Patterico's Pontifications

2/6/2013

No More Saturday Mail

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am

Do you care? I don’t.

If something is important, someone will use a private firm to get it to me anyway.

I suspect this is part of Obama’s plan to make it look like we’re SLASHING GOVERNMENT TO THE BONE!!!! — thus we need to “balance” our previous tax hikes with still more tax hikes.

But that’s just cynical old me.

134 Responses to “No More Saturday Mail”

  1. OH MY GOD NO SATURDAY MAIL!!!!

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. they should take it down to two or three times a week I think

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  3. Me, I blame the clever lads who decided to make pre-sorted mail cheaper than first class.

    How much actual mail does your mailbox receive, as opposed to worthless trash that you toss, unlooked at?

    Mine’s running about 5%.

    mojo (8096f2)

  4. With online billing and payment, very little comes through the regular mail that is important. If it is important, it comes by UPS or FedEx.

    JD (b63a52)

  5. I guess this is the result of “Team Postal” stopping their consumption of performance enhancing drugs. I blame Lance Armstrong !

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  6. Lost $16B last year. Save $2B by cutting Saturday delivery.

    By my calculations if they stopped all postal delivery the USPS would still be $4B in the hole.

    egd (d580cc)

  7. Come to think of it, all federal employees should be given performance enhancing drugs. It might reduce the long lines at the DMV.

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  8. Baroke Owebama said that FedEx and UPS were doing fine, it was the Post Office that was failing, so he hijacked Health Care.

    He’s growing Government as fast as he can. Government fails at just about everything it does and this is just something to try and slow the bleeding of the union infested cesspool that is a multi-billion dollar loss of your tax dollars every year on pensions, health insurance and high salaries of yet another failed government entity.

    © Sponge (8110ec)

  9. Well, the article that Patterico linked to saves it for the very last sentence, but here is the key take-away point:

    A majority of the agency’s losses in 2012 came from a requirement to prepay for future retiree healthcare, one of the major issues lawmakers are dealing with in postal reform negotiations.

    Yet Democrats nation-wide, from Obama to Jerry Brown to whichever machine politician runs the big city that you live in, seem wholly uninterested in how pension and health obligations for public sector retirees are going to impact the nation, the states, and the municipalities as more and more of the Baby Boomer generation retire during this bad economy.

    JVW (4826a9)

  10. You clearly don’t know jack crack about this…but don’t let that get in the way if another mindless ODS rant.

    50 cent stomp (66371e)

  11. Another cost saving measure they should consider is consolidating some of the post offices.

    I live on Cape Cod. The town of Wellfleet has two post offices. For most of the year the towns population is under 3000 people and is about 1,300 households. The town takes up just over 35 square miles. In the summer that changes but a lot of the people in summer cottages don’t have mail coming to them or the post office won’t deliver mail to them any ways. If you want mail delivery you either need to get a PO Box or put a mail box out along the state highway.

    Mattsky (c97938)

  12. Mattsky,

    Wellfleet, MA !
    I’m familiar with the Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theatre.
    You know, for a long time, it was run by Jeff Zinn, the son of left wing creep Howard Zinn.

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  13. This will save gas and lighting costs, but they won’t let anyone go. Which is their real problem.

    I remember a number of years back when the City of Los Angeles announced a cutback in street sweeping to save money — they went from once a week to once a month. However, the staff was kept on, they just drove one week in 4, saving gasoline costs and vehicle upkeep but ignoring the real cost centers.

    And of course, they ticketed cars just the same each and every week.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  14. Greetings:

    Back when Mission Statements became all the managerial rage, I came up with my Universal Mission Statement in order to prevent my having to attend any more Mission Statement management seminars. It went like thus: Our Mission is to provide quality goods and services on a timely basis at prices that our customers perceive as a value and that allow for continuing operations.

