It seems like plenty of people are lining up on both sides of the Postal Service these days. Some love us. Some don't.
Those that don't often have some bad information, believing in myths that are just plain wrong. So this week, echoing PMG Jack Potter who dispelled these misconceptions in a Washington Post editorial earlier this month, we'll bust postal myths.
Myth 1: The Postal Service wastes taxpayer dollars.
The Postal Service, reorganized in 1971 as an independent agency of the executive branch, operates as a commercial entity. We rely on the sale of postage, mail products and services for revenue.
A small annual appropriation from Congress reimburses the USPS for free mail for the blind and absentee-ballot mailing for overseas military personnel. Otherwise, we have not received taxpayer funds to support postal operations since 1982. In fact, though we're often described as "quasi-governmental," we're required by law to cover our costs.
What do you think? Do your friends, family and customers still think we are taxpayer supported. Click here to comment.
Tomorrow's myth: "The Postal Service is inefficient"
Darn, now they have say "I pay your salary with my $.44. I deserve better serve
It's amazing that friends and family all think they know more about the postal service than we do, some of us working here more than 25 years. You cannot get through to them. They believe what they want to believe. I change the subject.
When I represent the USPS at local colleges I put out a fun sheet and ask one question about how many tax dollars support the USPS. Over 75% of the respondents do NOT know we are self-supporting.
Most customers still use the "my tax dollars" spiel when they're disgruntled about something. When we talk with our representatives in Congress and the Senate many of them think we are tax supported. I think if we don't get tax dollars they shouldn't have as much say in how our business is run. It's also discouraging how many news articles complain about us spending tax dollars. Aren't journalists supposed to check their facts? Many years ago Paul Harvey even reported that postmasters were going to convention in Hawaii and "your tax dollars" were paying for it. Boy did he get lambasted by postmasters - not only does USPS not get tax money but postmasters pay for their own expenses to conventions (or their organization pays for some expenses for officers - still not postal service money).
I think we should have posters in every post office lobby explaining we are not supported by tax dollars. Put the info on our LLVs too, along with a "use it or lose it" type slogan. If people think tax dollars support us, they also assume we'll always be around.
I love the idea of posting " use it or lose it" signs all over. That is what it is going to come down to unless they change how we are funding retirement, etc. People don't care to understand that we are not supported by tax dollars. If they did, what would they complain about?
Everyone thinks we are tax-supported, but -- as the current public political dialogues aptly illustrate -- few people know, or care about, the true facts of a situation; it's all personal opinion.
We are not supported.....yet we are. During our times of plenty, our excess revenue went into the treasury. We don't get to stock pile excess revenue like other businesses, we are capped at what we can have in "reserve." Without those reserves, the USPS must "borrow" from the tresury to meet our financial obligations.
Then how to you continue to operate when posting a multi million dollar loss? Do you have huge cash reserves? Or is that the smoke screen? Yes, the Government doesn't help in ongoing revenue for operations but they come and give a large infusion of cash every few years to bail you out. In private business we have to cut costs.
Barry, we have cut more costs then most private businesses. Private businesses are mostly non-union which makes layoffs and downsizing very, very difficult for us to do. Also, Congress doesn't dictate how you run your day to day business operatiosn, you don't have OIG oversite, and your retail items are not dictated to you. Private business will flex the prices of their retail items to match the supply and demand, which we also can not do. That is why the Government provides us with "large infusion" of cash during our years of lean sales.
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