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Privatize the USPS?

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:42 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:So there's already a lot of flexibility built into the system you insist -- without providing a single example of how -- is somehow broken. Tell me again what needs to be fixed, exactly?

I really believe that the USPS is going to get to a point where, regardless of what it does with the prefunding [of retiree health care], it is going to implode," says R. Richard Geddes, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. "It is either going to default on those obligations to its retirees or we are going to have to give it a direct bailout from the United States taxpayers.
The financial sustainability of the current system is highly uncertain. That's what needs to be fixed.
Last edited by ArturoBandini on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:47 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:But that's another thing you would rather leave to the capricious whims of the free market and fuck anyone who lives someplace where it's not (as) profitable to serve them.
I don't see it as "fucking" anyone. Not offering to provide service to someone is not the same as refusing them service. This argument may be extended to cost as well - not offering someone a service at a cost they find appropriate is not the same as refusing them service.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby HawkHead » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:10 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:So there's already a lot of flexibility built into the system you insist -- without providing a single example of how -- is somehow broken. Tell me again what needs to be fixed, exactly?

I really believe that the USPS is going to get to a point where, regardless of what it does with the prefunding [of retiree health care], it is going to implode," says R. Richard Geddes, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. "It is either going to default on those obligations to its retirees or we are going to have to give it a direct bailout from the United States taxpayers.
The financial sustainability of the current system is highly uncertain. That's what needs to be fixed.


You do know that the Post Office defaulted because CONGRESS requires the post office to fully fund their retirement annuity for 50 years. This is why the post office is "broke". If you retire at 65 the post office has to have your retirement money ready for you when you are 15. That isn't reasonable on any business and that is the "payment" they couldn't make.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:14 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:The financial sustainability of the current system is highly uncertain. That's what needs to be fixed.
And your solution is to replace it with a system just as (if not more) uncertain. And that makes sense to you? Frankly, I assume the solution to just about any financial woes at USPS will be solved the same way they've always been: rates will go up a little bit. So unless you have specific complaints about their service, I'm still utterly failing to understand your call to cut USPS off at the knees and hand over letter delivery to people with no other mandate than lining their own pockets and who lack the resources to do the job as well as it's currently being done. Your "some people will suffer" solution* is not acceptable to me. Finally, isn't the future financial sustainability of any business model uncertain? Isn't that just kinda the nature of business?

ArturoBandini wrote:I don't see it as "fucking" anyone.
Of course you don't. But that's most definitely the way the people who'd get fucked would see it. Either way, you don't give a rat's ass about them, and nitpicking over my word choice does nothing to hide that fact.

*I should have said "solution", given that you readily admit it will just shift around who the "winners and losers" are (your words.) In my preferred model, the "winners" are every single U.S. citizen; in yours, it would seem, they'd be just a small number of business owners.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby peripat » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:35 pm

I'm quite sure we all understand that privatizing the post office will mean we'll pay a lot more and delivery will be patchwork- some areas will have good service, some won't and no one will be responsible. What I cannot understand is why anyone (or at least anyone who does not personally stand to make a fortune if this happens) considers this to be a good idea, or even a marginally acceptable concept.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:39 pm

Arturo, I'm not sure I'm completely following what you mean when you say that the USPS has a monopoly on letter delivery. Clearly they don't monopolize parcel delivery, but I'm not sure it's fair to say they have a monopoly over letter deliver either. They definitely have the infrastructure in place that gives them a decided advantage, but monopoly would seem to indicate an ability to block others from entering the market which doesn't seem evident. If UPS and FedEx can place drop boxes in convenient locations why couldn't a private mail service do the same and provide door to door letter delivery?

