Tag Archives: Post Office

Berkely Councilman: Tax Email to Fund Post Office

U.S.P.S. rates to go up on Monday

Offering more proof that Democrats see every funding challenge as a revenue problem, Berkely, California District 8 Supervisor Gordon Wozniak suggested on Tuesday that email should be taxed to fund the heavily indebted U.S. Post Office.

Wozniak said “There should be something like a bit tax. I mean a bit tax could be a cent per-gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year…And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email.” At a meeting where the council was working to prevent the sale of a Post Office building in the district.

Not missing a chance to go populist, Mr. Wozniak also said that the levy might reduce spam. Ahhh, this is all about helping the people.. or something.

More heavily taxing an overtaxed populace to pay for the failing postal service is one idea. Of course, there will be waivers for families of four that make less than some arbitrary amount to prevent the tax from being supposedly regressive.

One problem with the email tax is in collection. Small business owners already have to calculate and collect sales taxes for their cities, counties and states. They have to figure and hold back taxes from employees paychecks – and pay part of the taxes from their own revenues. Now, businesses that run their own email servers will have to calculate and collect yet another tax for the government.

 

Another thought is to repeal the 2006 law that requires the Post Office to put $11 billion a year into future retirees health benefits. The Post Office is the only agency required to do so.

The difficulty in taking the appropriate action is that Democrats see every bit of red ink as a revenue issue – never a spending problem. If the $11 billion dollar gift to the unions is dropped, along with related labor costs to management and collection of the fund, the post offices losses are actually decreasing year-over-year.

Solving the Post Office’s issues could be as simple as bankruptcy then full privatization. Shake off the union contracts and indebtedness, go private to escape the direct control of Congress and then open all mail service to private industry. Competing with UPS, Fedex and other carriers for basic mail as well as packages will either force the Post Office into becoming an efficient and desired service or have it replaced by private entities that are already doing so.

Mr. Wozniak, taxes are not always the answer. Not everything is a revenue problem.

U.S. Postal Service continues to hemorrhage money

The U.S. Postal Service ended the first three months of its 2012 fiscal year (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2011) with a net loss of $3.3 billion. Management expects large losses to continue until the Postal Service has implemented its network re-design and down-sizing and has restructured its healthcare program. Additionally, the return to financial stability requires legislation which gives the Postal Service typical commercial freedoms, including delivery flexibility, returns over $10 billion of amounts overpaid to the Federal Government and resolves the need to prefund retiree healthcare at rates not assessed any other entity in the United States.

Stronger than expected holiday shipping activity, driven by strong growth in online merchandise sales and successful USPS marketing efforts, helped the Postal Service grow its competitive Shipping Services business in the first quarter, with revenue totaling $2.8 billion, an increase of $179 million or 7 percent over the same period last year.  However, declines in First-Class and Standard Mail of $650 million were 3.7% percent of total revenue and greatly exceed the gains made in the package business. First-Class Mail declines due to electronic migration of transactions are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Mailing Services revenue, excluding First-Class Mail parcels, totaled $14.5 billion, a decrease of 2.9 percent.  First-Class Mail continued to decline, with revenue decreasing 4.1 percent compared to the same period last year. First-Class Mail revenue has declined nearly 15 percent and volume has declined 25 percent since volume peaked in 2006. While some of the decline is attributable to economic weakness since 2007, the more significant factor is the continuing transition to electronic alternatives.

“Technology continues to have a major impact on how our customers use the mail,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe. “While it has helped us grow our Shipping Services businesses, it has had a significant negative impact on some of our much larger sources of revenue, particularly First-Class Mail. Revenue from Shipping Services represents about 17 percent of total revenue and, even with continued growth, cannot fully offset the decline in First-Class Mail revenue.”

