What do those four charts really explain?

Kevin KosarBack in my previous life as a financial analyst, one book that was always on my shelf was “How to Lie With Charts” by Gerald Jones. The title is meant to be tongue in cheek- Jones’s purpose is to help presenters avoid creating misleading charts and graphs. But I couldn’t help thinking of the title after reading Kevin Kosar’s article “Four charts explain the Postal Service’s financial struggles“, which was posted on the RStreet blog yesterday. Kosar was formerly an analyst with the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, where he frequently wrote analyses of the postal service’s finances. He now works for the very partisan RStreet lobbying organization.

What led me to connect Kosar’s piece with Jones’s book wasn’t the charts themselves for the most part, but rather the conclusions Kosar wants the reader to reach based on the charts. He certainly isn’t lying- but his charts don’t always support his conclusions. And sometimes they show the exact opposite. Let’s look at them, one by one:

Figure 1: Mail volume is down 60 billion pieces since 2007 (Billions of pieces)

The first chart is pretty straightforward, and shows the decline of total mail volume, down 25% from its peak. Not really anything to argue about there- no one disputes the fact that volume is down.

Figure 2: Fewer mail pieces means lower revenue ($1B)

The next chart shows the USPS revenue trend. Here Kosar does make the chart a bit more impressive by only showing a portion of the data- instead of using zero as the base as he did in the volume chart, he starts at $60 billion, making the drop from 2008 to 2009 appear about five times as big as it would have appeared on a zero-based chart. But it isn’t so much the chart that’s misleading- it’s the comment that follows it. I would think that the casual observer looking at this chart would see that the USPS is starting to recover from the recession. Not Kosar:

Figure 2 tells the tale; between 2007 and 2012, the USPS’ annual revenues fell from about $75 billion to $65 billion. Increased postage rates and carrying more parcels has bumped up the Postal Service’s revenues the past two years, but not by enough. As Figure 3 below shows, the rate increases, which came under a special legal provision, will expire in early 2016.

So revenue is up recently, but “not by enough”? Enough for what? We’ll come back to that in the next chart. What’s interesting is how Kosar takes a positive- a revenue increase- and spins it into a negative. Apparently “carrying more parcels” is somehow a bad thing? And the fact that the USPS made more money by raising prices is a problem? He notes that the price increase “came under a special legal provision” as if that means the extra money the USPS took in wasn’t real revenue. But the fact is that the “special legal provision” actually limited the postal service’s ability to raise prices.

Figure 3: USPS has not cut expenses quickly enough ($1B)

In the third chart Kosar shows the impact of the PAEA trust fund requirement on USPS expenses:

Postal unions will tell you the USPS is in financial trouble because Congress forced it to pre-fund its current employees’ future retirement health benefits. It’s true these costs are significant, at more than $5 billion per year. Yet even if one wished away these employee compensation costs, the USPS still has not been able to keep revenues above costs.

What’s curious about Kosar’s comment is that the chart shows the exact opposite. Without the trust fund charges, the USPS did “keep revenues above costs” for the last two fiscal years. In other words, chart 3 disproves Kosar’s comment on chart 2 that the USPS raised revenue in those years, “but not by enough”.  Kosar also refers to critics of the RHBF trust fund requirement as wanting to “wish” away the trust fund, conveniently forgetting that the RHBF is not some fundamental requirement based in sound accounting practice- it was, one might say, “wished” into existence by Congress in 2006- it can be “wished” away by Congress just as easily.

Figure 4: USPS debt has spiked ($1B)

Lastly we get to the debt “spike”. Here again, the data and the chart are straightforward, Kosar’s comment, however, is a bit curious:

The Postal Service had no debt in 2005. Come 2012, it had hit its $15 billion legal debt cap. With too little revenue coming in and expenses too high, debt piled up. Even without paying into its Retiree Health Benefits Fund, the service’s debt grew another $3 billion over the past three years.

