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« Really, Catholics? The RantsThe Two Percent »

When You Absolutely, Positively Have to Change Your Business Model Overnight
2009.04.06 (Mon) 02:36

Oh, horrors! The United States Postal Service just might have to give up its Saturday schedule mail delivery.

And we should care...why?

The agency lost $2.8 billion last year and is looking at much larger losses this year. Reducing mail delivery from six days to five days a week could save $3.5 billion annually, [Postmaster General John] Potter said.

And what does the House Oversight post office subcommittee have to say about this?

"With the Postal Service facing budget shortfalls, the subcommittee will consider a number of options to restore financial stability and examine ways for the Postal Service to continue to operate without cutting services," subcommittee chairman Stephen F. Lynch, D-Mass., said.

Lynch said the financial stability of the Postal Service is "critical to the American expectation of affordable six-day mail delivery."

Well cry us a fucking river, but we don't expect that shit. It's wonderful that National Association of Letter Carriers President William Young insists "that the agency is not seeking a taxpayer bailout," and it's thrilling that they don't currently take any taxpayer money, but we're not very interested, either way, in supporting an agency that expected a $1-billion loss last year, and wound up losing a whopping $2.8 billion. What's with this automatic assumption that they'll operate at a loss? Here are a couple of salient words: junk mail.

Will Craven, a San Francisco spokesman for [ForestEthics] -- which penned the legislation sponsored by several S.F. supes -- notes that the United States Postal Service itself admits that 30 percent of all the mail delivered in the world is American junk mail -- 104 billion pieces at its 2007 high (or nadir, if you see things differently).


"When you have a for-profit business -- and the postal service is a for-profit business -- and you don't anticipate being within $1 billion of profitability, maybe you need to re-examine your business plan."

Some sources place the percentage of junk mail a bit higher, at nearly 40 percent. The Post Office has essentially made a business of delivering mail that nobody fucking wants, and now they're expecting any kind of sympathy or support when their business is floundering? Give us a break.

Gee, how will we ever survive if our loads of useless junk mail will only be delivered on weekdays? Wake the fuck up, Congress. Why are you fighting the five-day Post Office delivery plan? Who the fuck really needs mail on Saturday? If you absolutely, positively need to get something somewhere on the weekend, cough up the extra money for a fucking guarantee from a corporate outfit like FedEx.

Personally, we've been inching toward the paperless life for quite a while, opting for paperless billing across the board, wherever possible, communicating almost entirely through e-mail, ordering our deliveries through FedEx or UPS, et cetera. Aside from American Express, which has inexplicably been ignoring all requests for paperless billing (and outright lying about being unable to e-mail our electronic statements to us — we get plenty of your advertisement e-mails, AmEx, so stop pretending), it's been going pretty well. Don't pat our backs too hard, since we're not really in it for the "environmental" reasons; but that's certainly a nice bonus.

Frankly, if the Post Office would simply implement a full-scale Do Not Mail sign-up, akin to the Do Not Call lists, we'd applaud some goddamn effort on their part, at the very least. But this fucking organization has been operating like a blind man on a heavy construction site for years. Getting rid of what has essentially become an industry devoted to junk mail would start to help the Post Office cut itself down to size, and maybe then it could stop hemorrhaging so much fucking money.

For fuck's sake, we ourselves have been dealing with their fucking inept policies for decades. For example, some of us are subject to local "you must have your name on the mailbox or we won't deliver your mail" rules. What?! Like us, you folks probably get tons of mail every fucking week addressed to "Resident," and these USPS fucks dare to say we need to have our own names on the box? In addition, if you live in an apartment, you probably continue to get tons of mail addressed to the previous tenant of your apartment...whose name is no longer on the box. If we really "must" have our own names on the box, then shouldn't that name, printed on the box, preclude the fucking USPS from delivering any mail that isn't addressed to us?

Who are they trying to fucking kid?

(And, for the record: don't ever do anything that a fucking mentally unbalanced postal worker might completely misconstrue as "rude" or "aggressive" — like, you know, trying to point out your name on the mailbox to prove you've put it there — because they can apparently simply refuse to deliver your mail with no notification whatsoever for upwards of two months. Or, with no provocation at all, perhaps, they might inexplicably assume you have died, despite the fact that you are still alive and in reasonably good health — and in fact, the guy in the apartment downstairs is the one who shuffled off this mortal coil — and they'll stop delivering your mail, have it returned to the sender stamped with an undeliverable notice, and refuse to believe you for over two months when you point out — live and in person — that you are still among the living. And these anecdotes are just the experiences of people in our own small Two Percent circle! Nice to know the USPS is particularly accountable to anybody.)

