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 18 2012: 1. Force community mailboxes to be installed for all old neighborhoods with a mailbox in-front of every house. That should cut back on fuel and staffing needs.

    2. Convert USPS vehicles to electric and manage routes to match range of electric vehicles.

    3. Reduce or eliminate retirement benefits for USPS employees.
    • Nov 28 2012: The first two are good ideas, I think. The first one in particular would create a sort of forced social meeting ground that has largely gone lost since we began living exclusively inside our own little private bubbles (cars, garages, fenced homes, etc.).

      Given that the USPS does not pay super-high wages, though, wouldn't eliminating their retirement benefits just force us to publicly fund them in their old age anyway? As workers, they've a right to retirement benefits, no?

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