Hmmm… so the USPS had no debt in 2005, but managed to hit its statutory $15 billion limit by 2012? What could have caused that? Did something happen in, say, 2006 that drastically altered USPS finances? The obvious answer is, of course, PAEA. Kosar, however, ignores PAEA’s impact in those years, blaming instead “too little revenue coming in and expenses too high”. Well, yes, expenses were too high- and the main contributor was PAEA, and the RHB trust fund. My source for that assertion is none other than Kevin Kosar. In a report he wrote for the Congressional Research Service just last year, Kosar added up the trust fund payments the USPS made  after the passage of PAEA in 2006- a grand total of $17.9 billion.

In other words, according to Kosar’s own previous report for CRS, without the trust fund payments the USPS would still be debt free.

The pre-funding requirement is far from the only problem facing the USPS- no serious observer would say otherwise. But the numbers clearly show that pre-funding is behind the postal service’s proverbial “massive debt”. That’s just simple arithmetic!

Source: Four charts explain the Postal Service’s financial struggles | R Street Institute | Free Markets. Real Solutions.

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    Thanks for reading. Question: Why did you not mention that I wrote that postal debt went up $3 billion AFTER USPS quit paying into the RHBF in 2010? That’s an important fact, but maybe one you find inconvenient? 🙂 Also, the green line in Figure 3 shows USPS ran big deficits (sans RHBF expense) from 2009 to 2012, and barely broke even the past two years. That too is indicative of USPS’s basic business model problem. Less mail, and more of it low margin. As for the RHBF—sure, it played a major role in USPS’s debt. It was a bonkers payment schedule. But as my piece argues, don’t blame it for everything wrong with USPS’s finances. Cheers!

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    PS: R Street Institute in a nonpartisan think-tank. We do not carry anyone’s water, and frequently vex everyone by calling things as we see them. Unlike my former agency, we do not depend on congressional appropriations to cover our costs. So we need not mince words.

  • Thomas M Long Jr

    Why not question how much money is already in the RHB account for future employees? How many employees were career in 2006 and how many are expected 70 years from now? How much is really needed for this account? This especially true if the money is not taken out for 70 years.

  • justmehla

    Hm Clear the smoked bull and it looks to me like Koser is pretty clearly Lying um misleading the charts are just a ruse for propaganda.

  • uncle ben

    How about the giveaways to big corporations? How about letting people pay less and less if they don’t come to post offices to do their mailing? What about calling catalog and ad mailers the “stakeholder”–a switch from when American people, the public, were the stakeholders?
    Does this show a deliberate attempt to lower revenue in order to help out the privatizers?

  • postalnews

    The balance at the end of FY 2014 was $48.9 billion. The figure is updated each year in the USPS Annual Report.

  • postalnews

    The $3 billion is a big deal, but certainly not as big as the $17.9 billion in trust fund payments you ignored when describing the rapid increase in USPS debt from 2005 to 2012! RHBF is, as I said in my piece, certainly not responsible for all the postal service’s problems- just all the debt!

  • Liam Skye

    “R Street is a free-market think tank with a pragmatic approach to public policy challenges. We draw inspiration from such thinkers as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Ronald A. Coase, James M. Buchanan, and Arthur C. Pigou. We favor consumer choice; low, flat taxes; regulation that is transparent and applied equitably; and systems that rely on price signals rather than central planning. Thus, it’s fair to say that we’re on the political right.” http://www.rstreet.org/about/why-r-street/

    R Street Institute clearly states their right-wing position on their website. They can call themselves “nonpartisan” if they want – it is nearly meaningless. They are quite open about their ultra-right views and the fact their legislative advisory board is 100% Republican.

    I am glad to hear that, like the United States Postal Service, you “do not depend on congressional appropriations to cover (y)our costs.”

  • OGNSHG

    Kosar didn’t mention the $17.9 billion payments because it would’ve been inconvenient to his twisted chart-spitting spin. Non-partisan?! … my arse.

