Sunday, February 26, 2012

*sigh* There you go again . . .

I like Breitbart's Bigs, always lots of good stuff there. Occasionally a clunker, case in point:

This post from the other day. A contributer named Jason Hart went on a bender about Senator Sherrod Brown's efforts to keep the U.S. Post Office solvent and in one piece. Apparently, Mr. Hart has a bone to pick with the Ohio Senator, perhaps because Jason is from Ohio originally. But he does what so many conservative bloggers, who hate on anything government or union do -- simply grab the easiest data and smear a few hundred thousand hard-working, tax paying citizens.

In his piece, Jason states the following:
"USPS has been running deficits for years and is losing roughly a billion dollars a month, but Progressives won’t acknowledge market realities or admit the postal union’s demands are insane."

What market realities? And what union demands? Jason, of course doesn't mention those, instead using . . . dare I say it, conservative dog whistle terms like "union's demands" that he knows readers and commentors will greedily lap up.

If he had done even the most minimal of research, Jason might have found that the PO's first quarter statement showed an operational profit of $200 million for fiscal 2012! The $3.3 billion loss is entirely due to the pre-funding payment of disability and retirement pensions. A requirement that no other public or private business in the country is required to do. The requirement is to pre-fund these pensions 75 years into the future.

Jason takes the boilerplate conservative stance on this pre-funding that is bankrupting the USPS and states mockingly:
"...[Sen] Brown's big idea is to stop requiring USPS to sock money away in advance? This is a Progressive solution through and through – we’re running out of cash, so stop saving and spend, spend, spend!

No, dumbass! The idea is that if pre-funding 75 years into the future is putting you in debt now, and forcing you to borrow money to pay your bills, perhaps you can scale back on the pre-funding while you restructure to stay competitive!

Jeez Jason, what's your degree in anyway? *pulls up bio* Ahh, a BS in Management Information Systems -- a degree grounded in the Liberal Arts and focusing on Network Management and Security, Database Technologies Management, Enterprise Systems Management, and Web Site Design and Development (according to NYU website). So for building a nifty website or running an IT department, you might be the guy. Running a multi-billion dollar business that employs over 500,000 people . . . eh, maybe you're not so much.

At another point in his article, Jason snarks about a quote from Sen. Brown in an online petition:
"The postal service has been very restricted in what its [sic] allowed to do under law. It’s not been given opportunities to generate revenue..."

Jason points out, showing his own ignorance of the subject matter, that the PO has a monopoly on first class mail delivery and the suggests that Sen. Brown is "incredibly stupid" for making that statement.

Hey Jason, you know who else has made the exact same complaint about revenue generation? The Postmaster General. Maybe you should level the same insult at him.

But no, to Jason, the PMG is the good guy battling the evil, powerful and corrupt unions to save the embattled Post Office. Hart questions who has the "better grip" on postal finances -- PM Donahoe or Sen. Brown?

Well, here's my thing -- PM Donahoe, like every other manager in the postal service, is in management because he was either unwilling or unable to do craft work. Plain and simple. Patrick Donahoe was not promoted from craft based on merit. He went into management because he either lost his position in the clerk craft or decided he couldn't do it anymore and wanted a desk job. That he matriculated to the top of the Post Office is the Peter Principle in action.

So in response to Jason's question . . . it is quite possible that Sen. Brown is more qualified to make business decisions than the Postmaster General.

Part of the problem is that no one ever checks the PO's data on anything, they just accept the numbers that come out of the PMG's office as gospel. That's like going to the guy embezzling money from the bank and asking him for the records to catch the embezzler. Duhrr

This was pointed out nicely in Michigan recently when Sen. Levin stated that the Post Office had given them a savings estimate for closing a number of offices and processing facilities "...but no data on how these figures were reached..."

The Post Office has only been running deficits since 2006. The same year that it was forced by the government to begin this huge pre-funding program. Prior to that, the Post Office was already funding it's retirement/disability programs at a manageble pace. To suggest that to stave off the conservative bug-a-boo of unfunded pension liabilites by pre-funding them to such an extent as to put a business into bankrupcy and/or force it to be bailed out by the government is sheer stupidity.

Perhaps if Mr. Hart took more than intro courses in economics, he might know that.

I don't care if Jason dislikes Sherrod Brown as a Senator. He can rail against him all he likes. But as we are learning in the current Republican primary season -- not every decision, law, or bill put forward by a government representative can be hated on for purely partisan reasons.

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