It would seem the sheer level of infrastructure needed to establish a private letter carrier service would be a bigger deterrent than any government rules.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby peripat » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:45 pm

You can get local letter/package delivery now in any number of ways. There are messenger services, delivery services including the local taxi services. You can even get in your car and drive your letter/package/whatever yourself. There is, however, nothing that matches the USPS in price. (Many of these options can beat them time wise, but hey, you're paying for it)
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:46 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:Arturo, I'm not sure I'm completely following what you mean when you say that the USPS has a monopoly on letter delivery. Clearly they don't monopolize parcel delivery, but I'm not sure it's fair to say they have a monopoly over letter deliver either.
Private Express Statutes
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:48 pm

HawkHead wrote:
I really believe that the USPS is going to get to a point where, regardless of what it does with the prefunding [of retiree health care], it is going to implode," says R. Richard Geddes, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. "It is either going to default on those obligations to its retirees or we are going to have to give it a direct bailout from the United States taxpayers.
The financial sustainability of the current system is highly uncertain. That's what needs to be fixed.


You do know that the Post Office defaulted because CONGRESS requires the post office to fully fund their retirement annuity for 50 years. This is why the post office is "broke". If you retire at 65 the post office has to have your retirement money ready for you when you are 15. That isn't reasonable on any business and that is the "payment" they couldn't make.
We've already covered this, and I support removing the 2006 mandate to pre-pay for pension coverage. I support getting Congress out of the business of controlling the business of the Post Office in general.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby Bwis53 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:50 pm

At least when USPS has a package for me I can pick it up at my neighborhood branch, if I miss the carrier. With UPS if I miss the carrier, they leave a card with a wide time frame I have to stick around for. I used to be able to pick up packages at a UPS store enroute to work. Then the store informed me that I had to purchase a mailbox with them in order for them to hold my package. And phooey on going all the way to Middleton to UPS warehouse.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:55 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Frankly, I assume the solution to just about any financial woes at USPS will be solved the same way they've always been: rates will go up a little bit.
It was my impression that "no price increases" was one of the conditions you placed on any alternative system. Are you relaxing that condition for the existing system? Or are you just arguing for geographic uniformity of prices?

From earlier:
Have you considered that the actual goal, however, is to guarantee that every single U.S. citizen has access to the same prices and service, regardless of geography?
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby HawkHead » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:02 pm

Well it is true. Who the heck is going to deliver to Earl Wisconsin for $.45? I could see a private business come in and carve out a niche maybe in a specific metro area. But there is absolutely no profit motive to deliver into the middle of nowhere.

Same thing with power companies. It is not economically "smart" to run power out to Earl, WI with 12 houses. That is why we have regulation on power costs and distribution lines. Talk about people who are scared of the UN issue about moving all people to urban areas. Just deregulate all of the power companies and they will ony power the business in a limited range and the rest are out of luck.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:06 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I'm still utterly failing to understand your call to cut USPS off at the knees and hand over letter delivery to people with no other mandate than lining their own pockets and who lack the resources to do the job as well as it's currently being done.
This doesn't necessarily have to be the case. I would be happy if the USPS were purchased and operated by its current employees, sans mandate and subsidy (or implicit guarantee thereof). It could be collectively owned. The problem is on the liability end - the operators of the USPS should be ultimately responsible for their actions and management, not Congress and by extension, the taxpayer.
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:*I should have said "solution", given that you readily admit it will just shift around who the "winners and losers" are (your words.) In my preferred model, the "winners" are every single U.S. citizen; in yours, it would seem, they'd be just a small number of business owners.
How can you say that the winners are every single U.S. citizen? What about people in high-density urban areas who effectively overpay for letter services? (you know, 80% of people living in the US)
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:09 pm

HawkHead wrote:Just deregulate all of the power companies and they will ony power the business in a limited range and the rest are out of luck.
That, or you'll see a proliferation of off-grid renewable* energy installations and a heck of a lot more conservation. When on-grid power is offered at an effective subsidy, it should be no surprise that more on-grid power is consumed than otherwise would be.

There are undeniable economic and environmental benefits to population density given current global population, no UN conspiratorial plots necessary.

*admittedly, another option might be diesel generators, which would probably still result in lower net energy consumption, but with higher environmental costs.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby Stebben84 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:13 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:What about people in high-density urban areas who effectively overpay for letter services?


Do you think the price of a stamp is too high?
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