    In that light, my approach to the Postal Service’s problems would be to not only end Saturday delivery, but also deliveries on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    The mail that comes to my residence is mostly invoices (bills), magazines, and direct (advertising) mail. None of it requires same day or even next day action. So, in my opinion, the Postal Service has worked itself into a position in which it it delivering more service than is rationally required and at prices that do not allow for the above “continuing operations”. Its customers may indeed see it as “a value”, but I see it as both “a value” and a “get-over”.

    In the historical way that it takes a committee to redesign a horse into a camel, the Postal Service has preferred to kick the can around and around while ignoring all the information available about its inexorable decline. My advice would be to cut deeply, not just the marginal Saturday bit, and then hope to develop some new services and revenue sources in the future.

    The Empire can no longer be defended.

    11B40 (6da6e2)

  15. You clearly don’t know jack crack about this…but don’t let that get in the way if another mindless ODS rant.

    Comment by 50 cent stomp (66371e) — 2/6/2013 @ 9:34 am

    This is hysterical

    JD (8fc815)

  16. 50 cent stomp,

    Your unencumbered devotion to your hero Obama is kind of sweet in an awkward teenager “Justin Bieber is the bomb, yo !” kind of way, but even the most ardent worshippers of the Rolling Stones will admit to you in private that the Stones’ glory days are behind them.

    It is not the detractors of Obama who are “deranged,” rather it is Obama who is the one who is deranged.

    “Good” human beings do not befriend scumbags such as Bill Ayers, Bernardine Doehrn, Rashid Khalidi, Jeffrey Jones, et al.

    Obama’s list of close friends reads like the casting call of the bar scene in the original “Star Wars” film.

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  17. You clearly don’t know jack crack about this…but don’t let that get in the way if another mindless ODS rant.
    Comment by 50 cent stomp (66371e) — 2/6/2013 @ 9:34 am

    – New troll is boring.

    Icy (ecbc5a)

  18. I doubt very much that it’s posturing related to the budget and sequester. For one thing, the post office has its own budget which is separate from the general fund; for another, the post office has been talking about doing this for years. It’s been a long time coming.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  19. > If it is important, it comes by UPS or FedEx.

    I don’t know that i’d say that; I still get important mail via the post office. Just yesterday I got a CLE certificate that way, for example, and I still subscribe to some print magazines.

    But it’s true that 80% of what comes in my mailbox is useless crap.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  20. Elephant Stone: I think you’ll find that providing performance enhancing drugs to _federal_ employees has no effect whatsoever on DMV offices, as they’re generally either staffed with _state_ employees or outsourced.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  21. ODS?

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  22. aphrael,

    Oh, you’re right, my liberal friend.
    I meant to say, “government” employees, rather than “federal” employees, in the context of the DMV.
    Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    State government employees are obviously so much more effective than federal employees. Everyone knows that. I denounce myself ! :)

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  23. Me, I blame the clever lads who decided to make pre-sorted mail cheaper than first class.

    the pre-sorting makes it easier for the post office, that is part of why third class mail gets a lower rate. The post office makes a profit delivering third class mail (not sure how they calculate that, but it is what they report). The drop in first class mail is what has really hurt.

    And while most of the ‘junk’ does go into trash cans, enough people order from the catalogs that it is worthwhile to the mailers to keep sending them out.

    steve (369bc6)

  24. The cool thing about 50 cent stomp’s #10 is that it is so mindlessly generic that he can just cut and paste it on pretty much any thread, anywhere, that he wants to drop in on and troll. You’ve got to admit that’s efficient!

    elissa (a02170)

  25. oh. ok I got it

    happyfeet (4bf7c2)

  26. Spooner was right. If this were a free market, the USPS would have gone under long ago.

    Ghost (2d8874)

  27. Comment by happyfeet (ce327d) — 2/6/2013 @ 7:55 am

    Many’s the day my carrier mysteriously has not even one piece of “junk mail” to drop into my bin.
    Missing Saturdays will bring my mail deliveries down to that 3 or 4 day figure that “feets” mentions.

