By Kevin Hasset, Monday October 11, 2010, 4:07 pm EDT
“Start with the fact the Postal Service is a great jobs machine, employing 712,000 people at an average annual compensation, including wages and benefits, of $83,000. And those hefty pay checks are a great source of political contributions for Democrats. In 2010, almost 90 percent of the approximately $4 million contributed to campaigns by postal unions went to Democrats. Take a guess where much of the opposition to reform comes from.
But high-priced labor, which accounts each year for about 80 percent of costs, leads to high-priced mail services, and even higher costs for taxpayers. Over the past 10 years, the price of a stamp has risen from 33 cents to 44 cents, exceeding the inflation rate at a time when computerization should have been leading to big cost savings. Even so the Postal Service lost about $6 billion this year and by its own projections it will drop a cool $238 billion over the next decade. By 2020, the last year in the projections, the Postal Service will be losing $33 billion annually.
If its losses level off and it continues to lose that much each year, the Postal Service will lose $550 billion from 2010 to 2030. If the growth rate of losses projected over the next decade continues until 2030, it will lose more than $1 trillion in that span. The fiscal black hole that the Postal Service has become is no small potatoes, even in government terms.
In April 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report that analyzed the operations of the Postal Service and concluded that, “USPS’s business model is not viable due to USPS’s inability to reduce costs sufficiently.”
A 2007 GAO study looked at the Postal Service’s use of facilities, and concluded that, “A 2005 contractor assessment of 651 randomly selected postal facilities revealed that two- thirds of these facilities were in less than “acceptable” condition, including 22 percent that were rated “poor.” Inspection of one facility in Dallas led the inspector to recommend that the building be immediately evacuated.
The decaying buildings provide a handy visual clue to the quality of service. Unfortunately, we don’t know how bad the service is, because the Postal Service collects data on its own service quality, but it refuses to make the data public. Isn’t it nice that your tax dollars pay for data that you’re not allowed to see?”
Now here is the kicker!
“The Postal Service’s ability to lose mail is, of course, legendary. Here is an example of how bad it has become: last week the American Postal Workers Union had to postpone their national election of officers because so many of the ballots were lost in the mail.”