The fucking USPS is a practically useless arm of the government that has far outlived its original mandate. We have no reason to support it any more — at least, not in its current incarnation. We've got e-mail, we've got good (and affordable) commercial delivery services, we're doing just fine with or without them.

Yes, there are those who still prefer sending missives on paper (though we can't really get behind that feeling ourselves), and sending a simple letter by FedEx is prohibitively expensive, comparatively speaking. It's also nice, on occasion, to have free pick-up right at your house, which UPS and FedEx don't provide (though if you live in an urban area, or an apartment, you likely just go to the Post Office when you have something to mail). So, sure, there's a definite niche for the USPS to occupy...but it's not the one they're aiming at right now.

So yeah, cut out the Saturday mail delivery — better yet, cut a few more days off the postal work week. That alone should save a buttload of money. In fact, just off the cuff, we'd say that 1 to 2 at-home pickups per week is more than enough these days. Seriously, how much more than weekly do you really have to mail shit from your house? Even people who pay their bills by mail can certainly do so weekly. We have no idea how much money a move like this would save, but we feel pretty safe in saying it would be substantial, based on their current figures. So why not do it? What's the problem, other than entirely misplaced nostalgia?

In short, they need to scale their current services way the fuck down...they just aren't needed anymore. And, while we're at it...why don't we use the infrastructure they've established to good effect?

The Post Office has already become the "go to" department for passports. Just as an example, why not make them the place to head for Social Security cards? How about other civil government transactions? Perhaps Motor Vehicles could jump aboard, as well!

Why not simply make what was once the Post Office into a general government outlet for all of our civilian needs? In our hometown (though we don't live there anymore), there's literally no place to go, these days, if you need a new copy of your Social Security card (the place the town used to have closed down). Having one office in each town (obviously, some larger towns would have more) in which we could attend to any civil service needs would be outstanding. And cutting out the useless chaff would give us an organization that ran smoothly, effectively, and within budget.

There's no need to get rid of the Post Office — but it's time for the damn thing to evolve into something that will serve the needs of the population today, not the needs of people who lived four or five generations ago. We certainly don't need the Pony Express in 2009, and the era is rapidly approaching where we won't need paper mail at all.

We could even envision the Post Office adapting to modern technology, and — rather than misusing the budget they're given on bullshit operating procedures and massive amounts of unwanted paper mail — setting up a broadband network for E-Post. Every citizen could get an E-Post address (for instance, a usps.net e-mail address), and could make use of terminals at Post Offices nationwide to check these accounts for new mail, send mail to other E-Post accounts, and so on (but not to browse the Web or participate in any other Internet activities). You want a copy for yourself? Transfer a copy of your e-post to a Flash drive. You want a hard copy? Print it the fuck out.

It's a simple matter of adopting modern technology, and adapting to modern needs — something we've recently discussed. It's getting fucking absurd that so many organizations, whether government or commercial, have so much fucking trouble understanding this basic rule of how the world fucking works. Progress progresses, technology improves, and we take advantage of innovation and invention to improve ourselves, our world, and the procedures we use to get by in it.

What does this all boil down to? Just this, really: hey, US Post Office — grow up, and catch up. 'Cause if you don't, we'll leave you and your commemorative stamps far, far behind.

— • —
[  Filed under: % Business & the Economy  ]

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Comments (31)

Jason Spicer, 2009.04.06 (Mon) 04:03 [Link] »

Hmm. I thought the Post Office was required to more or less break even, or at least not make much of a profit (though I can't seem to find a link to substantiate that notion at the moment). Given that they charge a user fee for what they do, and that they get to set the rates, they shouldn't really run much of a loss. And at 42 cents a letter, it's a bargain. There's a rate hike to 44 cents in May, and they could easily go higher without upsetting too many folks. Fewer and fewer, as you point out.

Interesting reading at www.usps.com/financials. Apparently the USPS is required to provide certain services for free, and they basically bill the US Treasury for a couple hundred mill each year to cover that.

I can't argue with your disdain for the business model predicated on junk mail. I'd be happy to pay a penny or two per email if it would retard email spammers. But yeah, shuffling megatons of dead trees from advertiser to recycling bin every day is mondo-stupid.

