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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Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.
On the second ballot, the Indiana Republican Party's Central Committee tapped Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as their nominee to succeed Gov. Mike Pence this fall. "Holcomb was a top aide to former Gov. Mitch Daniels and Sen. Dan Coats and a former chairman of the state Republican Party."
"Negotiations are underway to have Bernie Sanders officially nominate Hillary Clinton for president at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, a move that would further signal party unity. According to a source familiar with the talks, the Vermont senator would nominate the presumptive Democratic nominee after the roll call vote."
Bernie Sanders said he'll begin pivoting his campaign to an organization designed to help candidates at the local level around the country. At a breakfast for the Wisconsin delegation to the DNC this morning, he said the new group will "bring people into the political process around a progressive agenda," as it supports candidates "running for school board, for city council, for state legislature."
Everything's getting contentious in Philadelphia this week ... especially the Senate race that's being contested there. "Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty called her Republican opponent 'an asshole' while at a labor union event Monday at the Democratic National Convention. The comments about Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) came at a press conference with labor union leaders calling for raising the minimum wage. It was quickly followed by an apology." She immediately apologized in a statement.