Category: Postal Reform
April 8, 2019
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This article was originally published in Townhall on April 8, 2019.
With Tax Day quickly approaching, taxpayers can find a long and growing list of how Uncle Sam is spending/wasting their hard-earned money. The United States Postal Service (USPS) claims to not be on that list, despite a recent watchdog report showing that the agency reaps more than $3.6 billion each year in indirect taxpayer subsidies. According to a recent report by the inspector general (IG), transportation costs have risen by 18 percent over the past ten years, despite mail volume declining 26 percent and service standards being relaxed. Unless the USPS can get a grip on cost drivers (pun intended) and enact fundamental reforms, taxpayers across the country will have to pay more for the agency’s shortcomings.
March 4, 2019
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This article originally appeared in the American Conservative on February 26, 2019.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) faces no shortage of issues, from billions of dollars in annual financial losses to declining consumer service marks. Fortunately, the beleaguered agency recently made a small change for the better, divorcing itselffrom a disastrous relationship with a prominent postage buyer and reseller—Stamps.com. USPS pulled the plug after years of Stamps.com selling postage to small companies and organizations at unsustainably low rates. The USPS’s nixing of its deeply flawed “exclusive partnership” is no panacea, and the agency still has a long way to go in shoring up its finances. But by saying “no” to a terrible, lopsided agreement, the Postal Service has set a welcome precedent that other agencies could stand to follow.
February 25, 2019
This article originally appeared on Fox Business on February 21, 2019.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is struggling mightily to keep its head above water in the current tax season and recent developments have done little to increase trust with taxpayers. A scathing report by the National Taxpayer Advocate describes a backlog of 5 million unsorted mail pieces, as few were on call to sort mail received during the federal shutdown. Taxpayers will likely swarm the phone lines as April draws closer, since an astounding 93.3 percent of callers trying to pay over the phone during the shutdown were unable to contact a live agent. But there remains a bright spot throughout this entire frustrating process: e-filing.» Read More
February 22, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the United States Postal Service (USPS) for reigning in the costly, misguided stamp reselling program. In TPA’s report last month calling for USPS reform, the watchdog group identified $3.3 billion in annual savings that Postal leadership could implement without Congress getting involved. » Read More
February 11, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) following its latest loss of $1.5 billion in the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year. The agency had a controllable loss of $103 million, signifying that overall costs of services are continuing to outpace the revenues of its products. » Read More
February 4, 2019
This article originally appeared in Townhall on January 31, 2019.
On January 27, the United States Postal Service (USPS) hiked up the price of First-Class Forever stamps from 50 to 55 cents, the largest percentage increase in stamp prices since the Civil War. Postal leadership hopes that these increases will help mask historic net losses - most recently, $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2018. The USPS insists that their gargantuan financial issues were caused by Congress, specifically a mandate passed in 2006 that required the agency to set aside money ahead of time for workers’ retirement obligations. » Read More
January 31, 2019
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a report calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the United States Postal Service (USPS). In the report, TPA identifies more than $3.3 billion in common sense savings that the agency can achieve without relying on Congressional reforms and/or taxpayer-funded bailouts. The report’s release comes shortly after the USPS raised the price of First Class stamps from 50 cents to 55 cents, the largest percentage increase since the Civil War.
January 8, 2019
Across the federal government, dysfunctional agencies are a dime-a-dozen. Yet few agencies are as braggadocios or thin-skinned as the United States Postal Service (USPS). In a January 7 tweet, the USPS asked its followers “How well do you know our organization? Here are the top 12 things you should know about the U.S. Postal Service!” The accompanying article(which may be trying to imitate a BuzzFeed list) waxes on platitudes such as “social responsibility,” “all hearts,” “heroes,” and “zero tax dollars used,” despite the agency’s sorry state of affairs and, yes, reliance on taxpayer dollars. To make sure that mail consumers actually get to know their friendly neighborhood Postal Service, here’s a rebuttal and further explanation for each item on USPS’s list: » Read More
December 27, 2018
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This article appeared in The American Conservative on December 19, 2018.
All is not well at the United States Postal Service (USPS). After an astounding net loss of $3.9 billion over the past fiscal year (its twelfth consecutive annual loss), nearly everyone admits that something needs to be done. One favorite solution of agency leaders is to hike prices, and proposed rate increases that take effect on January 27 would amount to the largest price hikes since 1991. Instead the USPS should pursue deeper structural reforms that put the agency on a path to solvency.
