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Ways to save the Post Office money (1 Viewer)

Brian Perry

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It was announced that effective July 1, postal rates are going up an average of over 7%, including an increase of 13% for Priority Mail.

I'm sure most of you have read about the PO's financial woes of the last couple of years, during which it has lost billions of dollars. It's a little perplexing how they lost so much soon, as they were hugely profitable (billions per year) just a few years ago. E-mail, often used an an excuse, was already in full swing during the profitable years, and the explosion of eBay vastly increased the number of small packages shipped. But for some reason the PO went from a great business to a terrible business overnight. And like the airlines' plight, the PO's problems were in evidence before Sept. 11.

Wouldn't it make more sense to look at cutting costs instead of raising rates? My solution: cut out one day of delivery (or more). It wouldn't bother me at all if Saturday (or, say, Wednesday) service were eliminated. Or, reduce door-to-door delivery and make people pick up their mail from a central location. I think raising rates will probably accelerate the switch to better alternatives and leave the PO in even worse shape.
 

Carl Johnson

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The USPS loses dollars by the billions because they can afford to. They don't operate by the same rules as a private company that must balance their books, worst case for them is increased rates or better yet subsidies from the federal government to keep them afloat. My solution is to cut off all federal aid and make them play by the rules of a free market. If that means doubling the price of stamps and cutting back residintal delivery to once per week then so be it. As long as the USPS is allowed to spend money like it's free then the books will never balance.
 

Jack Briggs

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Yes, and it's hard to muster much sympathy for a bloated federal bureaucracy that doesn't work all that well--the same one that delivered a mangled package to me yesterday. Luckily, the DVD and its keepcase were intact (even though the shipping carton looked as if it had been run through a paper shredder).
 

Kevin P

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If they're going to raise rates, they should raise the bulk/junk mail rates, not the rates we pay that keep going up every other year as it is...

KJP
 

Bhagi Katbamna

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Fire all the letter carriers and give the mail to the Mormons or the Seventh Day Adventists because they will be coming by anyways. :laugh:
 

Danny R

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E-mail, often used an an excuse, was already in full swing during the profitable years, and the explosion of eBay vastly increased the number of small packages shipped.

Email isn't really an excuse. That presumes that most folks were sending regular letters back and forth anyway, which hasn't been the case for many folks for a long time (with the exception of birthday cards/etc).

Actually I think the real problem is that so many companies now offer ways to pay bills online so that a letter never has to be mailed in the first place. I haven't send anything via standard mail in over a year, because all my bills are either automatically credited, or I can authorize payment online.

As for ebay... that is only a small drop in the bucket compared to normal mail order shipping. And I rarely use the USPS when I send something out.
 

Chet_F

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Carl Johnson

I agree whole heartedly. What ever happened to a free marketplace where only the strong survive. What if the USPS went belly up. Guess what....there would be another company taking its place pretty quick. Look at Napster - although not a great example. But here is a product that alot of people used. When that product wasn't successful it went belly up. Now look at how many networks replaced it within months. The same thing would happen to the postal system. Another company would come that was streamlined, take it's place and make billions.

Just my 2 cents.
 

brian a

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What's preventing someone from stepping in and starting to mirror the function of the USPS?
 

DonRoeber

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Brian,

I believe there is a goverment regulation preventing direct competition with the USPS. In short, they're an approved monopoly. UPS and FedEx specialize in packages, so they're not really a direct competitor.
 

RobertR

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What's preventing someone from stepping in and starting to mirror the function of the USPS?
"What's preventing" them are laws which give the US Postal Service a legally enforced monopoly on the delivery of first class mail, a monopoly I find to be absurd, especially since an artificial distinction has been made between first class mail on the one hand and overnight and package delivery on the other.

Cut off taxpayer subsidies, open mail delivery to ANYONE, and we will have much better alternatives open to us.
 

Bill Balcziak

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Open mail delivery to ANYONE, and we will have much better alternatives open to us.
This isn't a new idea. The biggest obstacle is rural and small town delivery. No company is going to step up and deliver mail to areas where the cost per delivery is so high. So if you want a private business to step in and deliver mail, who's going to take care of the folks outside the big cities?

Also, if you have more than one company delivering mail, are they just going to overlap one another? Will we have 10 companies each delivering mail to me every day? Will I need a spreadsheet to compare rates and service plans (like wireless phone rates)? That ought to be fun.

If they don't overlap routes, who do I go to to get mail delivered to, say, Pocatello, Idaho? If company A services Oregon, but not Idaho, do I use company B, C, D or E?

If I want to send mail to Paris, who's going to get it there?

Right now, I can go to the post office, put an 80 cent stamp on my envelope and in 3-4 days, my letter arrives in Paris. What's so awful about that? And if I want to send some mail to Pocatello, I slap a 34 cent stamp on and it's there in two days. Is that so bad?

Frankly, the USPS is one of the biggest bargains out there and I'm at a loss to understand why people get so hot about it. You think we've got it bad? Go to Europe and try out their mail system sometime. Or Asia. Or Africa. The only time these people will appreciate the USPS is after they destroy it and realize what they've lost.
 

RobertR

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If I want to send mail to Paris, who's going to get it there?
Whatever company or companies exist to take advantage of that market. Seems to me like the current package delivery companies have the necessary infrastructure to do it. Again, you seem to be terrified of a change in the status quo (all monopolies have this fear).
 

Malcolm R

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Open mail delivery to ANYONE, and we will have much better alternatives open to us.
I believe we heard similar arguments about airline deregulation (which has become a big mess), cable TV deregulation (prices have skyrocketed in most areas), and electricity deregulation (failures in most areas that have tried, notably California where prices have been incredible).

I think the USPS is a bargain for the service they provide and shudder to think what would happen if it were cut off from federal support or deregulated like so many other "monopolies."
 

Chet_F

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Very well said RobertR

"(failures in most areas that have tried, notably California where prices have been incredible)."

Blame that one on thier local gov't not deregulation!!!!!!!!

You need to do some reading.
 

RobertR

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cable TV deregulation (prices have skyrocketed in most areas), and electricity deregulation (failures in most areas that have tried, notably California where prices have been incredible).
I really hate it when deregulation is shown to have “failed” by using examples that don’t apply. Cable companies are still legally sanctioned monopolies, NOT an example of deregulation. And the “deregulation” in California was no such thing (there are still laws mandating who can buy from who).
 

Bill Balcziak

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You seem to be terrified of a change in the status quo
Yeah, I'm quaking. Hold me, Daddy.
God forbid we should for a moment be satisfied with the USPS! No--let's destroy the USPS and let UPS and FedEx take over. That'll solve all our problems. No more lost packages. Virtually free delivery. :laugh:
 

RobertR

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No more lost packages. Virtually free delivery.
No one claimed any such thing. "Better and cheaper" does not mean "perfect". Apparently the prospect of better and cheaper (NOT perfection) does terrify you (still pining for the Bell monopoly?).
 

Jack Briggs

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Easy there, guys. We're arguing about the postal service of all things? There are much worthier subjects to argue about! :)
 

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