  • D. Pinthot

    The latest data, I can find (2013), has the USPS retiree health care fund with an unfunded liability of $95 billion. What are they going to use when the trust fund runs out, if the USPS keeps defaulting on its PAEA payments? Fairy dust?

  • D. Pinthot

    All the PAEA did was take a long term debt- retiree health benefits- and rightfully bring it forward and make it a liability for current rate payers. This was done to protect future ratepayers and/or taxpayers from bailing out a shrinking or insolvent future USPS. The fact that the USPS is now defaulting on its PAEA debts is proof that the law’s supporters were right. And yes, I’m non-partisan and don’t support any political party.

  • Liam Skye

    Don’t quit your day job – you aren’t going to make it as an accountant. Health benefit premiums for retirees who have not yet retired are properly a long-term liability, and that is why every single company in the nation, besides USPS reports them that way. Moving them off the balance sheet to current expenses has no precedent to support your bizarre contention that it is “rightful” to protect future ratepayers from future expenses by heaping those future expenses on current rate payers ON TOP OF the actual current expenses of paying this year’s health premiums as has always been the case, with no problems, from 1971 to 2006 when this boneheaded plan of USPS lending billions of dollars to a rapacious Congress every year was conceived.

  • JG4

    as well as the false premise that the taxpayers have to be protected… from what it’s costing them nothing now….

  • Wondering

    The large mailers are 75-80% of USPS revenue, so they should be getting discounts and the primary focus.

  • jesrf

    Read the chart again. The TOTAL health care liability is “allegedly” 95 billion (doesn’t take into account leveling of health care costs and fact that not everyone retires at their minimum retirement age (most don’t)) USPS has 47 Billion put aside (making net unfunded liability 48 Billion).
    Whats missing from the equation is that USPS currently pays its retirees health costs as it goes, they don’t touch the fund!! At all. Under PAEA whats supposed to happen next is that USPS legally should stop paying as it goes and start paying from the fund, which would be a ten billion dollar swing and make the Postal Service suddenly highly profitable!

  • postalnews

    Kevin- please- we’re all adults here. You “carry the water” of the people who fund your “institute”. And you are non-partisan in the same sense that the AFL-CIO or the US Chamber of Commerce are non-partisan, which is to say, not at all.

    The people who pay your salary didn’t hire you because you’re a free-thinking, honest and outspoken kinda guy. They hired you to push their agenda. Nothing to be ashamed of, necessarily. But it’s pretty silly to pretend otherwise, don’t you think?

  • D. Pinthot

    Apparently you don’t understand the concept of accrual accounting. Though a company or the USPS may not “prefund” a post retirement benefit, that future entitlements has been created today and must be recognized as a CURRENT expense. See FASB ASC 715-60. Here’s a summary:
    Essentially, the standard requires companies to accrue compensation expense each year employees perform services, for the expected cost of providing future post retirement benefits that can be attributed to that service.
    Pushing these retiree health care costs to the future is dishonest accounting and a sneaky trick on future ratepayers.

    As for Congress, I’m not going to defend their fiscal shenanigans, but I can see the trend toward electronic communication and don’t want to see the taxpayers on the hook for promises the USPS made but welched on by cookin’ the books.

  • postalnews

    No, the fact that the USPS is “defaulting” on its PAEA payments is proof that the USPS can’t afford to make the payments. Period. Politicians established the payment schedule, not actuaries, or health insurance experts. And they established it at a time when the USPS was debt free, and doing pretty well. Then the recession struck- and did the politicians adjust their arbitrary payment schedule? Of course not! Since 2006, the USPS has also unloaded thousands of career employees. New employees make less money, have minimal benefits, and can be fired at will.

    All of that presumably has an impact on the postal service’s future retiree health benefit liability, but the law still requires payments to be made as if it was still 2006.

    How does forcing the USPS into insolvency by maintaining a payment schedule that even Kevin Kosar admits is “bonkers” help anyone?

