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BusinessInsider jumps on the “Postal BAILOUT!!” bandwagon

BusinessInsider.com has posted its own slap dash imitation of the Wall Street Journal’s recent attack on the US Postal Service- it starts like this:

Announcing a $2.2 billion first quarter loss for 2011, the U.S. Postal Service warned it would become insolvent unless Congress takes action.

The institution has already lost a shocking $20 billion since 2007.

The reasons are obvious.

As most readers know, that much is true- the obvious reason the USPS has “lost a shocking $20 billion since 2007″ is the $5.5 billion tax Congress slapped on the agency in 2006. Most readers will also have already guessed that the story doesn’t explain that. Instead, it provides such insights as: “To cover its losses, the Post Office took a soon to be depleted, $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury in the early 1990’s, and has been drawing on it ever since.” (How the USPS managed to cover $20 billion in “losses” with a $15 billion credit line isn’t explained.) Here’s another: “Thus USPS officials are now asking Congress to skip their annual $5.4 billion retiree health benefit prepayment and to adopt a pay-as-you go system; the same method currently used by states like California, that can’t meet their obligations.” Excellent analysis. If you ignore the plain fact that the USPS, unlike California, has no problem meeting its current retiree obligations.

The writer does get points for actually mentioning the fact that the USPS has in reality overpaid its pension obligations, but since this doesn’t match the story he wants to tell, he manages to twist the words around until he can use the magic word: BAILOUT!

In fact, the Postal Regulatory Commission claims that the Post Office has overpaid the system $50 to $75 billion throughout the years, and consequently it asks the Federal Government to assume the health care burden of its retired workers. The postal union says this would cover retiree [sic] who earned pensions prior to 1970, when the law that reformed the Post Office came into effect. Some kind of bailout is coming, or the end of an institution.

Nice touch getting the word “union” in there too, even if the sentence doesn’t make any sense.

via THE NEXT BAILOUT? The Post Office Has Lost Nearly $20 Billion In Four Years.

  • Tim

    I ask anyone to figuere this out 20 billion in four years, Ok 5.5 billion a year for retiree benefits, 4 x 5.5 billion is 22 Billion dollar’s The USPS would be in the black if it wasn’t for this payment alone nevermind the over payment of 50 to 75 billion.

  • tom

    its a bloody soap opera. tune in tomorrow for the next episode.
    why doesn’t the media get real and publish the facts.

  • Marcus

    I will give this one to the power of the Internet. It makes Liars look really bad as in this case.

  • M. Jamison

    Facts no longer matter, the narrative is constructed to fit the agenda. The Republicans have a need to demean government at every turn so any solution that rectifies the over funding becomes a bailout and all the better if we can somehow blame the situation on the unions.
    It isn’t just the health payments. There is clear evidence that the Postal Service has over funded both its CSRS and FERS pension obligations and by most accounts it would appear that Workmen’s Comp payments are also over funded. The problem is that addressing those issues would not be consistent with the narrative of debt reduction.
    The future of the Postal Service is going to be sacrificed on the altar of ideology and the shame of it is that the postal jobs that are being cut are some of the only jobs in America, public or private sector, that are essentially fully paid for.
    Add to the political agenda the fact that senior postal management seems to be intent on forcing an agenda that can only end in a crippled, privatized, and neutered postal entity and it is unlikely that the story comes out with a happy ending.

  • Tony

    VERA NOW!

  • don

    What does the private company do when they don’t make profit? Raise the prices. The mail volumn is down by half, then raise the price to double. Simple as that or your company goes down as others.

  • David

    Well-said, M. Jamison… I have been reading your posts for years, often-times conflicted regarding your rather scholastic approach to the business model, application, and working conditions at the USPS. However, I feel as if for once, you have managed to peel away the layers of personal experience from your commentary to reveal frustration, and consignment, and an almost sentimental feeling of sadness pertaining to the atmosphere in the country today, and the Post Office’s place in it.
    I would hope you are wrong in stating that it appears unlikely that the story comes out with a happy ending, but, as I still work there, I believe that to be the case also.
    Well-said, M. Jamison, well-said.

  • VMF Retired

    Kudos to M. Jamison…