And I'm always less than impressed by the counter service when I go into the PO. Well, there's usually one friendly, competent clerk, and two slow, vacant clerks, when there should be five clerks to handle the volume. I guess that's their subtle way of convincing people to use the automated postal machine in the lobby.

Still, it's hard to beat USPS prices, and it is primarily a user-fee-financed agency, so I'm not sure it's worth the screed. Well, except for having to convince them you're not dead. That's just insulting. But I could certainly live without Saturday delivery. MWF would be fine. I gotta say, though, with the unusually ugly snow we had in Seattle this winter, the USPS really lived up to their slogan. As did UPS. FedEx totally wussed out, though. Of course, FedEx was the carrier for my wife's Christmas present. D'oh! We exchanged gifts a little late.

I like the idea of having the PO be the one-stop Government Boutique. Oh, and I've had paperless AmEx statements for years. It's not that they don't do it. Apparently they just don't like you guys.

Jesse, 2009.04.06 (Mon) 09:37 [Link] »

So long as they don't fuck up my netflix let them do what they want. Other than a few times a year that is really the only paper mail I get that I need, want or care about.

The Two Percent Company, 2009.04.06 (Mon) 11:49 [Link] »

Hey, we aren't hating on the Post Office or anything, and certainly not on postal workers in general. Yes, we've had our share of incompetent, uncaring, and even downright, well, postal postal workers (the chronically misdelivered mail, the long lines, the unhelpful help, the short-staffing Jason mentioned, and lots of other examples spring to mind). But we've also met plenty of competent, engaging, helpful postal workers who've gone above and beyond the scope of their daily jobs to provide assistance (and, in some cases, to provide some entertainment to young children at no extra cost). We also certainly respect what the Post Office has done for this country historically.

However, with a business model that relies so heavily on unwanted junk mail, annual losses totaling in the billions, and a society leaning more and more every year on electronic correspondence, we can't understand our government's reluctance to simply let the business model of the Post Office change with the times. (And yes, we know, that's typical — we're talking about a governing body that can't even pass any effective legislation to deal with a "series of tubes.")

Sure, the Post Office is primarily (we'd say overwhelmingly) user-fee financed — the dollars they take from the government are a direct result of the provisions of service imposed by the government, and so those services are paid for by the government. But if the Post Office is saying that they'll have to cut down their delivery days, and Congress is saying that they won't let that happen, that sure sounds like a very loud and booming precursor to Ye Olde Economic Aid to us, and that simply isn't a trade-off that we think is rational. That, we think, makes this situation worth the Rant.

So really, our beef here is more with the government for their insistence on maintaining the status quo — our stinger at the end of the Rant notwithstanding. If left to their own devices, the USPS has said they will have to cut out Saturday deliveries. To us, that's a rational first step — though all of the logical next steps, pointed out in the Rant, don't seem to be on their radar just yet, and those are the kind of things that would make the USPS a truly effective entity, in our opinion. Still, this one step would be a move in the right direction, and it's Congress who seems to be threatening to stop the Post Office from doing this.

So yes, cut out Saturday delivery. Then cut out a few more days. Take some of that surplus staff and put them in the customer service areas to make that process work more efficiently. Add to the services provided in the service areas. Charge a little more for mail (yes, even $.50 per letter would still be a great deal). Create a Do Not Mail list to stop the oodles of utter crap oozing through the system. Then see where the financials are after those puts and takes.

Chucker, 2009.04.06 (Mon) 14:16 [Link] »

Aren't companies paying the USPS to deliver junk mail? I thought junk mail revenues were helping sustain the USPS in the age of electronic mail and bill pay.

ray, 2009.04.06 (Mon) 14:33 [Link] »

Cool, finally something the UK does better than the US :) We can go to our local post office to process our passport applications (they'll check them to make sure they're correct and then rush them through), we can bank there, buy foreign currency at a good rate, tax our cars, collect government benefits and so on. Since there should be one (at least one) in each town, they are very very handy indeed.

You should now mail this rant to the British government - those fuckwits want to scale back something which, in the UK at least, is a lifeline to anyone without a means to travel to the next town easily - the elderly, disabled, lazy and non-car owning segment of the public.

Akusai, 2009.04.07 (Tue) 04:15 [Link] »

I'm with Jesse. Netflix is the only reason I give a damn about the USPS anymore, and cutting down delivery days would make my Netflix membership fee that much more per disc. I like to get the most out of my $15 a month, and I can get less with only 5 days of delivery.

And I've tried the Netflix streaming video service, and it has sucked each and every time. Besides that, I don't want to watch stuff on my computer. I want to watch it on my TV.