November 14, 2018
Washington, D.C.- Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for its $3.9 billion net loss for the year, an increase of $1.2 billion from the previous year. Poor financial decisions drove $2 billion in controllable losses, complicating efforts to reduce the agency’s $13.2 billion in debt outstanding. » Read More
September 11, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The Federalist on August 31, 2018.
As the trade war between the United States and China continues unabated, President Trump assures the American people that China’s “unfair” treatment by will soon end. While eliminating tariffs is a good start to solving the problems facing American businesses, focusing on another sort of tariff may also prove useful. Thanks to convoluted international postage regulations, it is cheaper for Chinese businesses to ship goods to American consumers than for American businesses to ship to American consumers. While this is just one of many factors contributing to China’s massive export edge over the United States, it is one of few that defy market logic.
August 9, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) expressed alarm over the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) $889 million in controllable losses this quarter, up from $587 million during the third quarter of last year. The total net loss of $1.5 billion for the quarter demonstrates the Postal Service's dire state of fiscal mismanagement. » Read More
July 20, 2018
For this week’s Summer Reading, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is going to assign a subject near and dear to the organization for years: United States Postal Service (USPS) reform. Many lawmakers have sounded off this issue without first doing their homework. For years, billshave been introduced premised on the idea that the “prefunding mandate” (enacted by Congress in 2006) is the primary reason for the USPS being in the red. But the funding of future retirement benefits is a reasonable safeguard against future financial uncertainties, one that is reflected in valuations of many businesses. From good old-fashioned mismanagement to corporate welfare and questionable vehicles purchases, the USPS is a mess. » Read More
July 18, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on July 16, 2018.
At 47 years old, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is showing its age. The independent agency has not replaced most of its fleet in decades. More than half of all trucks are more than 20 years old. The Postal Service needs more trucks, but wasting money on a substandard fleet would mean further taxpayer bailouts and an unacceptable experience for customers. » Read More
July 2, 2018
This article originally appeared in Economics21 on June 17, 2018.
The United States Postal Office (USPS), an independent agency of the federal government, likes to present itself as a business. The Postal Service also wants to dabble in other businesses such as grocery delivery and banking. It claims to “put information and technology at the center of its business strategies,” while receiving zero taxpayer dollars for operating expenses. » Read More
May 11, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) expressed continued alarm over the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) latest $656 million quarterly loss. This brings the total loss to $1.3 billion for the first half of the 2018 fiscal year. TPA has had an active role in analyzing USPS’s challenges, which includes advancing key concepts and principles for the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to incorporate in its work. While the PRC continues to apply its guidance and oversight, many of the substantive changes that the USPS requires must become top priority for lawmakers, Postmaster General Megan Brennan, and the future USPS Board of Governors.
April 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams applauded President Trump’s Task Force on the United States Postal Service (USPS). In the announcement, the President stated that the Postal Service’s operations and finances will be evaluated, including, but not limited to: “The expansion and pricing of the package delivery and USPS’s role in competitive markets,” and “The decline in mail volume and its implications for USPS’s self-financing and monopoly over letter delivery and mailboxes.” » Read More
April 5, 2018
This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on April 5, 2018
The United States Postal Service is deep in the red, with a dwindling list of options available to stop the bleeding. USPS officials and Congress have continually neglected to employ sound financial management, which has resulted in $15 billion in debt and more than $100 billion in unfunded liabilities for the Postal Service. Despite inept leadership, anyone bringing attention to these issues is bound to be repeatedly attacked as a corporate shill trying to harm the USPS. » Read More
February 9, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted with concern about the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) latest loss of $540 million for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. Since the current Postal Service law, the Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act (PAEA), came into effect in December 2006, the USPS has accumulated $65.6 billion in total net losses. » Read More
January 3, 2018
This article originally appeared in The Hill on January 2, 2018
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is as determined as ever to make customers pay more as they defend ludicrous schemes keeping the agency deep in debt. The cost of First-Class postage is slated to increase from 49 to 50 cents on Jan. 21 as part of a desperate move by postal officials to stem the financial bleeding. As the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has previously documented, increases in postage rates promote risky behaviors with non-postal business ventures and shore up liabilities in a massively-underfunded pension system buoyed by unrealistic promises. But, the biggest and ugliest secret lies below the surface in the rampant postal cronyism that disproportionately benefits e-commerce giants such as Amazon. In April, a Citigroup analysis found that Amazon gets roughly$1.50 in shipping subsidies from every package delivered via the Postal Service. » Read More