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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 28, 2011 / 26 Sivan, 5771

Send this one back where it came from

By Glenn Garvin



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night stays the U.S. Postal Service from its appointed rounds, as long as it gets a giant bailout. Largely reduced to a delivery service for subsidized junk mail, crippled by sweetheart deals with its labor unions, the Postal Service is a good candidate for the dead-letter box. Instead, its managers are frantically lobbying for a federal bailout nearly twice the size of the one General Motors got.

Make that two bailouts. The Postal Service is not only trying to sneak a direct $75 billion payment out of the government without congressional approval, it's also asking to be let off the hook for a $5.5 billion payment into a trust fund to guarantee the absurdly generous pension benefits it has promised its retirees. When the Postal Service can't pay those benefits a few years down the line, who do you think will get the bill? Hint: Look in the mirror.

Adding $75 billion (plus who knows how much later when the Postal Service pensions implode) to the federal deficit at a time when federal debt is already bigger than half the entire output of the U.S. economy is a bad enough idea on its own terms.

But it's even worse in the precedent it sets for using vast sums of taxpayer dollars to preserve industries being swept into the dustbin of history by technological change. Newspapers, movie theaters, broadcast radio and TV: They're all besieged by the Internet. Will they be strapped to the federal life-support machinery, too?

That's the fundamental problem for the Postal Service. It's wedded to a dying ink-on-paper technology in an electronic world. Think about it: When's the last time you wrote somebody a letter, stuck it into an envelope and slapped on a stamp? The amount of first-class mail fell 19 percent during the last decade, and it's expected to drop another 37 percent over the next one.

More than half the Postal Service's business these days is generated by junk mail that's delivered at less than cost thanks to the lobbying prowess of the direct-mail industry. The percentage of junk mail is only going to rise as digital bill-paying gets safer and more efficient.

The Postal Service can't be blamed for the invention of email or the fax machine. But it surely is responsible for the giveaway contracts it signs with its labor unions. About 80 percent of the service's budget goes to salaries and benefits, compared to 61 percent at UPS and 43 percent at Federal Express.

Even by the voracious standards of public-sector unions, the Postal Service unions are an insatiable bunch. When the largest of them, the American Postal Workers Union, opened contract negotiations last fall, APWU president William Burrus was perfectly blunt about what he was demanding: "More control over activities at work, more money, better benefits — we want more." He got it, too: The new contract included a 3.5-percent raise, a no-layoff clause, and seven cost-of-living increases over the next four and a half years.

You don't need an advanced degree in mathematics to calculate that a dying business model plus spendthrift policies equals bankruptcy. Sure enough, the Postal Service — which, though a federal agency, is structured like a business and is supposed to pay its way — lost $20 billion between 2007 to 2010. It stayed afloat only by borrowing $12 billion from the government. But the freebie line of credit is legally capped at $15 billion, and the Postal Service will hit the limit sometime later this year.

In the Age of Obama, that means it's time for a bailout. Not that the Postal Service is crass enough to use that term. In a steady stream of propaganda that's gleefully amplified and repeated by the trade press in industries that rely on junk mail, the Postal Service insists that it's just asking for a return of $75 billion in "overpayments" to a federal pension fund over a 40-year period. And because it's just a refund, not an appropriation, there's no need for that messy congressional approval process, either. The Treasury Department can just drop the check in the, heh-heh, mail.

That's such a bald-faced money grab that even other Washington bureaucracies are blowing the whistle on the Postal Service. In a highly unusual rebuke from one agency to another, the federal Office of Personnel Management, which overseas government pension funds, said the Postal Service wasn't entitled to a penny. For one thing, OPM says, Congress explicitly approved the way the Postal Service pension contributions were calculated, and the Postal Service didn't murmur a word of complaint for four decades.

And for another, the Postal Service has already been reimbursed for the pension payments — they were included as a cost of business when setting postal rates. That is, every time you mailed a letter over the past four decades, you were paying for your mailman's pension. But now the Postal Service wants to bill you again.

I've got a better idea: Let's stamp it Return to Sender.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Glenn Garvin is a columnist for the Miami Herald

Previously:



06/23/11: Doesn't this president remind you of someone?
05/26/11: A new standard of racial correctness
05/12/11: ‘Vast wasteland’ speech 50 years later
04/13/11: Bay of Pigs fiasco offers lessons for Obama's Libya adventure
03/03/11: Inconvenient truth for teachers' unions
07/10/10: Still looking to score
06/22/10: Ripe for fraud and abuse
05/25/10: Big Brother picks your pocket
11/04/09: Have conservatives scored a stealth prime time drama?
08/27/09: Left's been out for blood, too
08/13/09: What's not being celebrated
07/31/09: Pay-or-play means more lost jobs
07/16/09: OAS turns a blind eye to violations by left
07/02/09: Nothing so shocking about this coup
06/22/09: Libs' darling strikes out
06/03/09: Yes, America should read Sotomayor's speech in context
05/20/09: ‘Bloody’ mission goes awry
05/07/09: The problem is they aren't just goofin'
04/30/09: Why can't students say ‘guns’ in school?
04/08/09: When non-U.S. citizens vote
03/2e/09: Of course the AIG bonus boys — the ‘best and the brightest‘ — deserve their loot
03/12/09: No choice in Free Choice Act

© 2009, The Miami Herald Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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