The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.
from September 4th, 2011 New York Times article Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount
Citing the declining use of conventional means of communicating through regular or snail mail as it is often referred, coupled with an onerous and quite frankly irresponsible no layoff agreement with its workers’ unions, the U.S. Postal Service may not be able to carry on operations by early 2012. The real question is whether or not that is a bad thing?
Somewhere along the line it seems that government-run organizations and more specifically those employed by the government have cultivated an attitude of too big to fail entitlement.
In what is one of those rare, well researched and reported traditional media articles, Steven Greenhouse indicated that Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors. He also went on to write that Postal workers also receive more generous health benefits than most other federal employees.
I cannot help but wonder, in what realm does an organization with declining revenues provide its workforce with guaranteed employment and caviar benefits. This is tantamount to a buggy whip company offering its employees a raise after the introduction of the automobile. It just doesn’t make sense!
It is also the kind of convoluted financial math that would make a Larry Winget cringe, and a Dr. Phil offer his sage advice about not spending on what you want (postal union) or need (postal service), but what you can afford (the reality of the present market).
Now I am not suggesting that mail is no longer an important seam in our societal fabric. Besides the fact that there are certain businesses and sectors such as the legal profession that have not yet caught up with and on to the Internet trend, just try and transfer funds to a trust account on-line and you will see about what I am talking, the fact is that we need the postal service if for no other reason than to keep Christmas running smoothly. Think about it for a moment . . . how else would our children provide Santa with their Christmas wish lists?
This latter point alone provides more than enough incentive to continue to fund re overpay a bloated workforce!
I can see it now . . . in postmaster general Patrick R. Donahoe’s plea to congress to bail out the listing and outdated agency, he could use a catchy, pull at your heartstrings Dickens-sentiment inducing campaign slogan about “saving Christmas for little Timmy.” It’s brilliant! Who wouldn’t be inspired to throw money at an underprivileged tyke on crutches – which by the way should be the new logo for the U.S. Postal Service.
Of course, one might also reasonably argue that we all eventually have to grow up and come to the realization that there is no such thing has Santa Clause, and ultimately have to live and work in the real world.
Come to think of it, maybe this is the best thing the agency can do . . . grow up and face the reality of the changing paradigm that is the way in which we now communicate with one another and, run their business is a manner that aligns with the world in which it operates. Just a thought . . .
What do you think? Is it time that the U.S. Postal Service – including its unions’, grew up and realized that with a $9.2 billion deficit that maybe, just maybe a few changes are in order?