  • Mr.Postman

    Yes but Standard Mail needs to make money,not be a money loser.Volume and pre-sort discounts yes.

  • Zeus

    If you believe that money is still there and not already spent by Congress on other programs to balance budgets,Ive got a bridge to nowhere in Alaska to sell you.

  • Mr.Zip

    Yes it is most likely another Koch Brothers funded “think tank” for the right wing Kool-Aid drinkers.The graphs look like what USPS management uses to mislead the public.

  • retired too

    I’m not following your logic. Are you saying that if a company hires an employee, on day one, all potentially possible post retirement benefits , created that day, should have to be funded as a current expense?

  • D. Pinthot

    You are right. The net unfunded liability is $48 billion. But pay as you go isn’t going to reduce that in the near term. That liability includes liabilities being accumulating on current employees too. It’s more likely to increase rather than not. In fact, the USPS payments for retiree health costs have gone from $744 million in 2000 to $2.985 billion in 2014. That trend is troubling. The USPS can keep defaulting on this lawful payment and keep spinning its rosy operating profit fable, but public opinion is being borne out in the steady migration to electronic communication. I just hope we can squeeze out of the USPS as much of what it owes before taxpayers are left holding the bag.

  • D. Pinthot

    Not funded, but currently expensed. The USPS is perpetuating a lie when it claims it is profitable but for the big, bad PAEA charge. My gripe, and others’, is a future USPS will walk away from its debts ala GM and stick it to the taxpayers.

  • retired too

    I must ask, if there was no PAEA and the USPS was funding this particular obligation as it was on a pay as you go basis, what would be wrong with that. Nobody is collecting on this obligation for decades so why should the company pay all in advance?

  • D. Pinthot

    I’ll agree that the funding(not pre-funding) schedule was arbitrary, but that’s only a smidgen of the arguments I’ve seen of those who rail against it. Most argue that anything but pay as you go is unconstitutional, un-American, or unbearable. A more flexible, extended schedule could have been better, but the law was democratically enacted, never repealed, and I still believe it was necessary to get USPS moving to man up to its obligations. The original article was right that even setting aside the PAEA funding, the USPS is not in the best of shape.

  • D. Pinthot

    In my area, companies, such as Delphi and others, went bankrupt and left their retirees with reduced pensions and no health insurance. In this electronic age, if the PO is severely downsized or goes insolvent, guess who’s going to pick up the tab of the unfunded retiree health insurance. Hello taxpayer bailout.

  • postalnews

    So your solution is to charge the USPS an arbitrary amount that it can’t afford, and force it into bankruptcy? How does that help anyone, exactly?

  • Liam Skye

    No, no. I am not saying that the liability should not be reported – only that it is properly reported as a long-term liability and only the normal cost of this year’s premiums are reported as current liability. Keep in mind that the objection is not to reporting the liability but is to lending the government money today (that the future taxpayers will have to pay back) to cover a liability that might or might not be equivalent to the amount of money that must be prepaid by statute.

    I think your consternation that the taxpayers are somehow going to be left holding a huge empty bag is not reasonable. If USPS was shut down tomorrow it would have little or no unfunded liability for pensions or worker’s compensation. Retiree health benefits represent roughly $100 billion liability, around $50 billion of which is unfunded. That seems to be the “bag” that someone might or might not be left holding. USPS holds far more than that amount in non-current assets in the form of real estate. In addition, the liability itself is very likely overstated. It is very likely that liability would be reduced by a variety of means including requiring all postal workers to use Medicare as their primary insurer and the retiree health benefit as a secondary payer. I don’t think there is a bag to be left for anyone to hold.

  • retired too

    Nobody or no business can pay today what they might owe 40 years hence. You pay as you go. If we implemented what you are advocating there would be no worries, because we’d all be bankrupt today.

  • postalnews

    The USPS IS “profitable but for the big, bad PAEA charge”. The math is pretty simple- USPS debt=$15B. PAEA payments=$17.9B. Absent PAEA, USPS has $2.9 billion cash in its bank account, and no debt.

