USPS’s continual existence on the deficit list.

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I have a bit of bias when news arises about the United States Postal Service. Particularly, activities and decisions within the Postal Service could directly affect several of my family members’ decades of federal employment in the USPS.

CNN staff reporter, Charles Riley, had announced on March 24th, 2011 that the Postal Service is slashing 7,500 administrative positions. Of course, this kind of sad news is nothing particularly new. The USPS workforce has been in reduction for quite a few years now because of the continuous loss of service. With the rise of practically digitizing all information and “transporting” it all electronically has trended fewer and fewer physical pieces of mail. Unfortunately, downward trends of revenue of the USPS will 100% likely to continue in the coming years. The real questions we need to ask is can the U.S. Postal Service be as self-sufficient as it once was or will it now forever be an added government cost?

Several months ago I was reading USA Today’s December 15th, 2010 release and came across a related comment written by the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers Auxiliary, Linda Kirby. Ironically, her published statement in the USA Today column was titled Roundup: U.S. Postal Service is self-supporting. Is the USPS really self-supporting? So I proceeded to write to the USA Today editors the next day responding to this misleading title, but suffice to say I don’t think my response was published.

Linda Kirby was arguing, “No federal tax dollars support the operations, salaries or benefits of letter carriers… and that the USPS is funded by postage revenues and the sale of other products and service.” Regrettably, it hasn’t been this way in quite some time. Riley points out that the agency net loss in 2010 summed $8.5 billion dollars, and the previous year the net loss totaled $3.8 billion dollars. Along with already cutting 105,000 full-time positions those two years. In actuality, there is not enough revenue to fund operations, salaries and benefits, because there is a complete lack of profits in the USPS! Surely, years ago the Postal Service was earning a profit with its postage revenue and sale of other products and services, but in the contemporary digital age and mainly in part of the proliferation of the Internet, those days are long gone and there is no turning back.

Privatization of the U.S. Postal Service had been an idea that has been kicked around but certainly the USPS is not something that we can just let go. The agency has also been asking Congress to allow many scale backs of its services and also to raise postage to boost revenue. Postmaster Patrick Donahoe is right that “… it is critical that we adjust our workforce to match America’s changing communications trends as mail volume continue to decline.”


~ by Roger Sutton on March 25, 2011.

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