DALLAS, TEXAS — At its June 20-23, 2014 annual meeting, the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) adopted a pair of resolutions endorsing postal banking, co-signed by eight mayors from six states. Their goal is to bring $1 trillion of job-creating economic stimulus primarily to low-income neighborhoods, over the next decade, at zero cost to taxpayers.
Post office-based financial services will generate sales tax revenues of as much as $3 billion a year, benefiting cities of the more than 200 mayors attending the USCM meeting, according to BankACT, a nonprofit advocacy group. Read More
A message to all employees of the United States Postal Service from Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.
Seven months into the current fiscal year, the US Postal Service’s revenue exceeds its expenses by $1.353 billion. If the USPS was a private sector company, that would translate to a pretty healthy profit. In the topsy turvy world of Washington, however, it means the USPS is still “bleeding cash”- making it much easier for politicians to pretend that the agency is in a crisis, or perhaps even a “death-spiral”. A postal service that simply plugs along, providing a service and paying its bills doesn’t suit the powers that be on Capitol Hill- or at L’Enfant Plaza.
So the USPS financial statement includes two items that, as if by magic, transform a $1.4 billion profit into a $2.6 billion loss. One is the familiar “trust fund” charge- $3.3 billion through April. This is a charge that only exists on paper (and in the minds of politicians and USPS Headquarters bureaucrats). The other is a $600 million “non-cash” charge for possible, potential, maybe non-existent future workers compensation expenses.
The whole charade, with congressmen and Senators from both sides of the aisle piously wringing their hands over the imminent possibility of a postal collapse, has gone on for almost a decade now. Last week the Republicans seemed to admit the entire “USPS is dying” saga is a joke when they suggested that the USPS could afford to finance America’s highway system for a year- and not a single professional Washington news journalist pointed out the absurdity of the proposal.
The USPS is certainly in a critical situation- but it’s driven not by financial realities, but by cynical politicians and the bureaucrats who serve them.
USPS Unaudited April Financial Results.
From the National Association of Letter Carriers:
Following today’s release of the U.S. Postal Service’s financial statement for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2014, which covers January, February and March, NALC President Fredric Rolando released the following statement:
The Postal Service today reported a quarterly operating profit of $261 million, which brings the operating profit for the first half of fiscal 2014 to more than $1 billion. Driving the quarterly performance were the 8 percent jump in package revenue and—in a turnaround—the 1.6 percent increase in letter revenue.
These results reconfirm the steady improvement in the finances of the Postal Service, which has been operating at a profit since October 2012. Rising online shopping has sparked a jump in package revenue, while a gradually rebounding economy has stabilized mail revenue. That’s why the USPS forecasts a $1.1 billion operating profit this year.
Given these positive trends, it would be irresponsible to degrade services to the public, which would drive away mail—and revenue—and stop the postal turnaround in its tracks. Lawmakers shouldn’t dismantle the postal network that is profitable in meeting the needs of an evolving society.
Instead, legislators should address the factor that is causing 100 percent of the losses—the congressional mandate that the Postal Service, alone among all public agencies and private companies, be required to pre-fund future retiree health benefits.
We will be glad to work with lawmakers and the postmaster general to develop a comprehensive plan that strengthens the existing networks while addressing the unfair pre-funding obligation so the Postal Service, which is based in the Constitution, can continue to provide Americans with the world’s most affordable and efficient delivery network without a dime of taxpayer money.
The National Review, that bastion of traditional entitled conservatism, founded by the quintessential erudite elitist William F. Buckley, has weighed in on the Stop Staples campaign. The Review thinks that postal workers should be attacking their union rather than USPS management or Staples.
That in itself tells you a lot about the right wing mindset. They have a problem with democracy, and can’t quite grasp the idea that postal workers belong to unions by choice, and they elect the union leadership (or as the right wingers like to call them, “union bosses”). So telling workers to attack their unions is the same as telling them to attack themselves.
Here’s how the Review explains why postal workers should apparently be lobbying to slash their own pay:
Consumers benefit from having more options, and the Postal Service may also save, if a recent internal memo is any indication. The memo estimated that private-sector retailers could offer the same mail services for less than a third the cost, which gives a bracingly clear picture of how inflated mail workers’ pay has become. The memo also added that “the [Staples] pilot will be used to determine if lower costs can be realized with retail partner labor instead of the labor traditionally associated with retail windows at Post Offices.”
So as far as the heirs of Bill Buckley are concerned, postal workers wages are incredibly “inflated”? Really? A level five clerk at top step makes around $52,000 a year. That works out to $25 an hour. I’d love to see the writers at the National Review try to survive on that. Read More