailed to someone local to my area would arrive next-day, I have to wonder how much others will miss it. I just figured they all took 2-3 days, and would've never noticed a different if this hadn't been posted here.

  • It's a SERVICE (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:12AM (#38262836)

    The sad thing is to hear people bitch about the raising cost of a First Class letter - sent *ANYWHERE* for how much? 50 cents or so? Oh yeah, that's WAY out of line...

    People, the US Mail is a *service* to the public, there's no way it can every pay for itself and still move mail at the current rates. We fund this *service* with tax money, *not* postage.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:18AM (#38262888)

      If are tax dollars aren't being used to kill someone or throw them in jail then it's just inefficiency and overreaching government!

    • Re:It's a SERVICE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:27AM (#38262934)

      The sadder thing is that the USPS's peak delivery year was 2006. Maybe there's been a very substantial downturn since then, but the internet was hardly new.

      What is new is a 2006 law requiring the USPS to bank their employees' retirement money 75 years in advance. Since then they've been paying the treasury $5,000,000,000 per year, to cover the retirement of people who haven't even been born yet.

      Some people think the Congress did this to kill the USPS.

      • Re:It's a SERVICE (Score:4, Informative)

        by Hadlock (143607) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:50AM (#38263080) Homepage Journal

        Considering the condition Social Security is in, it seems to wise to plan ahead like that. Social security as we know it will be gone, or severely neutered by the time I reach retirement age. There's nothing wrong with making long term plans; you can't put everything on the national credit card forever.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Uberbah (647458)

          Social security as we know it will be gone, or severely neutered by the time I reach retirement age.

          Only if you let corrupt politicians take it from you. There's nothing wrong with Social Security. At all.

          The "crisis" bullshit is propaganda to get you to accept cuts now so they can continue to use the 'trust fund' surpluses to fund tax cuts for the rich and the military-industrial-congressional-survellance-contractor complex.

          • by khallow (566160)

            Only if you let corrupt politicians take it from you. There's nothing wrong with Social Security. At all.

            We're about 80 years too late for that. Social Security had the seeds of the current problems in it from the beginning. Plus there have been innumerable projections of Social Security. They all show the same thing. It doesn't work in the long term, unless benefits are cut or Social Security taxes increased.

            The "crisis" bullshit is propaganda to get you to accept cuts now so they can continue to use the 'trust fund' surpluses to fund tax cuts for the rich and the military-industrial-congressional-survellance-contractor complex.

            This is why I advocate ending Social Security. It's been one of the chief bribes for the "military-industrial-congressional-survellance-contractor complex". My view is that if you want to end the corrupti

        • Why not make congress or hte military or amtrak or any other government agency do this then?

    • Re:It's a SERVICE (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:27AM (#38262936)

      You do realize that the postal service is mandated that it needs to be able to support itself? And that it's been doing so just fine for quite some time? And that none of our taxes have gone to it in any significant amount in recent history? Just because Congress governs it doesn't mean that we provide for its funding.

      The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters. Revenue in the 2000s has been dropping sharply due to declining mail volume, prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit.

      From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

      • by spd_rcr (537511) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:57AM (#38263574) Homepage

        USPS isn't on the verge of collapse due to any shortfall in business, it's recent changes in politics that have thrown a set of concrete slippers on a historically great swimmer.

        H.R. 1351 would allow the Postal Service to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to the congressional mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees. No other government agency or private company bears this burden, which forces the Postal Service to fund a 75-year liability in 10 years — at a cost of more than $5 billion annually. Without the mandate, the USPS would have shown a surplus of $611 million over the past four fiscal years.

        from http://postalemployeenetwork.com/news/2011/09/h-r-1351-gains-momentum-on-capitol-hill/ [postalempl...etwork.com]

        There's a lot more to the Post Office than just delivering junk-mail. The Post Office has been the glue that allowed the US to exist almost right from the start. The difference between a 1st class nation and a 3rd world country is the Post Office. Can you imagine if your bills didn't arrive in a timely fashion or you weren't able to put a check in the mail. Sure there's a lot of movement towards electronic payments for everything, but there are still plenty of areas without broadband and getting on the modern web with a modem is painful. Odds are if you're older, the Post Office also delivers your medications safely and quickly regardless of where you live. Rain or shine, you can always count on the Post Office to deliver, Fed-up and OoPS, half the time when the package is in town, on the truck and out for delivery, it still won't show up for another day or two as they skip stops.

        If I was a politician, I'd really think twice about screwing with retirees prescriptions or the people handling the ballots.

    • Actually, no, it's not. At least not for the last 30 years or so.

      The only taxpayer money that goes to the USPS is ~ $100mm a year to cover things mostly for the disabled and overseas voters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Service). They are only expected to break even.

      And therein lies the problem. The basic fact of the matter is that e-mail has eroded their bread-and-butter; people needing to communicate with another person. Bills/invoices are also going this way. While not everyone uses

      • Re:It's a SERVICE (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RalphSlate (128202) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:59AM (#38263114) Homepage

        The USPS sucks at delivering packages? And doesn't provide adequate tracking? What country do you live in?