    That is just simple math. You seem to think that the PAEA charges are realistic, actuarially sound charges that any business would be required to pay.

    They aren’t.

    As has been explained elsewhere, they are arbitrary charges established by Congress in 2006 when the USPS was debt free, and the economy was doing well. They have not been adjusted since then, despite USPS downsizing, the recession, and the influx of lower paid, non-career employees who have NO retirement liability.

    Please tell me what company or government agency is required to do what the USPS is required to do? You can’t name one. So are all US companies and agencies “lying”?

  • postalnews

    “Setting aside the PAEA funding”, the USPS has a surplus of $2.9 billion.

    How does that equate to “not in the vest of shape”?

  • D. Pinthot

    Is the USPS shrinking or not? Yes. Is volume declining or not? Yes. Is the internet, direct deposit, online banking, online bill paying, electronic tax filing, UPS, Fedex, and computer printers going away. No. I hope the federal government gets as much as it can while the PO still has willing customers.

  • D. Pinthot

    ALL companies are required to account for deferred employee benefits as CURRENT expenses . As I pointed out in another comment, there’s an FASB accounting standard that requires it. These private companies don’t set aside funds for non pension deferred benefits because there is no tax deduction for doing it. However, insolvent private companies can declare bankruptcy and drop their retiree health care plans. Postal workers should be thankful the feds are prodding the PO to come up with the cash to back up its promises or face a situation like what happened to the poor retirees in Detroit. If the PO wants to be like a real business, then act like one.

  • D. Pinthot

    Ever hear of ERISA or the PBGC? Do some homework and come back with a more informed comment.

  • retired too

    I certainly hope you have never carried a mortgage or had a car loan. Do you owe the money, yeah, but not all today. I recognize your writings. How many handles do you go by? Acronyms wow, impressed. If you can’t explain your opinions come back later when you can. Thank you

  • D. Pinthot

    I agree with you that the liability could be overstated. Actuarial liability estimates are based on assumptions, which can change and so need to be regularly updated. My big beef are those who don’t even acknowledge its existence and just parrot the talking points put out by what-me-worry, Pollyannas. As long as the PO pays its bills and covers its costs, I’m OK with its continued existence.

  • D. Pinthot

    …..Or improve its efficiency and lower its operating costs.

  • D. Pinthot

    Yes, both, but I had to put money down as collateral. Those “acronyms” I mentioned were initiated because of earlier pension abuses where workers were left with nothing but retirement promises when their firms closed down. Holding the PO to its promises should be everyone’s priority.

  • retired too

    Move on to another entity. The USPS has made substantial contributions to the fund you seem concerned about and will continue to do so at the reasonable and prudent rate. If at any time you had defaulted on your mortgage your “collateral” would have been forfeited. If the bank had demanded full payment 5 years into your mortgage you would have defaulted. They wouldn’t have gotten their money and you’d have no house. If you paid as agreed they’d have their money and you’d have your house, What you’re asking for is not reasonable or prudent.

  • postalnews

    Try staying on topic. The issue addressed in the article is the fact that the current USPS debt of $15 billion is due solely to the $17.9 billion RHBF payments the USPS was required to make since 2006.

    It says nothing about whether or not the USPS should recognize future retirement liabilities on its balance sheet- and in any event, PAEA doesn’t require that.

    You’ve set up a straw man to argue with- and you argue in favor of something the current law simply does not do. I guess that’s easier than arguing against what the article actually says.

  • postalnews

    That’s probably the most popular myth I see in the comments here. As I note below, the money, $48.9 billion, is in an interest bearing account in the Treasury, and is already earmarked by law for the payment of USPS retiree health benefits premiums beginning October 1, 2016.

  • jesrf1

    You must be joking, right?