Teakel, 2009.04.09 (Thu) 04:18 [Link] »

As with in the UK, Australia post is also learning the multi tasking- you can pay pretty much any bill (rego, council rates, phone etc) you like there, withdraw and send money all over the world, have your passport photos taken and your passport processed, buy currency and money orders etc. They actually have better opening hours than the banks, which is always handy! So are post offices just letter and stamp places in the US?

Glintir, 2009.04.10 (Fri) 17:50 [Link] »

I know this is a small thing, but it seems to me they don't even have to change the name or the logo. USPS - United State Public Services. Done and done.

The Two Percent Company, 2009.04.24 (Fri) 22:19 [Link] »

Chucker: Sure, people who want to send junk mail are providing revenue — they're paying for third class postage (at bulk rates). The problem, though, is that junk mail is a waste no matter how you look at it. The American public (excepting complete asses or very lonely people in the middle of nowhere) does not want to receive it, and in general, everyone simply throws it away. So it's pretty safe to assume that if a "Do Not Mail" list was implemented, most people would sign up. As such, 30 to 40 percent (or more) of the volume of mail being processed and delivered by the Postal Service would basically go away. The net result would be a decrease in the number of postal workers needed to process and deliver the mail. And since a substantial portion of the delivery volume is reduced, the USPS could easily cut down deliveries to five days per week (or less). Don't forget that the USPS itself is reporting this incredible financial sinkhole, so clearly the revenue from bulk junk mailing simply doesn't offset their costs, nor does it "sustain" the USPS in any way. So, sure, the USPS would lose the revenue associated with bulk third class mailings, but they would be able to offset that lost revenue with the cost-saving measures made viable by the reduced flow of mail.

Akusai: If Netflix is the only reason that people can think of for six-day-a-week mail delivery, then Netflix will just have to adapt. Hey, we're with you — we love Netflix! But part of why we love them is that they seem to be a very, very savvy company, one that could adapt to changes in industry and technology. They've got a smart business model (we personally find it rather cool that they were calling themselves "Netflix" before they made their videos available online — somebody was thinking ahead!), and they've elected to leverage technology as it develops, rather than trying to sue to stop technological advancement (which seems to be status quo in too many industries — particularly those that act as middlemen for entertainment products). As an aside, we've had nothing but good experiences with Netflix's online streaming video. In short: they're the good guys — don't worry about them when push comes to shove. They'll keep you covered.

Teakel: It seems to be hit and miss here in the States. Some smaller post offices offer only basic mailing services, while others have a wide array of services available. We haven't seen any bill pay options or access to foreign currency exchange, but we have seen (and used) passport services, and we know folks who take advantage of the post office's rather cheap money orders (compared to prices at the bank). The hours (and days) of service vary widely, and frequently don't even match, let alone improve on, the extended hours of many banks in our area. So while the post office seems willing to provide a few other services (though their alphabetical list is dominated by services directly related to the mail), we think that should be a large part of their basic business model, and they haven't made such a leap as yet.

John S. Wilkins, 2009.05.14 (Thu) 05:46 [Link] »

A suggestion from Australia, where much of this is already done by our Post Office.

Virtual realmail addresses. You subscribe and get a "special address" that you can take with you everywhere you go, so that your official mail (banking, superannuation, etc.) doesn't need to be updated; only once when you notify the Post Office of your physical address.

Jean, 2009.05.17 (Sun) 14:55 [Link] »

On a personal level I certainly agree with everything that as said. I have all of my mail sent to a PO Box. Honestly I think I check it once a month and have never missed the deadline for anything important.

However I don't think it is in anyone's best interest to cut post offices down past 5 days. In my work I get to see a few groups of people left out of the common modern model. The technophobic and the homeless. Where as every one in this conversation holds to "Don't f- with my netflix" these people would be very on the Don't f- with my... water bill, disability check, legal advice.

Also, still on the edge of my mind from tax season, people are very poor planners and last minute. If you tell someone there is no mail service on the weekends they can handle that. When you start mixing the closed days into the week people get confused. When it comes time to send out time sensitive materials (tax forms, college applications, jury duty postponements) someone is going to show up on the last day for filing and sure enough, no mail service. That will not be pretty.

I agree that Post Offices are due for a radical change. Until this country has completely move in to technology, meaning EVERY individual and EVERY business, it's crucial to provide 5 day a week processing and delivery service.