    But, why are we surprised?
    My Father, who worked a lifetime as a home-delivery milk-man, saw deliveries go from 3-days a week (M/W/F & T/Th/Sa) on two routes, to 2-days/wk on three routes, to once/wk on five routes. His replacement after he retired, saw it go to none on no routes.
    Time moves on.

    The bright spot is, that when the USPS continues to lose money on this new reduced, efficiency schedule, they just might get the message, and privatize the Mail Service, and rid us of this sink-hole.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  28. One of the problems with privatizing the mail service is that Senators from sparsely populated states will insist on the maintenance of post offices in sparsely populated areas where the total volume can’t possibly pay for the cost of the office.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  29. I’m sure UPS will be happy to set up a kiosk at the local Pump-n-Puke.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  30. aphrael,

    Surely, you must know that Senators of sparsely populated states would naturally insist upon maintenance of mail delivery since it happens to appear in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7, of the Constitution.

    Right ?

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  31. Only tangentially related, but we barely ever receive mail, and when we do it is minimal, on Tuesdays. I always wonder why that is.

    JD (b63a52)

  32. How about they ONLY keep Saturday mail and stop filling my trashcan up with junk mail. It would also save them far more than $2 Billion.

    NaBr (a094a6)

  33. ES, I think the Congress drastically altered that clause upon dis-establishment of the Post Office, and establishment of the Postal Service.
    Would not their authority to “establish Post Offices” also include the authority to “privatize” the Service?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  34. Elephant Stone: while that clause authorizes the establishment of post offices and post roads, it does not mandate a particular distribution, or a particular ratio of people to post office, etc.

    My point is that as long as Congress mandates by law that there be post offices which do not have the volume of business to pay for their employees – which it does – then any postal system, public or private, is going to have difficulty turning a profit overall.

    Askeptic: I think they would be authorized to privatize the service, yes. Subject of course to whatever contractual duties they impose on the purchaser.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  35. Since Congress is constitutionally (their constitution, not the People’s) unsuited to alter the USPS so that it can stop losing money, their only remedy may be privitization.
    Some can say, and do, that things were better under the old USPO, but even with all of the Congressional meddling then, and the direct link from you Post Master to your Congressman, they did not have the unions to deal with.
    Let’s face it, the USPS is just another employee benefit scheme, just one that, when it can, delivers mail.
    Sorta reminds you of GM, doesn’t it?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  36. @steve:
    “the pre-sorting makes it easier for the post office, that is part of why third class mail gets a lower rate. The post office makes a profit delivering third class mail (not sure how they calculate that, but it is what they report). The drop in first class mail is what has really hurt.”

    So charge more for the worthless bulk 3rd class trash. They’re using the PO as an ad delivery system, they can pay for it. Or stop using it. Either works for me.

    mojo (8096f2)

  37. No, of course the Constitution does not contain an explicit clause which designates the ratio of “people to post office.”
    And certainly the Constitution was set up so that future generations could amend it if need be. I’m always in favor of streamlining overhead costs.

    The point of establishing that clause in the first place is that even during the time of the largely rural colonies of 1787, they had a grasp of Economics 101 in the sense that they knew it would not make optimal business sense to deliver mail (directly) to folks living waaaaay out in the boondocks. Nonetheless, the Founders knew it was necessary to still deliver mail to those people, otherwise the “western lands” (as well as anyone living out in the boondocks in eastern lands) would be at quite a disadvantage during a time of pioneering and expansion.

    It is yet another example of how the Founders seemed to be very prescient in the design and purpose in the creation of the Constitution, regarding what was put in, and what was left out, contrary to what some people on the left believe.

    Often times, the mail would actually be delivered to a p.o. box at a general store where business of the p.o. would be facillitated, so the postal deliverer didn’t actually have to go over the hills and through the woods to hand-deliver a two-bit postcard to Johnny Appleseed at an overhead cost of say, a dollar.

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  38. They’re using the PO as an ad delivery system, they can pay for it.

