It would seem that people only care about monopolies when they are in the hands of anyone but the government. But, when in those trusted hands of Uncle Sam, it’s A-OK for an organization to have a legal strangle hold on a market.
Enter the United States Postal Service.
For years this organization has been losing money by the truck load. The truck load I tell you. And the whole time they’re losing this money there are corporations willing and able to take the job from them. FedEx and UPS would be chomping at the bit to be able to have a shot at the commercial mail that the USPS handles right now.
But the government won’t let ’em.
Part of the reason is inertia. The United States government has been delivering the mail since, well, since Benjamin Franklin. And it’s hard to turn that ship. Real hard.
The second reason is that the current method subsidizes the cost of sending packages. By taxing the citizens, and then giving the USPS the money to cover losses, we are able to trick people into thinking that delivering a letter only costs something like $0.50.
The third reason is that its a massive “make work pay” scheme. If we can continue to pay people to do work that just flushes money down the toilet, we should. They are government union employees who eat at the government trough and will be good loyal Democrat voters! We need MORE of them in fact, not less.
Which makes this story so surprising and refreshing:
According to documents obtained by CNNMoney, the United States Postal Service is appealing to Congress to remove collective bargaining restrictions in order to lay off 120,000 workers. It also wants congressional approval to replace existing government health care and retirement plans.
The post office claims it needs to eliminate 220,000 positions, or more than 30% of its staff by 2015, but only 100,000 of those positions can be made through attrition. The other 120,000 must come from lay offs, according to the documents.
It’s almost beyond belief! What would cause the post office to make such an announcement?
“To restore the Postal Service to financial viability, it is imperative that we have the ability to reduce our workforce rapidly,” the USPS wrote.
Words I love:
- financial viability
Hold on please, I have to grab a bit of wine to savor this moment.
Okay, back now. But, umm….is there a catch?
The USPS is also asking Congress to change legislation that requires postal workers to get federal health care and retirement benefits. Instead, the Postal Service would replace them with its own benefit plans.
Currently, postal employees participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System. If given congressional approval, the Post Office would replace those with new plans that would save money, while offering comparable benefits to employees, according to the documents.
It’s like someone died and I was put in charge!