The Two Percent Company, 2009.05.18 (Mon) 15:22 [Link] »

We're not suggesting that they close the post office itself on the "off" days (and we don't believe anyone has suggested that so far). We're saying that they shouldn't make a trip to every house every day. So people can still go to the post office and mail whatever they have to mail any day of the week, there just won't be anyone coming to their front door to drop off or pick up the mail. In fact, we'd say that this hypothetical plan actually encourages the post office locations themselves to be open six (or, heck, maybe even seven) days per week for the various other purposes we've discussed, since their resources aren't spread quite so thin.

By definition, the homeless aren't impacted at all by what we're saying. They don't get home pickup or delivery today (since, by definition, they don't have homes), so they have nothing to miss out on in the new plan. The homeless have got a lot of problems in this country, and a lot of that should absolutely be addressed, but basic postal service (and especially home delivery by the postal service) is largely irrelevant to them, we imagine.

If we do cut out some of the weekday deliveries, we're honestly not particularly concerned about any "confusion" that the move might create. Sure, people will get confused and some things will be late. But how long will that really last? People will be confused for the first week, month, maybe for a half a year. Then they'll get used to the new system. It's happened before, it'll happen every time something changes in the future. That's just how society works. (Just wait — all the hullabaloo over the TV migration to digital signals will seem as over-hyped and ridiculous as the Y2K hoopla before too long. Oh, right, sorry — it already does.)

And if we were to move delivery to Monday-Wednesday-Friday (for example), then the worst case scenario would be that something might be delivered one day later than it would have been. Frankly, even for people who are really bad off, it just isn't that much of a game changer to receive a disability or unemployment check one day late. It's a day. With the current system at the post office, that kind of delay already happens all the time anyway. Note that we're not saying that people waiting for those checks can't be really crunched by that extra day (we've seen it happen — it sucks); it's just that these delays are already in place in the current system, and we simply don't see any serious impact resulting from this proposed cut in home delivery.

With regard to bills being paid a day late, our reaction is about the same. First, most companies don't really care if you pay one day late. Second, if it's really that important, then the government itself can simply require consumer-lateness amnesty from those strict companies until the system takes hold and everybody's used to it (again, a six-month window would probably be about sufficient). Problem solved, no?

So cut down on home delivery/pickup days, get the "do not mail" lists up and running, implement a few new services (like Australia's Virtual Realmail Addresses, which we love — fucking brilliant, Aussies!), and the USPS should start smoothing out nicely.

Verdigris, 2009.07.07 (Tue) 22:15 [Link] »

How about shutting down the USPS, auctioning off its assets, and allow true, unsubsidized competition in the "first-class mail" market? Sure, the Constitution allows for the Federal Government to establish a post office, but it didn't say anything about having a monopoly.

Also, unlike a private company, the USPS can borrow from the Treasury and it is exempt from most taxes.

The Two Percent Company, 2009.07.12 (Sun) 11:13 [Link] »

In our opinion, the free market isn't the answer here. If left to the free market, the first thing that would fall by the wayside would be universal service. It simply can't be profitable to deliver to every household as the USPS does today; therefore, more remote locations would, in the free market model, simply not be provided with such universal postal service. And we're not talking about a house here and a house there - we're saying that entire towns would likely be deemed unprofitable and cut off from service (or, at the very least, made to pay an exorbitant amount for that service, putting it well out of reach). In our opinion, universal service is one of the good things that the USPS does today — why would we want to give that up?

As we said in the Rant, we don't need at-home service six days per week, but there is a benefit to at-home service in general, and it is, in our opinion, a good use of government resources to support such a service.

So no, the USPS doesn't need to go away, or be privatized - it needs to be fixed. There's something wrong (as is most often the case) with the current model, but (as is most often the case) not something that mandates the total shitcanning of the system.

Franadora, 2009.10.17 (Sat) 13:12 [Link] »

Hm. Why drop Saturday - the one day that those of us who are wage-slaves might actually interact with our postal carrier? Maybe drop Wednesday instead? On Saturday, they mainly deliver to homes instead of businesses. [Large businesses already pick-up their mail.] Mymail arrives 4 hours earlier on Saturday than on Monday.

I think part of the problem is actually buried in your rant (and response): that 3-rd class (junk) mail gets a real rate reduction. We pay 44cents or some such (haven't checked lately) while they pay a fraction. (If a Congressional decree is needed, I'll support) change the 3rd class to a much higher rate - closer to the full freight that we pay to send a birthday card to grandma.