    Who in their right mind pays double their current costs into a fund for a potential future liability? This would be the equivalent of you paying for your current childrens college as you go, while trying to fund your future unborn grandchildrens college expenses (all 4 or 5 years worth) in the next four months. And still eat, pay your rent, your bills, your taxes etc.

    Another way to look at this is if you had tried to save all your retirement savings in the first 2 or 3 years of your employment and then never put another dime away for the next 40 and expect to have enough. The burden would be insane.

    This payment should be amortized out over 50 or a 100 year schedule, not a ten year schedule.

    I notice you completely ignore the other side of the argument and the actual law which will swing USPS to a huge profit starting in 2016.

    As for the whole prefunding mess, the comments of Inspector General David Williams are worth noting.

    One of Williams’ main points is that it’s important to understand the historical context of how the prefunding obligation came about in the first place. The Inspector General writes this in his letter to the GAO:

    “The Postal Service started prefunding its retiree health benefits as a result of the discovery that, due to external fund management misjudgments, it was on track to seriously overfund its pension obligations by $78 billion. This discovery was one of several fund management issues identified about the same time. The decision to turn a mistake into a second prefunding obligation created its own problems. A 10-year schedule of prefunding payments was structured toward a 100-percent funding goal. The aggressive payment schedule appears to have been set based on byzantine ‘budget scoring’ considerations rather than actuarial assumptions or an evaluation of the Postal service’s ability to make the payments.”

    In other words, the amount of the annual payments to the RHBF — around $5.5 billion — was not based on reasonable estimates of what needed to be put into the fund to cover the liability. The amount was determined by budget scoring.

    According to the way scoring works, even though the Postal Service is an independent agency with its own budget, aspects of its operations are included in the unified federal budget, which consolidates all revenues and expenses of the government. Congress therefore estimates the effects of any legislation, proposed or enacted, on the federal budget. The goal is legislation that is budget neutral.

    Those considerations, says Williams, determined the size of the annual payments to the RHBF, rather than an actuarial analysis of what they should have been. In response to Williams’ comments, the GAO added a bit more background to its report, but not enough to fully understand how the excessive health care mandate came about.
    Of course, you could easily alleviate most of this shortage by allowing USPS to invest this money anything other then Treasuries ($50 Billion dollars could earn a lot of money in the stock market, or even Corporate Bonds) Which would largely eliminate the “underfunding”

  • jesrf

    Same argument was made after the invention of the telegraph, the radio, the telephone, the fax, the computer etc.
    The next argument will be that everyone will soon have a 3D printer and letters and junk mail will print out right at the mailbox……

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    Um, no, they did not hire me to do postal work. In my interview I wasn’t asked a single question about USPS. Why? Because it is not what I was hired to do. (Again.) I do postal in addition to my work on Congress. My research and writing is funded by the Hewlett Foundation, which is anything but right wing. And it has no position on postal issues.

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    Yes, it shows USPS is running deficits. Also, you agree, right, that USPS has used the RHBF burden to justify reducing plants and service speeds? That is undeniable, and it is an important factor for this discussion. Here is why: between 2007 and 2012, USPS reduced its non-RHBF operating expense from $75 billion to $67 billion (but revenue fell even faster). Now, really, would that cutting have occurred were it NOT for the RHBF burden? No. Such cuts have not occurred before. So, that dynamic effect of cutting in response to the RHBF must be kept in mind. Saying, as you do, “Gosh, take the RHBF out and my math tells me they are running profits the past couple years and debt-free” ignores this dynamic effect.

  • postalnews

    Such cuts have not occurred before because such volume reductions have not occurred before. Of course the USPS would have made cuts without the RHBF- you can’t process and deliver mail you don’t have. And obviously, it kept making cuts after it stopped making the RHBF payments.

    The response to the RHBF burden wasn’t to cut expenses to the point where the USPS could make the payments- the response was to keep delivering the mail and NOT make the payments. It’s not “my” math- those are your numbers. And they are real, unlike your magical “dynamic effect”.

