TED Conversations

Robert Winner


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Debate: US Postal Service.

The US Post Office is a independent operating agency of the US government that is subject to Congressional Control.The PO lost 15.9 Billion in 2012 and 5.1 Billion in 2011. The major reason the PO is going south is a requirement of Congress called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 which requires the agency to pay 5.1 Billion a year into Future Retirees Health Benefits for 75 years into the future. This is the only federal agency to have this requirement.

The PO has 574,000 workers and the largest vehicle fleet in the world (218,000 vehicles). Just put put this into perspective.

The question is can the PO continue to operate under continuing losses. Since the major problem is the Congressional Act why not have Congress repeal a 5.1 Billion dollar requirement of a agency that only showed a profit of 1 Billion the year before the requirement went into effect.

The PO says they can come closer if they eliminate Saturday deliveries and close rural postal routes and small town post offices.

I am sure that there are other areas of concern I am missing here.

Can TED members collectively suggest a means of saving the Postal Service.

Topics: economics society

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  • Nov 19 2012: When in the past year have you:
    - received something via postal service that could not have been delivered via e-mail
    - received something that could not have been delivered by a non tax payer subsidised service

    For me it is never.

    If the USPS cant support itself it should fade away.
    • Nov 28 2012: I think it's important to ask UNDER WHICH CONDITIONS it can support itself. Under conditions of federal meddling in its affairs? Or under free-market conditions in which it is left to contend with competitors on its own? I think it's clear it's not doing well bogged down under federal regulations. But could it be a valuable service if the government took its hands off of it?

      That is the question to ask, I think!

      (And to answer your questions: Never and never. But the "could not have been" are the operative words in your questions. It might be more appropriate to ask: Could I have received them cheaper and faster and with higher quality and better service via email/a non-tax-payer-subsidized service?)

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