Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Because of insurance,' Christmas mailing hectic

Waco - The line snaked all the way out of the service area, across the lobby, past the post office boxes, and out the door of the U.S. Post Office on Wooded Acres in driving rains that poured out of leaden skies Wednesday.

Noon time crowds waited patiently as one postal worker filled a station at the counter inside, patiently weighing parcels, applying postage and ignoring the fact that he was utterly alone to service the demands of the year's biggest holiday rush.

In fact, the throng of more than a hundred wet, miserable, harrassed postal patrons stood and watched as he measured with a tape measure the girth and length of a parcel, carefully jotting down the figures.

Three times.

He did it three times.

Beside him, a half dozen work stations sat idle, piled high with such items of holiday cheer as fruitcakes and plates of cookies wrapped in colorful packages.

Some kind of dahkine look-see pidgin, blalah. What means this?

Now comes the revelation: It's all about the insurance.

Very interesting, no?

In an effort to eliminate $5.5 billion in annual payments to pre-fund retirement health benefits 75 years into the future, a majority Republican U.S. House of Representatives is following the lead of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who is already cutting staff by attrition.

They propose to close 3,700 local post offices, 200 mail processing plants, and lay off 120,000 workers in addition to eliminating the legislation that requires Congress to fund postal workers' retirement health benefits 75 years into the future at the cost of $5.5 billion per year.

The cause for the crunch is falling volumes of mail in a snail mail system that has lost out to e-mail, cybermarketing and a reduction of direct mail catlogs and marketing schemes.

Transportation costs for trucking paper to printing plants, shipping finished product to bulk mailing facilities, and fuel surcharge pass-through costs to patrons alone has dented the failing postal system's bottom line, fractured its cost effectivity, and made unfeasible the massive hemorrhaging of red ink for the past 40 years.

Merry Christmas. Ho. Ho. Ho.

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