Thursday, March 21, 2013

So now it's Mary Katherine Ham's turn I guess

Over at Hot Air  there's a new posting about the USPS staying with Saturday deliveries, this time by Mary Katherine Ham.  The Haminator joins the other postal service haters at the site in taking a superficial swipe at the service bolstered by little more than reading what others have written and commenting on it.  Not the most accurate way to disseminate info to your readers.

She regurgitates the data about fiscal 2012's losses, but fails to note that 80% of those losses are due to pre-funding mandate imposed by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.  Missing from her post was that the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the Post Office had a $100 million operational profit!  Sort of an important bit of info, don't you think?

But only if you're trying to give the whole picture, which MK is not.

She might also point out the $50 - $75 billion in pension costs overcharged to the Post Office since 1971 that the federal government refuses to return.  That is because those funds count as income for the fed and for Congress to permit a refund it would be forced to either make cuts (a Dem no-no) or raise taxes (a Rep no-no) the equivalent amount.  And that ain't happenin' anytime soon!

The Haminator points out that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) both complained about Postmaster Donahoe's accounting in his claims about a $2 billion savings by cutting out Saturday deliver, but says those concerns were answered by a letter from the Postal Regulatory Commission.  Problem is that even in their letter, the Commission notes that "...we caution that the methodology to estimate revenue loss resulting from a lesser delivery frequency suffers from material flaws.  As a result . . . the estimate . . . may not be reliable."  

Yeah.  You see, honey, the Regulatory Commission isn't the Post Office.  They're an outside group who rely on data provided to them by the post office to make their recommendations.  There is no outside accounting of the Post Office.  Anyone, even the unions, who ask for information, simply have to take what is given to them by the PO to work out whatever it is they're working on. That's sort of like going to the guy who's embezzling money from the bank and asking him for the books to catch the embezzler.  Pretty much not gonna work.  

Those, like Ham, who say the unions are the hold up here, number one, woefully overestimate the influence the feckless unions have on the post office.  But secondly, the unions have been actively offering suggestions to cut costs and help keep the PO viable.  One idea is to allow the PO to become a government owned corporation.  This would free the USPS from micro-managing and crippling regulations and allow it to freely explore revenue raising options like new products (no, not that odious clothing line), index stamp prices, etc.

Lost in all this common sense about delivering only packages on Saturday is exactly how that would be accomplished.  No one ever thinks about that.  If you're going to have your entire work force working anyway, why not deliver the mail at the same time?  Duhrr.

But of course, unbeknownst to these blogging clowns is that the PO's idea is to have CCA's do the Saturday deliver.  CCA's are the new part-timers we have.  We've got one at my office.  Nice kid.  When we send him out to deliver a route, we have to send five guys out to look him up to get him back by 6:00!  How the f*ck is he going to deliver a city's worth of parcels?!  

I would imagine Saturday's would be like this -- a supervisor, at least two clerks to sort the packages, and one CCA for every two routes.  So that's 10 people at work on Saturday.  Eight trucks on the road for eight hours (at least).  How is that saving $2 billion per year?!  Plus the PO estimates that being open Saturday brings in about $5 billion a year in revenue, so some or all of that would be lost.  Because you know FedEx and UPS will be jumping to grab our Saturday parcel business.

So eight part-timers misdelivering parcels to create a net loss of $3 billion per year.  Am I missing something here?  I'm no brain scientist, but I'm thinking that ain't good business.

Pity the Haminator didn't take a little time to dig into this instead of going for cheap traffic and comments.  But I don't expect any better from the trolls at HotAir. 

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