Just to make it clear, the “pre-funding” Ross refers to deals with the employer contribution to potential future USPS retirees’ health insurance payments, not the pensions of actual retirees or employees.
Neither the USPS nor its employee organizations has ever asked for a taxpayer “backstop” or “bailout” for those payments, so it’s hard to say for sure what the freshman congressman from Florida is asking for.
Forget about five day delivery- how about getting your mail once or twice a year, or whenever the Google Street View car goes past your house? That might be what CNBC personality Larry Kudlow had in mind last week when he told PMG Pat Donahoe “look, why don’t you just surrender and end the monopoly, see what happens with some private players coming in? why not give Google a chance?” Whether Kudlow knows what the USPS actually does (i.e. delivering real physical objects to people who pay for the service) is far from clear. Kudlow’s suggestion came last Thursday in an interview with Postmaster General Pat Donahoe (whom Kudlow addressed as “Patrick” after mispronouncing his surname).
If Kudlow is unfamiliar with what the USPS does, the show proved that he doesn’t have a good handle on numbers, either. After Kudlow shouted about the USPS’s projected $8.5 billion loss, Donahoe responded with actual numbers, pointing out that the changes the USPS has asked for- 5 day delivery and a reduction in the “trust fund” charges, would save $8.6 billion. Kudlow’s response? “again, $8.5 billion in the hole. your numbers are nowhere near that”. Umm.., no, “Lawrence”, they’re $100 million over “that”.
But at least Kudlow admitted he was clueless, providing this bit of expert analysis: “I don’t know where those numbers come from, but whatever.”
Kudlow’s interview technique was to shout a lot, randomly use the word “bailout”, and not listen to any of Donahoe’s responses. (Kudlow seems to have a modified form of Tourette’s Syndrome, with right wing talking points instead of swear words).
Kudlow’s short (non-existent?) attention span and difficulty analyzing numbers may be the result of his well known problems with alcohol and cocaine abuse- or it may just be his “shtick”. CNBC does, after all, feature legendary screamer Jim Cramer- another “personality” whose entertainment value far outweighs his economic expertise.