    They do pay, somewhere in the ballpark of $16 billion a year. And since bulk mail is more price elastic than 1st and 2nd class mail, raising the price would result in a volume drop offsetting at least a good chunk of the supposed gain from raising the rate.

    steve (369bc6)

  39. Meh, New Zealand post is making the same cutbacks here.

    Of course, they are expected to make a profit.

    scrubone (e7e0ea)

  40. The US postal service is definitely being run in the Obama manner … after all, they are many billions behind having failed to make the service’s pension contributions.

    In other words, they are broke but keep spending money they don’t have anyway.

    SPQR (768505)

  41. Elephant Stone, at 37: And i’m not objecting to the notion that we should deliver mail to rural areas. I’m merely pointing out that it’s not profitable to do so, and that *any* scheme for mail delivery which requires that is going to either need some form of government subsidy OR is going to have absurdly high prices for rural delivery OR is going to have to find a way to subsidize rural delivery from the urban and suburban operations.

    A big part of the problem with the post office today is that Congress mandates delivery to extremely sparsely populated areas – or, worse, mandates *open offices* in those areas – and yet doesn’t want to fund it from the general fund.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  42. Re: mail delivery to rural areas. Very similar to Congressional dictate that phone companies provide service to people who live in the middle of who knows where.

    I’m surprised they haven’t mandated that rural folks also have a right to a McDonalds, WalMart and a 16 screen multiplex all within walking distance

    steve (369bc6)

  43. ‘Course Saturday delivery just cuts into overtime. There will be no layoffs so this is just chump change.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  44. USPS is a pension and health-insurance plan with a motorpool.

    Well, it’s at least THREE plans, one for each of its bigger unions (NALC, APWU, NPMHU). In addition, there are salaries on a “no layoffs” basis, and another retirement/ health plan for non-unionized USPS employees.

    Incidentally only, they move things from place to place — but doing so costs USPS more than it thereby earns, with the exception of junk mail and some parcels.

    http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/postal-service-cant-afford-unions

    Mitch (341ca0)

  45. “mandated delivery to out-of-the-way, rural areas”

    Gee, how does UPS afford to do so?
    The only pricing differential that UPS uses (that I’m aware of) other than weight and zone on a class of delivery, is whether the address is “commercial” or “residential” (residential pays more).

    They seem to be able to do it in a timely, and efficient manner; what’s the problem?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  46. Oops, I forgot at least one union, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA).

    Mitch (341ca0)

  47. Lower your expectations and pass the Hope and Change.

    AZ Bob (7d2a2c)

  48. aphrael,

    Everyone knows that facillitating delivery to sparsely populated areas is not an optimal business model—I’m merely pointing out that the Founders realized that point 225 years ago, so that’s why they had to insist in the Constitution upon mandatory delivery to everyone (even in the boondocks).

    By the way, although the P.O. is only somewhat subsidized by taxpayers, can you name a government venture or bureaucracy that pays for itself ?

    I’m all for limited government, and the p.o. often drives me crazy with their red tape, but I can’t help but roll my eyes at lefties who take aim at the post office’s “operating losses” when delivering mail to rural people, yet who aren’t too animated about the expansion of government and accruement of national debt during Obama’s first four years.

    Each journey of ten thousand steps begins with the first step, but the post office is a drop in the bucket compared to the other stuff.

    Elephant Stone (5d58ea)

  49. One important effect of privatizing the USPS: this may put an end to the issuance of commemorative stamps. Laugh if you will, but I learned a great deal about U.S. history as a boy by collecting stamps. And back in those days the USPS stamp committee was more conservative than education bureaucrats (that may still be slightly true), so there were stamps celebrating a whole lot of Revolutionary War generals and great inventors who were never covered in school.

    Of course, this also would theoretically prevent us from having to endure the Clinton, Bush, and Obama first-class stamps down the road.

    JVW (4826a9)

  50. Uh, 1st class mail subsidizes snail spam. USPS needs to exit competition with private industry to even smell a prayer.

    Laying off 200,000 carriers would be a great first step.

    I really am beginning to find the progressives here tiresome.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  51. Askeptic: i’m less concerned about *delivery* than keeping open offices. Lots of tiny towns have staffed post offices when there isn’t a UPS store anywhere nearby.