I do like the US Public Office concept. Gives them a reason to be open later and on Saturdays.

Silly Green Monkey, 2010.02.06 (Sat) 14:27 [Link] »

did y'all die?

The Two Percent Company, 2010.02.07 (Sun) 16:52 [Link] »

Not physically, no, but that's certainly a justified question, Silly Green Monkey.

To be perfectly honest, we've just become incredibly busy. We aren't planning to take the site down, but we also just don't have much time for Ranting, even though the same bullshit we've seen going down for five years (or several decades, if you want to count how long we weren't writing about it) is still regularly going down.

We're sure that some of the die-hard asshats are victoriously proclaiming that, without Bush in office, we're cowed into silence by an unwillingness to point up the newly Democratic executive branch's fuck-ups. The truth, of course, is that Obama hasn't really done much of jack-all anything to fix the country so far, and it looks like we're in for four or eight years of pretty much no progress...with the exception being that Obama isn't a purely incompetent fuckhole like Bush was, and while he isn't helping much, he isn't hurting as much, either.

The lack of active harm and the distinct drop in fuckholishness is a bright spot, sure, but whether due to inexperience, incompetence, or a simple lack of any fucking balls on the part of the Democrat majority, nothing seems to be getting done. The Daily Show punched it up quite correctly a while back: when Republicans are in the majority, they do whatever the fuck they want, and screw those damn liberal hippies on the left side of the floor. When Democrats are in the majority...they try to placate the Republicans and reach some fucking pussy compromises, which allows the Republicans to derail whatever the fuck they want, and screw those damn liberal hippies on the left side of the floor.

In short, until the Democrats grow some fucking balls, we don't expect anything to be very different.

The same general status quo exists for most of the spheres we discuss on the site. Science marches forward spectacularly; and religions continue to stagnate and/or cause terrible damage, which bothers the fuck out of us. Woos continue to be fucking retarded. Idiots and assholes in general run amok. Homeopaths and chiropractors and Reiki masters (oh my!) continue to pretend to treat serious ailments from which their patients continue to suffer. Allison Dubois is still a hopeless vile charlatan and media whore, and Sylvia Browne is still a repulsive cunt.

Yet here and there, we see a few bastions of sanity and enlightenment that give us hope for our species. Many of the folks in the blogosphere qualify — yeah, we still keep up — and for that, we thank you.

Meanwhile, until the current crop of Two Percent Kids reaches puberty (or better yet, college) and/or the current crop of Two Percent Work-Related Issues settle down a bit, we most likely won't be back Ranting quite yet. But thanks to all the regulars who check back in every so often and field some of the stupider drive-by asshattery. You all make it worthwhile keeping the site running.

Esther Dail, 2010.02.08 (Mon) 09:08 [Link] »

Good luck with your non-online lives, and if the insanity of the world gets to you too much, we'll be here to read your Rants.

Lance, 2010.05.26 (Wed) 17:20 [Link] »

I am personally annoyed that these government workers are making 90,000 a year with fantastic benefits that the private sector would never even come close to providing.

And for what? They take a civil service exam that places them at the 7th grade learning level which is exactly the degree of competency required to master their abc's.

Sorting mail. Taking payments. Swiping credit cards. Saying, "Next in line" without looking up at you. Treating the rest of the hard-working public like "Oh, here's another asshole without a locked-in, can't fire me, government job that I have to wait on."

Getting every single holiday off to spend my taxpayers dollars.

And their method of countering their deficit? Cut back on their work week.

But let's not get rid of our fat slack. No. We be Gova'ment workers...Sheeeettt1

jayrayspicer, 2010.06.04 (Fri) 05:16 [Link] »

Really, Lance? I used to have a private sector job making over $90K with good bennies (my health care copays were $0, lower than that paid by the people that work in the HMO I used), and I didn't even have a college degree at the time (I'm sure my reading level was at least 8th grade, though). Lots and lots and lots of people in the private sector make that much and way, way more. And it's unlikely that the average counter help at the PO pulls down 90 g's.

In fact, with a two second internet search (hell, I didn't even use Google, I used Bing and found it, so you know it wasn't hiding anywhere tricky) I turned up this info on postal worker salaries. Sho 'nuff, USPS clerks earn around $50K, and it looks like supervisors and postmasters earn less than $80K. I admit that $50K is pretty good lettuce for clerking, but your anti-gubmint slant is showing.

