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 21 2012: It seems to me that the USPS is subsidizing junk mail and magazines by the rates charged for letters and parcels. If a cost per weight were charged for bulk mail that was comparable to cost per weight for parcels it would become prohibitive -- in other words, no more junk mail.. That would be a very small intrinsic loss to society, especially now when catalogues are available online. Without all that weight to transport there would be far fewer trucks and drivers, losses might even totally be eliminated, and all the local offices could remain open with the same frequency of delivery.

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