The revenue numbers are in for the United States Postal Service, and they are quite bleak. Over the past 12 months, the USPS has lost $5 billion. Amazingly, though, that number is far better than last year.
The USPS lost $15.9 billion in fiscal 2012, chiefly due to $11.1 billion in payments for retiree health benefits. Because of those payments though, that year was something of an outlier, with $5.1 billion in losses in 2011 and $8.5 billion in 2010.
If this wasn’t already incredibly obvious, the way mail gets delivered in the United States is in need of a serious shake-up. For years, as NJ‘s Marina Koren wrote earlier this week, the USPS has pleaded with Congress to act to help its budget by ending Saturday delivery, decreasing retiree benefits, raising the price of postage, or taking some other actions.
There isn’t much sign of that happening though, on account of this Congress still being this Congress — although today’s loss numbers could help. In the meantime, the USPS is going rogue. Earlier this week, it announced it had turned to Amazon for a deal to expand the company’s Sunday package delivery.
The terms of that deal haven’t been disclosed. But there is a bright spot for the USPS in Friday’s report that shows why the deal could work. While mail volume has been declining for years, revenue from package delivery has been on the rise. In the past year, revenue rose 8 percent. Compare that with what’s happened to the USPS’ previous money-maker, first-class mail delivery. In 2007, that service added up to 92 billion pieces. In 2012, it was 69 billion. During that same period, package volume increased from 3.3 billion to 3.5 billion.
Things are pretty dire for the USPS right now, but moving to a more package-centric system, with help from private companies, could be a way forward.
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."