The fact is that the private sector is chock full of inefficiency and incompetence, not to mention fraud and global-economy-wrecking hubris, greed, and overreaching. Remember New Coke? Right, neither does anybody else. Or maybe you think GM built great cars in the 70s, 80s, and 90s? Remember Bhopal? The Exxon Valdez? What about that sweet, sweet economic meltdown we've been living through the last couple years, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood vastly overpaid Wall Street banker overcompensating for a small penis? And how 'bout those super-efficient brainiacs at BP down in the Gulf over the last month? I'm sure the workers who got blown up on the Deepwater Horizon before it left a nasty ring around the tub got paid about as well as USPS clerks, but the dickwad CEO who set the system up for such a disaster and has done such a masterful job of recovering makes a shade more than $90K.

Well, whaddaya know? Bing comes thru again. Here it is from Wikipedia's entry on Tony Hayward: "BP pays Hayward an annual salary of 998,000 and in 2008 his bonus was 1,496,000." I won't bother looking up the exchange rate, but the pound is usually worth more than the dollar, so that's what, 25 times $90K, at least? He probably doesn't have copays for his healthcare, either. And this is a guy who negligently gets his oil platform workers killed for a living. Not to mention destroying America's second-favorite gulf. Hell, I should submit my resume. I'd happily let safety and environmental standards go to hell for half what Hayward makes.

I'm sorry, but I've had it about up to here with this idiotic libertarian meme that government is in every case more expensive and less effective than the private sector. There are way too many counterexamples in both sectors for any thinking person to be walking around with this notion in their head. Not to mention your post comes off as the sourest of grapes. So what, did you fail the civil service exam, Lance? Only read at the 6th grade level? If PO clerk is such a sweet gig, why don't you work there?

Oh, and for the record, the USPS is primarily funded by postage, not taxes. They are required by law to be self-sustaining, but prohibited from making a profit (except for certain losses that Congress requires them to take, and which Congress reimburses them for). So they're not squandering your precious taxpayer dollars on their actually fairly miserly holiday schedule, considering they work Saturdays. Scrooge much?

Tom S. Fox, 2010.06.08 (Tue) 10:22 [Link] »

Dear Two Percent Company, are you ever going to update again?

The Two Percent Company, 2010.06.09 (Wed) 11:48 [Link] »

...for the time being, anyway.

Tony, 2010.06.23 (Wed) 02:09 [Link] »

Why DID you guys stop blogging? If there's an explanation somewhere on the page, I haven't seen it. :(

Tony, 2010.06.23 (Wed) 17:11 [Link] »

Ah.. sorry. Turns out I'm an idiot. (He says, after glancing three inches up the page and seeing the aforementioned explanation he was looking for).

So you guys really feel that the Democrats have no balls? It's funny.. I won't claim to be as immersed in the political arena as you are, but it seems to me as though Obama is actually being too forceful in some of his attempts to push certain initiatives through Congress.

Take health care reform, for example.. I have no opposition to it, myself, and in fact I think that our health care system does need to be overhauled, but I felt that Obama should have backed off on that particular crusade a lot sooner than he did, and realized that, as necessary as it might be, the time for that kind of reform just has not yet come. The opposition to it (ill-informed as it might be) is just too great.

I honestly think the biggest problem we face in the political arena as a whole, is that the gulf between the two "sides" has become too great. There's no meaningful compromise or communication between the two parties anymore. They just spend all their time trying to override each other and ace each other out.

Take health care, again. Obama sends a proposal to Congress.. the Republicans come back with a counter proposal that incorporates about .2% of Obama's initial draft, and eliminates everything else.. Obama then comes back with a counter-counter-proposal, that's identical to his first, but incorporates about .2% of the Republicans' suggestions. That's not real compromise. There's no real give-and-take going on there.

My point is not that the Republicans know what they're talking about, or that their suggestions necessarily bear listening to, on their own merits.. rather, my point is that, like it or not, they command a large percentage of our country's legislature, and thus (presumably) represent the attitudes and beliefs of a large segment of our country's population. We're a democracy, for good or ill.. that doesn't mean that the people are only allowed to govern themselves as long as what they're doing is sane and in their own best interest. It means that the people govern themselves, period. And any mistakes that come about as a result of that, are their mistakes to make.

jayrayspicer, 2010.06.24 (Thu) 20:36 [Link] »

What, wait another 100 years for health care reform? You're aware that Teddy Roosevelt took a whack at this problem back in his day, right? Oh, if only we had a few million more Republicans like TR. But then they'd be Democrats, wouldn't they?