To return to profitability, Donahoe has advanced a plan to reduce annual costs by $20 billion by 2015.  The plan includes continued aggressive actions to generate additional revenue and reduce operating expenses. To reach the goal, the Postal Service also needs changes in the law. “Passage of legislation is urgently needed that provides the Postal Service with the speed and flexibility needed to cut costs that are not under our control, including employee health care costs,” Donahoe said. “The changes will give the Postal Service a bright future and provide the nation with affordable and reliable delivery for generations to come.”

Other details of the first quarter results compared to the same period last year include:

  • Total mail volume of 43.7 billion pieces, a 6 percent decrease.
  • Operating revenue of $17.7 billion, a 1.1 percent decrease.
  • Operating expenses (before prefunding of retiree health benefits and the impact of discount rate changes for worker’s compensation liability) of $17.8 billion, a 1 percent increase.
  • Transportation expenses increased by $105 million, or 6.3 percent, due to rising fuel costs. The Postal Service continues to decrease controllable costs, including an 8 million decrease in work hours, or 2.8 percent. Total compensation and benefits expenses decreased by $180 million, or 1.4 percent.

The Postal Service continues to suffer from a severe lack of liquidity. “Absent significant changes in the law to allow normal commercial freedoms, the Postal Service will default on both retiree health benefits pre-payments to the federal government due this year,” said Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett. “Even if legislation changes or eliminates the prefunding payments, we may reach our $15 billion debt ceiling in the fall of this year.”

Post Offices Open Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Most Will Close at Noon

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — All Post Offices nationwide will be openChristmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, and New Year’s Eve, Saturday, Dec. 31. Most will have shortened retail lobby hours and will close at noon. Mail delivery for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 will be the same as any other Saturday.

Each Post Office will post its revised hours of operation for these two days. Commercial customers should check with their Business Mail Entry Units for Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 hours of operation.

Customers are encouraged to go online to usps.com or to call 800-ASK-USPS for information about specific Post Offices. In addition, mail should be deposited in blue collection mailboxes before noon for early pickup on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Customers requiring postal services later that day are encouraged to contact their local Postmaster.

In observance of the holidays, Post Offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 2. Only Express Mail will be delivered on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in most major metro areas. Post Offices will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Tuesday, Jan. 3.

United States Postal Ponzi Scheme

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe appeared before The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee on Tuesday to inform the current wizards of Congress that the U.S. Postal Service is drowning in red ink. They will not be able to avoid a total default by the end of September if structural changes are not made immediately. I refer to the wizards of Congress as such, simply because it is none other than the U.S. Government that has caused this most recent “crisis” that threatens to shut down the USPS. In the words of the Postmaster General himself, we see glimpses of the big government intervention causing the collapse of  what was once a proud, viable U.S. Mail delivery system:

“The Postal Service is in a crisis today because it operates within a restrictive business model and has limited flexibility to respond to a changing marketplace,” To which he added, “We need the ability to operate more as a business does. This applies to the way we provide products and services, allocate resources, configure our retail, delivery and mail processing networks and manage our workforce.” (emphasis added)

Welcome to the world of big government regulations, over-bearing restrictions, forced race-based social engineering in hiring practices, and Government-sanctioned Union pension plans too big too fail, Mr. Donahoe. The wizards of Congress worked hard to bankrupt a U.S. Institution that has been a source of pride in the United States of America since Benjamin Franklin was named the first postmaster general in 1775.  It is also commonly referred to as “an independent agency of the United States Government.” So just what happened to this independent agency to put it on the brink of insolvency ? Big government overreach and meddling is what has happened here once again, proving the dangers of a too powerful government full of a corrupt, misguided bunch of misfits in Congress and their never ending pursuit to “fix things.” Once again the power-hungry bureaucracy of Washington D.C. has created a major crisis that they themselves are currently holding hearings in Congress in order to “fix” the USPS. This is the direct result of uniformed voters electing fake lawyers and assorted con men/women into positions of power within our government(s) that have never faced the reality of  actually working for a living in the private sector.

