On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- We get it, being in government is tough and it’s only getting tougher with budget cuts and sequestration. But one way to weather the storm is to cling tight to your leadership core principles. Click here for the full recap.
- As you know, government conferences are under fire. So what is the future of government conferencing? Are they still necessary for the good of government? We look at the emerging hybrid or virtual conference. Click here for the full recap.
But up front: Are the days of the U.S. mail numbered?
Almost any way you look at the numbers, the trend is not good for the venerable U.S. Postal Service.
Today, the Postal Service has decided to end Saturday delivery of first-class mail — and it will do that by this summer, CBS This Morning reports.
But by almost any metric, the Postal Service is in trouble.
“In the past decade, the volume of first-class mail has plummeted to about 73.5 billion pieces of mail in 2011 from some 102 billion in 2002. The drop-off in the volume of first-class stamped mail has been even sharper, to about 25.8 billion pieces in 2011 from roughly 51.9 billion in 2002. – Wall Street Journal.
And Zero Hedge notes: “The price of first-class postage would need to be surging to keep up with declining volumes to keep revenues constant. Alas, it can’t: ‘First-class mail is the agency’s main revenue source and it is prohibited from raising stamp prices beyond inflation.’”
The Postal Service and postal workers unions have blamed the drop in mail, but they also blame the great recession and accounting rules that require USPS to pre-fund their retirement costs.
Unfortunately almost any metric you use isn’t good for the Postal Service. USPS has cut some 168,000 workers since 2006.
“Options that Congress is considering to find a path to financial stability for the Postal Service include allowing it to sell ads, ship beer and wine and, possibly, end Saturday mail delivery.”
Asked whether the Postal Service is making this announcement because they’re trying to force Congress to act, Coburn said, “No, I don’t think so at all. Look, they’re in survival mode. You’re not going to have any post office. I mean, here’s the alternative: They’re losing $25 million dollars a day. A day. They have to do something.”
How do you feel about no more Saturday mail? According to our survey from 2010, 83% of the American public viewed the USPS favorably, compared with 26% for Congress.
The 02.06 DorobekINSIDER sequestration reader:
The must-see chart: Goldman’s prediction of federal spending (Washington Post
- NYTimes: Obama Offers Deficit Savings to Head Off Automatic Cuts
- Federal Times:Sequestration’s impact comes into focus as agencies lay out their plans
- GovExec: Government is wasteful enough that sequestration is acceptable, witnesses say
- Washington Post’s WonkBlog: Government spending set to tumble, says Goldman Sachs. “‘Sequestration, spending caps, and reduced war spending will together reduce real federal consumption and gross investment by 11% over the next two years.’”
- The Washington Post: How the sequester became politically inevitable. “What does the sequester’s move from close-to-unimaginable to close-to-unavoidable prove? That most basic rule of Washington: The politically easiest path is the one politicians prefer to take…[T]he sequester allows politicians to do what comes naturally to them: Blame the other guy for the problem and keep their hands clean(ish). Which is why it still very well may happen.”
- Politico: House GOP thinks unthinkable on defense cuts: The Republican mantra for decades has been: cut NPR, EPA and the National Endowment for the Arts. Now add the Pentagon to the list. In the modern history of the Republican Party, it would have been unthinkable. The GOP is built on two core tenets—small government and big defense spending—and for decades, the two ideas co-existed peacefully.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- President Obama has picked Sally Jewell, a business executive who has earned national recognition for her support of outdoor recreation and habitat conservation, to lead the Interior Department. The Associate Press reports, Jewell is currently the president and chief executive officer at the outdoors company Recreational Equipment, Inc., known as REI, which sells clothing and gear for outdoor adventures with more than 100 stores across the country. Before joining Kent, Wash.-based REI in 2000, Jewell worked in commercial banking and as an engineer for Mobil Oil Corp. She took the top post at REI in 2005.
- The Federal Reserve says the are the latest government agency to be hacked. Reuters reports, the activist group Anonymous struck the Fed on Sunday, accessing personal information of more than 4,000 U.S. bank executives, which it published on the Web. The Fed says no critical functions of the U.S. central bank were affected by the intrusion
- States vary in overall election performance, but a new Pew Charitable Trust report shows widespread flaws. The New York Times reports, the group ranked all 50 states based on more than 15 criteria, including wait times, lost votes and problems with absentee and provisional ballots, and the order often confounds the conventional wisdom.
- Washington Post: The Pentagon has decided to extend certain benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian personnel, according to officials and people notified about the decision, responding to the increasingly vocal appeals of same-sex couples in the military. The military expects to announce the decision this week. Officials at the Pentagon would not say which new benefits the department has determined it can extend to same-sex couples without violating the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that bars the federal government from legally recognizing same-sex unions.
- The White House’s petition website, “We the People” got a major upgrade. Tech President reports, the site will soon get a read-only application programming interface, with a write API in development. This means that developers will soon be able to build applications that display information about petitions, signatures, and responses.
- Is the Post Office immune from traffic laws? The Federal Times reports, a lawyer’s claim that the U.S. Postal Service is immune from state and local traffic regulations has angered traffic officials who are now writing their own version of the post office creed. Jennifer Breslin, senior litigation counsel for the Postal Service, is attempting to get dismissed almost $700 in traffic tickets given to USPS employees in East Cleveland, claiming the service is immune from state and local regulations.
- And on GovLoop, have you registered for our next DorobekINSIDER Live? This time we are talking about everyone’s favorite buzzword BYOD.
The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
- New Pew Survey Finds Three-Quarters of Americans Don’t Trust the Government
- Majority Says the Federal Government Threatens Their Personal Rights
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