CHUCK MUTH'S NEWS & VIEWS

The good, the bad & the ugly. Liberal excesses. Conservative successes. Clowns to the Left. Jokers to the Right. Read all about 'em in Chuck's FREE hard-hitting, no B.S. newsletter of current events and political goings-on you won't find in the "mainstream press."

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Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. Mr. Muth is a professional campaign trainer, a newsletter publisher and talk-show host who regularly appears on political TV and radio programs.

Monday

News & Views, 1/31/05


POSTMASTER BONUSES TO INCREASE

“The first pay raises for postmasters and other U.S. Postal Service managers under a new performance-based pay system will likely be larger than raises and bonuses under past systems.”

- Federal Times, 1/20/05

SO MUCH FOR THE SANCTITY OF THE MAILBOX

“On Jan. 16, when trooper Joel Anderson walked up to what appeared to be a distressed driver, he encountered a man who authorities believe is responsible for stealing more than $700,000 worth of checks from mailboxes across Snohomish County, WA. Troopers who arrested the 39-year-old man found three large trash bags filled with stolen mail, including one un-cashed check for $375,000.”

- Seattle Times, 1/26/05

MAIL FRAUD AN INSIDE JOB

“A U.S. postal inspector has been sentenced in Camden, N.J., for a mail fraud scheme involving credit cards, the Justice Department said Friday. The inspector, Frank Aversa of Ridgewood, N.J., was sentenced to 10 months in prison, fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $16,000 in restitution for his guilty plea in August 2004 to a charge of defrauding the United States.

“In his plea, Aversa admitted beginning in late 2003 he was principally engaged in the investigation of credit card fraud schemes as a U.S. postal inspector. Aversa used his official position to access a U.S. Postal Service mail depository from which he stole several individuals' credit cards, the department said. Aversa then used those individuals' personal information to obtain additional credit cards in their names. Aversa fraudulently charged more than $19,000 worth of merchandise on the stolen credit cards for his personal benefit, the department said.”

- Washington Times, 1/21/05

BLEAK PICTURE

“Business use of the mails is declining as alternatives such as e-mail, faxes, and cell phones substitute for hard copy letters. Despite three rate increases in 18 months, USPS lost well over $2 billion in FY2001 and FY2002, and built up an $11.9 billion debt to the Treasury. It has a negative net worth and mounting obligations for retiree health benefits. USPS would be bankrupt but for the fact that it is a government entity, with Treasury borrowing rights.”

- Congressional Research Service

HIGH RISK

“In its 2005 update for the 109th Congress published last week, the Government Accountability Office outlined the status of 25 high-risk areas identified in 2003 that it said warranted attention by Congress and the Bush administration. The U.S. Postal Service's transformation efforts and long-term outlook remain on the GAO's high-risk list. The GAO first designated the postal service's transformation efforts and long-term outlook as high risk in April 2001 because of the growing risk that the USPS would be unable to continue providing universal postal service at reasonable rates while staying self-supporting through postal revenue.”

- DM News, 1/31/05

OTHER THAN THAT, EVERYTHING IS PEACHY

“The financial viability of the U.S. Postal Service is at risk because its business model is outdated and not sustainable, according to the Government Accountability Office. As part of its High-Risk Series, GAO said USPS faces major financial, operational, governance and human capital challenges as it looks to remain viable in an increasingly competitive environment.

"‘Key trends that demonstrate the need for reform include declining mail volume, particularly for First-Class Mail; changes in the mail mix from high-margin to lower-margin products; changing demographics of the aging postal workforce; growing competition from private delivery companies; and projected revenue declines while expenses increase. The Service continues to face challenges in addressing its large financial liabilities and obligations (e.g., retiree health obligations), as well as in restructuring its infrastructure and workforce to become more efficient and performance based,’ GAO’s report stated.”

- FedSmith.com, 1/28/05

THE DEATH SPIRAL

“First-class mail volume is declining while the number of addresses is increasing, and the Postal Service has but one mechanism - raising rates - to make up the difference between its falling revenues and rising costs…Observers have likened this to a 'death spiral,' where declining business leads to higher rates, which in turn leads to a further decline in business, and so on, and so on, and so on.”

- Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.)

STOP THE MAIL MONOPOLY

“(I)n 1825, Congress outlawed private mail delivery within cities and gave the USPS a monopoly over first-class letters and third-class items like magazines, catalogs, and junk mail (a prize if you can tell the difference).

“But why does the USPS still have this monopoly?

“The only possible argument is that the US economy would grind to a halt without the postal service. It is, after all, one of the largest civilian employers. Its 707,000 workers need 37,000 post offices, 200,000 vehicles, and 15,000 daily flights to deliver some 550 million pieces of mail a day.

“Sure, the numbers look impressive. But so would track miles of horse-drawn trolleys if that industry had a monopoly on travel. Consider that each day 35 billion emails are sent, 1 billion SMS messages traverse the ether, and 2 billion instant messages are delivered by AOL alone. Does any of this take almost three-quarters of a million workers? Nah, just a few latte sippers in data centers to reboot the servers a couple of times a day.”

- Columnist Andy Kessler, Wired Magazine, February ‘05 (NOTE: You can read Mr. Kessler’s full column at www.postalreform.com)

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GOIN’ POSTAL is published by:

Citizen Outreach
Chuck Muth
President/Editor
611 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, #439
Washington, DC 20003
(410) 391-7408

For more information on the issue of postal reform, visit www.postalreform.com

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