While it is true that the volume of mail the USPS handles due to the current recession and the evolution of the Internet email system resulted in decreases in profits, there are two recent revelations that pushed this situation into the government favored major serious crisis mode:

Again, I refer to P.G. Donohoe’s statements to congress on Tuesday:

“Without legislative change this year, the Postal Service faces default, as available liquidity at the end of this month will be insufficient to meet our financial obligations. Even our unavoidable default on the required (by Congress) $5.5 billion RHB, ( pre-paying retirement health benefits to Union members) pre-payment and the suspension of our employer contribution to the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) will not stave off financial disaster,” Donahoe said. “After reimbursing the Department of Labor (DOL) $1.3 billion for workers’ compensation payments in October 2011, we will have liquidity equal to approximately one week’s operating expenses. Foregoing the RHB pre-payment this year, without fundamental changes in the funding schedule, will likely only forestall insolvency until this time next year.” ( emphasis added)

Mr. Donahoe is not asking for a direct taxpayer bailout here, like the Union vote-buying, pay for play schemes that have become standard operational procedures in DC today. Instead, Mr. Donahoe would like the return of 6.9 billion USPS dollars in overpayment to the the Federal Employees Retirement System the government has collected from them this year alone. Billions in over payments? Where is this money going? While researching the current USPS Collective Bargaining Agreement that was signed in May of this year, these huge over-payments seems to be a pattern. From the USPS CBA announcement page linked in previous sentence we see some astounding truths:

“Independent actuarial studies have concluded that as a result of improper funding formulas, the USPS has overpaid the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) by $50 billion to $75 billion. Overpayments to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are estimated at $6.9 billion.” ( emphasis added)

Wouldn’t the repayment of all those billions of dollars in over-payments avoid the crisis at USPS is currently facing immediately? A better question would be, “ is the United States Government trying to bankrupt the USPS to facilitate a complete takeover ?”  The evidence above detailing the government’s involvement in pushing the USPS to the point of default certainly points in that direction.

This brings us to the reason for the title of this article containing the words Ponzi Scheme.By definition, a ponzi scheme, according to Answers.com  is defined as : A fraud disguised as an investment opportunity, in which initial investors and the perpetrators of the fraud are paid out of funds of later investors who lose all funds invested.

There are many forms of investments that can result in Ponzi schemes enriching the original investors at the expense of the later investors. In the case of the USPS bankruptcy, we see the workers investing decades of work,( paying into the scheme) for a promised payment ( retirement) that may or may not be there for them when they retire. Exploding Union pension and health-care costs for millions of retirees will, in effect result in the latest investors having their initial investment, (a pension paid for with decades of work) stolen from them. There simply will not be enough money to pay the USPS pensions that thousands of workers have paid into and invested their hard work into.  Without reforms in labor practices and innovative initiatives in how they do business to increase revenue, the ponzi scheme of the big government regulators and mathematically challenged legislators that have railroaded the USPS into bankruptcy will eventually collapse like a house of cards. Unless of course, Congress uses YOUR money to bail out and completely take over the USPS.

To pay for the USPS crisis that the wizards of Congress have created, somehow, some way, they will eventually have to TAX the people more. Every major money-making entity in America today has been undermined and attacked by the big government nanny-state worshipers, from the Auto companies, to big banks, to the housing mortgage sector, to the energy sector, to the water rights, to stealing Social Security funding for other Congressional ponzi schemes, right up to the point that they actually want to charge us for the air we breathe through fake climate change/ cap and trade schemes.  Big government has put the once proud USPS on the brink of insolvency, and with just one more bailout they intend to finish it off. Due directly to government regulation and incompetence the once reliable USPS mail delivery system has now become the butt of more government failure jokes.  In the end the nasty joke is on the people who willingly pay for big government  ponzi schemes where people are taxed and robbed at an ever-increased rate, and that will result in the now prevalent reduction in the freedom from tyranny that made America the land of the free for over 200 years. Wake up people.