    What is undeniable is, as you tell us in your article, that the USPS was debt free in 2005. It is now $15 billion in debt after having paid $17.9 billion to the RHBF. They’re your numbers- do the math.

  • postalnews

    Um I didn’t say they hired you to “do postal work”. I said they hired you to push their agenda. The fact that the Hewlett Foundation funds your writing is fascinating, but it doesn’t change the fact that the RStreet Institute’s agenda, quoted below, is very much a right wing agenda- I assume they hire people who share that agenda, or at least lean that way. Maybe I’m wrong! Based on your article, though, I don’t think I am.

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    Yes, you are wrong. Again, you are supplementing your political assumptions for the facts. I was not hired to do postal work or asked what postal reforms I thought should be enacted. I also do not think there is a broadly held “right-wing” view about USPS. Many on the right don’t much think about it. Amongst those who do, the views vary amongst cultural conservatives, rural conservatives, libertarians, etc. Hawks on the right will remind you USPS ha responsibility for delivering Cipro in the event of another anthrax mail attack. A ot of vets are conservatives, and a lot of vets work for USPS. It’s complicated.

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    Nonpartisan means “not associated with a political party.” If you polled our staff, you’d find our political identifications are diverse. And we do not take a nickel of political party money.

  • http://www.kevinrkosar.com/ Kevin R. Kosar

    R Street is not a “lobbying organization.” Yet another factual inaccuracy in this hit piece.

  • postalnews

    It seeks to influence public officials on the issues on its agenda. According to the OED, that’s lobbying.

  • postalnews

    Kevin- once again- I never said Rstreet hired you to do postal work- where did you come up with that?

    Climate change seems to be the one issue on which you (I assume?) and RStreet are apostates. Wonderful.

    Aside from that one issue, R Street’s agenda is pretty much indistinguishable from the GOP agenda. Your four charts piece repeated the same talking points GOP members of Congress have been spouting for years now.

    There are Democrats that oppose abortion- that doesn’t make them Republicans, or even conservatives, and it certainly doesn’t make them non-partisan.

  • Mr.Zip

    It helps Issa and Ryan,and others in Congress who have stakes in UPS and their portfolios and payoffs would go through the roof if they are successful in breaking the Postal Service and Sen. Diane Feinstein has already pocketed millions off the dirty deal with her husband’s real estate brokerage CRBE to sell off USPS buildings and post offices,many at below market value to their cronies.

  • Zeus

    Letter mail volume is no longer in decline, and is stable and also the very profitable package volume is through the roof and is the reason the Postal Service has been operating at a healthy profit since it stopped the unnecessary “pre-fund” payments that weren’t going to sit in any retiree health care fund for 75 years anyway before being spent by Congress.Get your facts straight!

  • Post Paula

    You fail to realize that:
    1. Current and future postal employees pay into medicare at the same rate as all other working Americans. Medicare will pay for future postal retirees healthcare upon age 65 exactly the same as all other American retirees.
    3. The USPS retirement funds were already grossly overfunded at the time the PAEA was created in the lameduck session. No-one disputes this fact, the only dispute is the amount each fund has been overfunded by the USPS (eg 64 billion in overpayments or 30 billion.) Either amount is enough to fund the advanced Retiree Health Care provision the PAEA is requiring of the USPS….75 years into the future…these retirees haven’t even been born yet. Does your company do that? Does the IRS do that? Does the VA do that? Does Medicare do that? Does Congress do that? The answer is NO. There is no Corporation, no government agency, no Business that is required to do that…and nobody does that for their future employees.

  • Post Paula

    Absolutely. That is the only real agenda. Pitney Fed-Up want the to eat the middle out of the pie.

  • Post Paula

    Had to go all the way back to 2000 to get a figure you could use? What was the price of a gallon of gas in 2000? Gallon of milk? Here is a hint…A stamp was 33 cents. Also, have you ever heard of the baby boomers, hmmm wonder when they retired, wonder when they will die…10 years from now?