At this point, the GOP is about nothing. They are clinging to a group of voters who think they are still about small government, low taxes, etc, etc, but since Reagan, the GOP has been about nothing of the sort. And since Ken Starr and Gingrich, the GOP is only really about hating Democrats, regardless of their proposals. The GOP is no longer conservative, but purely reactionary. Scratch them and they actually admit that they don't believe in government, that government "is the problem". What kind of dipshit would trust a person with that attitude to run the government? Oh, I know, Republicans, Teabaggers, and Libertarians.

The recently passed health care bill is essentially a Republican bill (at least insofar as Mitt Romney is actually a Republican). The only reason the GOP opposed it is because their only political agenda is to demonize Democrats. Why? Because they got nuthin' else. They are intellectually and morally bankrupt.

And it's simply impossible to compromise with a party who won't compromise. The only members of the US government who are interested in actually governing are Democrats, and have been since Clinton's impeachment. Since the only part of the government that wants to govern is the Democrats, they should simply stop talking to the Republicans until those idiots decide they want to participate.

Tony, 2010.06.24 (Thu) 23:11 [Link] »

The only thing is, they HAVE to talk to them, because otherwise the Republicans will go happily on stone-walling all of their proposals. (Hell, most of the time they do anyway.. )

Don't get me wrong.. I agree with you in spirit. I don't see eye to eye with conservatives (or Republicans, or whatever you want to call them) on practically anything, and I wish we could just ignore them and leave them to their own God-fearing, minority-hating, fear-mongering devices while the smart people go and actually get some work done. The only problem is.. that won't work. As long as these guys keep getting elected, we have no choice but to TRY and work with them. Period. And, much as I hate to admit it, I don't think they're going anywhere any time soon.

jayrayspicer, 2010.06.25 (Fri) 04:54 [Link] »

Actually, Tony, I disagree. There can be no "working with" people who refuse to compromise. Obama is doing it about right, though less forcefully than I would like. He invites them to tea and asks them for their ideas, and then he just moves on when they stonewall. Which is all they ever do. There's really no point talking to the GOP at this point. They're not interested in governing. They haven't been since Reagan declared war on government. The Dems need to just get on with attempting to govern, and keep pointing out that the Party of No is not helping. It's not like the GOP doesn't know where to find the government if it decides to participate. Until they make that decision, though, talking to them is a waste of time.

Tony, 2010.06.25 (Fri) 18:32 [Link] »

Again.. no argument in principle. I think you're assuming, though, that the conservatives eventually WILL either decide to start being reasonable and participate, or else pack up their toys and get the hell out the way. And I just don't believe that's ever going to happen.

Basically, you've got two different species of conservative.. the small-town religious variety (or "social fundamentalists," as they're known in polite circles), and the economic/anti-government breed. The former haven't changed their tune in two thousand years or so, and the latter doesn't care about anything except how much money comes out of their paycheck at the end of the week, and what it's being used for. I've engaged these folks on a wide variety of subjects, and that's what EVERYTHING comes down to for them. It's almost surreal, at times.

And, sadly, I don't think people like that are ever going to change, and I also think there are always going to BE people like that. We can try to just ignore them and get down to business, like you've suggested, but they'll keep on throwing roadblocks in our way, and even as Obama shakes his finger at them and chastises them for being uncooperative, they'll continue demonizing the Democrats in the court of public opinion by appealing to our fear, xenophobia, religious intolerance, plain old "me, me, me" greed, and all the other ugly aspects of human nature that they've traded on for the last 50 years.

jayrayspicer, 2010.06.28 (Mon) 14:30 [Link] »

Well OK, Tony, but I don't know what option that leaves us with. It still seems to me that you get precisely as much by talking to the Party of No as you do by not talking to them--squat. So why waste the breath? Compromising with them is really only capitulating to their petulance, since they won't budge from their delusions and selfishness. Why reward that kind of juvenile behavior? Just point out that it's juvenile and counterproductive, and insist on talking to adults. I really see nothing to be gained from a "dialog" with the Republibaggertarians at this point. They are intellectually and morally bankrupt, and they're not interested in talking unless they get their way. They're the ones who have opted out of the system.

Tom S. Fox, 2010.09.01 (Wed) 16:35 [Link] »

Dear Two Percent Company,

could you take a break from your hiatius for long enough to write a few words on the Ground Zero Mosque?

Ford, 2010.10.09 (Sat) 00:43 [Link] »

And the tumbleweed rolled by.

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