    Also – UPS charges *substantially* more for that delivery than the USPS does.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  52. Elephant Stone – I don’t actually have a problem with post office operating losses; I think a certain amount of operating loss is inherent in the model, and I think it’s *correct* as a matter of state policy to subsidize mail (and telephone) service in rural areas.

    My point is that privatization, while it may make things somewhat better, won’t be a panacaea, and that some state support is going to be needed even in a privatized world.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  53. JVW – I think they could still make money running commemorative stamps. Since some – probably a large – number of commemorative stamps are going to not be used for actual postage. ISTM it ought to be possible (if the stamp price is set correctly) to make money on them.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  54. Government outlays:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/01/Spending%20Q1%20TBAC.jpg

    As bad as the entitlements seem, how about $100 Billion for Dept. of Education? We are choking on lard.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  55. Comment by aphrael (efbf91) — 2/6/2013 @ 2:19 pm

    Because UPS has to make a profit, or at least break even – they aren’t backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States”, which isn’t keeping Fannie and Freddie out of bankruptcy it seems.
    Plus, that tiny town PO is often just a part-time clerk at the local market, etc, who probably also books UPS/FedEx shipments/deliveries.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  56. Comment by aphrael (efbf91) — 2/6/2013 @ 2:23 pm

    I don’t know, aphrael; as a passive collector (formerly a pretty avid collector) I am not too sure. It would turn commemorative stamps into something akin to Franklin Mint collections or the “medals” that the U.S. Mint sometimes strikes. I kind of doubt if there would be much interest in stamps once they are no longer used as actual legal tender.

    JVW (4826a9)

  57. There’s also a shoe to fit the other foot. Rural citizens all over Amerikkka subsidize their States urban infrastructure. That is the whole scheme behind funding government with income tax revenues.

    Feeding the cities is a losing proposition.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  58. Askeptic, right. So what i’m saying is: if the USPS were privatized, it’s almost certain that one of the strings the Senate would attach would be a mandate that the level of service in rural areas, and the cost to ship to/from there, be maintained at current level. Anything else would be politically untenable for Senators from rural states.

    Which means whoever bought the concession would end up with obstacles to making a profit which FedEx and UPS just don’t have.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  59. Commemorative Stamps….
    The USPS notes those as one of its profit centers.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  60. No one would buy it with such a restriction.
    Would you?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  61. It won’t be offered for sale without such a restriction. If nobody will buy with the restriction, then privatization is not going to happen.

    To some degree my point here is also that, once again, we have an example of Congress – not this specific Congress, but Congress in general – giving a government agency conflicting and inconsistent mandates and then being unhappy with the result.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  62. And how exactly is this going to save money? Are they actually going to CUT THE PAY of our postal workers? ZOMG! Pay cuts for union employees–will certainly throw the earth of its axis.

    Patricia (be0117)

  63. Comment by Elephant Stone (5d58ea) — 2/6/2013 @ 12:49 pm

    I agree, and lets apply your thinking to save money to some other programs such as:

    Highways, Veterans hospitals, Navy Ports, Border security, Telephone and electrical power grids. Pipelines, etc.

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  64. Oh yeah and the caost guard billions spent wasted out there patrolling nothing, not to mention the Navy, whens the last time the US was invaded by a naval power?

    Airforce bases whats up with those being in the middle of nowhere?

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  65. The US hasn’t been invaded by a naval power precisely because the USN/USCG maintain that constant vigilence.
    It’s a little something they call Peace Through Strength!

    “the middle of nowhere”?
    It’s called being good neighbors, and not disturbing the cows and chickens.
    And, they’d appreciate it if you stopped pushing the town limits out to the wire surrounding the base.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  66. Will the Congress offer the USPS for privatization without any “poison pills”?
    Only if they really want to be rid of this headache.
    If not, they have only themselves to blame.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  67. I agree with happyfeet that they should cut the schedule further. They also should cut as many post offices as possible.

