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: Only one person, TED Lover, supported the 5.1 Billion dollar a year health plan. I thought that this would be the center peice of the conversation. I was wrong. So how about this. Since Obamacare will come into effect in 2014 and applies to all citizens (except for elected federal officials who opted themselves out) the Requirement should go away as health care is now provided (almost) equally under law. The requirement being met the need no longer exists.

    Without the 5.1 billion dollar requirement a plan is feasiable to recover the service. Further, the money invested should be refunded proportionally to the expenses already obligated. That would be a good hunk of change that should go to upgrades and rainy day funds.

    As Edward stated the term Independent Operating Agency of the US Government is an oxymoron. In my brief readings and limited understanding of the USPO, Congress is the major problem. Having said that, I would also consider Unions to be a problem to the effective operation of the agency. The USPO HQ is shown in the home page a downtown Washington DC 10 story building. That would suggest that there is high executive staffing, high maintenance costs, and overhead expenses as in all federal "controled" agencies. So start at the top and weed out the fat prior to pruning the workers. Sell the expensive property and relocate to a more reasonable location and a much smaller facility. This savings would also go into the account.

    Congress need to decide if they "own" this agency or not and butt out. The surest way to bring it down is federal intervention and management. So here is a plan:

    1. Everone under Obamacare (except the privliged class) Refund the money collected.
    2. Reduced the HQ staffing
    3. Sell off expensive property
    4. Get out from under Congress
    5. Reorganize to fit the budget requirements and adjust as necessary.

    This is not everything needed but would be a heck of a start.


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