buntsfromaleftcoastgirl asks: Regarding the Postal Service announcement yesterday about slow-downs, my local Oregon NPR station noted this morning that the slow-down would effect Oregon's vote-by-mail as ballots have to be returned--not just postmarked--by election day. Oregon officials are pushing to get voter's pamphlets and ballots to Oregon voters sooner so they can be returned with enough time to slog through the USPS.
» SFB says: Good to know. Here’s the story, for the curious. This is another example, to us, about how a one-day delay in receiving mail will cause a ripple effect far beyond the Postal Service. To put this in Netflix terms: This is the U.S. Postal Service’s Qwikster. — Ernie @ SFB
8bitian says: “Bad” and “worse” should be flipped. Somehow I think losing 250 mail-processing centers and 100,000 employees across the board is worse than MY NETFLIX IS SLOW.
» SFB says: Disagree, because, well, think about it this way — if that Netflix is getting to you a day slower, that also means bills will get to people who owe money (and payments will get back) more slowly, paychecks will get to workers more slowly (not everyone has direct deposit), and so on. That Netflix is the tip of the iceberg. It’s a ripple effect that will be felt across the entire economy — especially among older or less tech-savvy Americans. Basically, we’re talking about the difference between infrastructure and engine. A damaged infrastructure is bad, as is the job loss. However, if the engine gets damaged, it has the effect of hurting a lot of other infrastructures far beyond the U.S. Postal Service. And that’s a heck of a lot more dangerous. — Ernie @ SFB
Say goodbye to Saturday mail? That’s the Obama administration’s plan, at least. Issued alongside their much more ballyhooed one on debt reduction, the White House has endorsed ending Saturday mail delivery nationwide. The U.S. Postal Service is in quite dire financial straits, owing to a more digital age of communication as well as issues with financial management. The Democratic position is to try to minimize layoffs, while Rep. Darrel Issa’s plan would allow the USPS to break contracts and cut jobs, but on one thing both sides agree — no more mail on Saturdays. Shares of eBay dropped nearly 6% on the news, as it could make life tougher on their smaller, independent sellers. source
heshallfromtimetotime-deactivat asks: Wasn't the Postal Service thing already debunked, insofar as pointing out that USPS does in fact have a large amount of capital put aside for future use, but it's simply not permitted to use that money yet?
» SFB says: The Businessweek article actually covers this: “The USPS and its employee unions are lobbying for the least painful remedy: They want the agency to be relieved of its requirement to build a health-care trust fund for its future retirees.” The fund, a part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, has hurt the organization’s bottom line for a while. But make no mistake: They’re not exactly doing well these days. Here’s their most recent financial statement. The first four pages of the PDF are really the important part. But they tell a clear story: The postal service’s bread and butter — first-class mail — is struggling. A complex issue for sure. — Ernie @ SFB