        * UPS does not typically deliver on the weekend unless the sender pays extra. USPS does.

        * I can go to the USPS website to track my packages.

        * Anecdotally, UPS packages seem to take longer to deliver than USPS. They don't seem to be able to accurately predict delivery time either. With USPS, a priority package arrives in 3 days, and often 2.

        * If I am required to sign for a USPS package and I'm not home, I just have to drive to post office within 1/4 mile of my house. If I miss a UPS delivery, I have to drive 5 miles to the next town to their shipping terminal.

        I'll take the USPS any day over UPS. The reason USPS is hurting is that UPS is allowed to cherry-pick the profitable package business while avoiding the daily mail responsibility. Seems like in order for the competition to be fair, anyone competing should have to play by the same rules.

    • Re:It's a SERVICE (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ben_R_R (1177533) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:37AM (#38263004)
      Actually, 0% of the USPS funding is through taxes. As an entity, it is entirely self supporting. See: http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-facts/welcome.htm#H12 [usps.com]
    • Re:It's a SERVICE (Score:5, Informative)

      by captainkoloth (99341) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:58AM (#38263108)

      The USPS is totally self funded and profitable. The problem is Congress gave them a near-impossible pension funding mandate so that they could borrow against those pension funds. It's more like the government is leeching off of USPS. Not the other way around

  • Best solution... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstrickler (920733) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:24AM (#38262916)

    Get Congress to allow 3 day a week delivery on residential routes (and maybe commercial routes), Mon-Wed-Fri for half, Tue-Thu-Sat for the other half. Still offer daily delivery to post office boxes. Anyone who thinks they really need daily delivery can rent a PO Box and pick it up daily.

  • by Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) <JetpackJohn@gmail.com> on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:26AM (#38262924) Homepage

    I really wish Congress, and the Post Master General for that matter, would stop pretending that the USPS is just another business and should be operated as such. It's not! Mail has been a public service almost since this country was founded and the idea goes back even further in time in some other countries.

    Given what the USPS does, it cannot operate like a normal business and it shouldn't have to. Considering how much money they are losing each year, it's clear they need to change something, and I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for first class postage, but this idea that the USPS needs to break even needs to stop soon before Congress completely ruins the postal service.

    Packages aside, you simply can't send everything through email. I still get plenty of real non-junk mail all the time, from bank notices to insurance EOBs. This is far more secure than email could ever hope to be. Yes, it would be nice if everybody encrypted their email (especially banks), but until that happens, regular mail is a lot more secure. We actually have laws against this sort of thing and most people even take them seriously. There is little, if anything, to prevent electronic eavesdropping.

    I certainly don't want to see the end of the traditional post office in my lifetime, but at the rate Congress is going, who knows. And while I would expect the Post Master General to be fighting the good fight *for* the USPS, every time I hear him talk it seems like he's gung ho to implement whatever idea Congress throws his way.

    The USPS is a public service, not a business...

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:32AM (#38262956) Homepage

    This just sounds like someone wants to kill the USPS and loot it.

    Get rid of the pre-loading of pensions for 75 years as required by Congress, and they'd be a LOT closer to solvent - and no need to have slower packages.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They'd not only be solvent, they'd be *profitable*. The pre-loading costs them five BILLION dollars a year. Basically the government is propping up FERS by looting the USPS. One wonders who they'll go after next once the USPS craters.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Yeah. It's not like Congress has been against looting pension funds for anyone else, why should the postal service be any different?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @01:35AM (#38262982)

    I would like to ask that the post office only deliver once a week. And that should be the day before garbage/recycling day. 60% of the mail I get goes straight into recycling. The next 30% goes into the shredder and into yard waste bin.

    We get so little mail which is direct and important correspondence any more that we only check our mail once or twice a week. Every few months the mailman puts a slip in our box saying we have to go the post office to pick things up because our box is full.

    We had 9lbs of mail last time we picked it up. We kept two letters out of everything (2oz).

    The problem is not with their service, rather, they have discounted their service so much for things that people don't care about that it has degraded and made the delivery of important items a secondary item. Those who say "they make all their profit on bulk mail". I argue, if they didn't have to stop at EVERY BOX and transport TONS of material every day, they should be able to deliver the first class mail much faster and require half the staff.

    And talking about staffing, when they closed a mail processing center in the midwest recently, I saw that nobody lost their jobs. Instead, the unions said the employees took new jobs and were "forced" to deliver mail door to door.

    I have no sympathy.
     

  • by rueger (210566) * on Monday December 05, 2011 @02:51AM (#38263348) Homepage
    Coming from Canada a few year ago I was amazed by the USPS.

    Overnight delivery? We're used to four to seven days, even in town.

    Saturday delivery? We lost that in the seventies.

    Mail pickup at your rural mailbox? I'm assuming we don't have that either.

    Most amazing to us though was that people used USPS to send important things, and assumed that they'd arrive, and on time. No way do you do that with Canada Post.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday December 05, 2011 @03:48AM (#38263546) Homepage

    95% of what the USPS delivers to my mailbox goes directly into the recycling bin. This is no great loss.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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