Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Turn junk mail into a cash cow

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I have been reading about the Postal Service’s fiscal problems, but not one person has mentioned junk mail, which the post office charges very little for. I believe it’s time the post office raised the prices for all of the trash I see in barrels near my mailbox. May I also suggest that perhaps it should charge each mailbox recipient $5 per year to lower their immense burden — that would bankrupt no one. I believe it’s feasible and about time we start taking our mail delivery seriously.

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  1. With a US government that can't and won't solve its fiscal and budget problems, why are we so surprised that the US Postal Service can't?

    CarmineD

  2. Good idea. But I think there's a better idea. One that not only gets rid of junk mail hitting my mail box and also keeps the Post Office employed with the statistics of volume of mail.

    I do this regularly.

    When I get stuff in the mail that I don't want any more, I rip it into small pieces, then stuff it in the handy return envelopes. Mail it back to them.

    It even reduces the amount of paper trash I produce.

    There you have it, folks. Rip up the stuff and mail the garbage back to them with their own envelopes. Then they eventually get the idea and don't send this crap anymore.

  3. The letter writer has a good point.Somebody should be charged.But why we the consumer we don't ask for junk mail it just shows up in our mail boxes? The post office should charge regular fees for the delivery of junk mail to who ever mails it.

    When you pick up your morning newspaper or a magazine it sometimes has the same advertisements inside it as we receive from junk mail.Guess what? The magazine and newspapers do not do this service for free.Point being if advertisers want to continue using the USPO for junk mail then they should pay the freight.

  4. Colin,

    In theory, you can wrap a brick and tape one of those pre-paid return postage post cards to it and the recipient has to pay the postage based on the weight.

  5. Congress passed a law in 2006 placing the postal service in its current fiscal situation, and it is only Congress that can solve the problem by enacting H. R. 1351.

    The law requires the Postal Service to do something that no other business or government agency has to do--pre-fund its FUTURE retiree health care benefits. This is a 75 year liability that has to be paid in 10 years. The Postal Service makes a payment of approximately $5.5 billion on September 30 at the end of every fiscal year to meet this obligation.

    Reform this and perhaps the USPS can survive, without socking residents fees or privatizing.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I have another suggestion that pertains to some residential customers. Instead of having delivery services only, rather than both delivery and pick up from boxes, install more secure post boxes, or walk door to door delivery and pick up. This would encourage the use of mail, other than for advertisement, and would sell more postage and shipping boxes.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    For those who wish to reduce the aggravation of ad junk mail in their post boxes...

    Stopping unsolicited mail, phone calls, and email:

    http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/026...

    https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you don't use apps like Do Not Track, or Ad Block Plus, you may find more junk e-mail.

    http://www.abine.com/how-donottrackme-wo...

    http://adblockplus.org

    When you register for a website, check the privacy options. If the box for accepting sharing your information is present, uncheck it. Also, dont' allow e-mailing newsletters and special deals.

    Utilize junk mail controls on your antivirus and e-mail programs.

    Use good malware programs.

  6. Bychuck333,

    "@Sam: The newspaper advertising is really expensive so the mail is a far better return on investment and it reaches more people then the paper".

    As the USPO tries to fight off bankruptcy and continues to raise rates on all mail delivery and packages.At the same time junk mail delivery customers are getting a price break.

    Guess where most of the weight for mail carriers who deliver mail comes from "junk mail",also guess where most of the weight comes from for mail trucks to haul around, "junk mail".If you don't think this is contributing to the post office's bankruptcy problems think again.More man hours(sick time),more gas for vehicles, more wear and tear on vehicles etc.

    Most of us throw out junk mail out without reading it anyway.So if they junk mailers want to continue sending it out then they should pay the freight just like everyone else.

  7. Bychuck333,

    Just ask yourself why is the postal service fighting so hard to avoid staying out of bankruptcy, and not increasing the rates for junk mail? Why is it that junk mail with it's lower rate schedule set up for them get to pay less, when all others who use the service have to pay more? Could it be one of the (junk mail) contributing reasons that the post office is in such a financial mess?

    Like I've mentioned before we the consumers didn't sign up for junk mail it just appears in our mail boxes, like it or not. Junk mail with it's lower costs,ends up costing all consumers more money for our own normal mail delivery,to help keep the postal service afloat.

  8. We no longer mail packages through USPS because of thefts of items from packages before they were received by the recipients.

    They happened years ago, and has resulted in a lack of trust. Never happened with the optional ways of sending packages.

  9. By chuck333,

    I beleive the post office has multiple problems not just one as you have suggested (retirement).My response was commenting on the letter writer's editorial about junk mail.At this point I have no more to say about this article.

  10. Chuck333 is correct that this "junk mail" is postage paid mail and how it works. It is not subsidized by other mailers. However postal management has been bad about making some deals with certain advertisers that could make it such that the PO will lose money in delivering their mail than they will actually make.

    For those who made the comment about receiving some of the same ads in your mailbox and your newspaper that is because two of the regular pieces of "junk mail" you get in your mailbox are sent out by the RJ. If you don't want them anymore then call them and ask to be removed from their mailing list.

    @SgtRock The postal service hasn't received a dime of taxpayer money in over 3 decades now. The taxpayers are NOT giving anything to it. It is solely funded by the money it collects for postage and it's services that it performs. And as for that whole privatizing thing you mentioned I suggest you go check the Constitution as it places the post office squarely in Congresses hands meaning it should require a constitutional amendment to change this.

  11. PeaceLilly is correct that the financial problems the postal service is facing are due to the prefunding requirement that congress saddled it with back in 2006. It requires the postal service to fund 75 years worth of future retiree benefits over a 10 year period. This is something that no other government agency or private company is required to do. This amounts to a $5.5B/yr payment, and that's on top of paying it's current retiree benefits. This pre-payment is responsible for 80% of the postal services red ink since it started and this isn't really a surprise. In the 3 years prior to this pre-finding requirement the postal service made a total of $3B in profit or $1B/yr(keep in mind the PO is only supposed to break even as it is a nonprofit). Knowing that it's no surprise that the pre-funding requirement is bankrupting the PO.

    Speaking of current retiree liabilities I wonder how many people are aware the according to 2 separate actuarial companies the PO has overpaid into the CSRS anywhere between $50-$75B and has overpaid about $12B into the FERS. Add that to the amount currently set aside in the pre-funding account ($40B) and the postal service has at least about $100B laying around which it has no access to.