    I’d love to see this function replaced with private contractors like garbage collection in many places.

    I would feel even more strongly about it if we had a secure email system that could be relied upon to reach any person. Why would anyone want to rely on a paper billing system? Mail is essentially for communication, and doing so physically for text information is really stupid in 2013.

    Dustin (73fead)

  68. Elephant Stone come back in October for the Wellfleet OysterFest.

    Mattsky (c97938)

  69. The cancellation of Saturday mail delivery does not apply to packages (like from Amazon.com), Express mail, and Post Office boxes.

    It does apply to Priority mail, creating a distinction between Priority Mail and Express mail late in the week.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  70. I always make sure to get bills, regardless of the way I pay them.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  71. And how exactly is this going to save money? Are they actually going to CUT THE PAY of our postal workers? ZOMG! Pay cuts for union employees–will certainly throw the earth of its axis.

    Patricia, you obviously know that pay cuts won’t happen, but some of the folks I know at my local post office tell me that they simply aren’t hiring letter carriers any longer. When one retires, he or she isn’t replaced. As a consequence, the delivery of my mail which used to occur between 3:00 and 4:00 pm now often doesn’t happen until 6:00 pm.

    JVW (4826a9)

  72. The Post Office is prevented from doing many things that are considered competition. And maybe it isn’t innovative enough. I think e-mail to printed hardcopy letter would be a useful service.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  73. askeptic

    Its all sarc I live in the country – Its the fact that less than 30% now live in whats refered to as Core Urban areas and the fluight to not only the burbs but the rural areas is increasing and the metropolitan stat areas are being stretched to laughable proportions to try AND MASK the fact that the bastions of democrat power have been leaking citizens for years now

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  74. It is also in the trouble it is in because of Washington budget politics. Its pension fund is overfunded, but Congress refuses to cut back because that would increase the deficit.

    Postal Service’s Overfunding of Pension Plans Grows to $13 Billion (Feb. 2012)

    Let’s make clear that the overfunding of these pension plans is separate from the $75 billion overpayment to CSRS pension plan that the Office of inspector General found based on how retirement costs were assigned to former employees of the old Post Office Department. (The Postal Regulatory Commission determined that the Postal Service overpaid by $55 billion.)

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  75. It’s D-Day for the Post Office (New York Times column by Joe Nocera July 31, 2012 )

    …On the other hand, that prefunding requirement is an absolute killer. It has cost the post office more than $20 billion since 2007 — a period during which its total losses amounted to $25.3 billion. Without that requirement, the post office would still likely be struggling, but it would have a lot more wiggle room — and a lot more cash. (Its pension obligations are also overfunded by around $11 billion.) Not since the debt crisis has there been such an avoidable fiscal mess.

    It is a little startling when you first hear about the prefunding requirement. It seems to make no sense, and, as many have noted, it is something that is demanded of no other company or government agency. So why does it exist? It turns out to be one of those things that only Congress could cook up.

    Since the 1970s, the Postal Service has been self-sufficient, generating money by selling stamps and offering services — and not dependent on the taxpayer. It is thus considered “off budget.” Yet part of its operations — including its health and retiree benefits — have continued to be part of the federal budget, and thus count against the federal deficit.

    In 2002, it was discovered that the Postal Service was wildly overpaying its retirement obligations to the tune of $71 billion. Not surprisingly, it soon began advocating for ways to use some of that excess. One bill passed that did almost nothing to solve the problem. Later bills that would have fixed the problem, however, all ran into the same stumbling block: they would have ostensibly added to the deficit.

    And the Bush administration was adamant that it would veto any bill that wasn’t deficit-neutral.

    Thus it was that a new fund was established in 2006 — for the prepayment of health benefits for future retirees, with the Postal Service agreeing to pay between $5.5 billion and $5.8 billion annually. The money simply goes into an escrow account, where it is invested in special issue Treasury securities. Thus does it somehow magically help with the deficit. Also, of course, no sooner did the bill become law than first class mail began to fall off the cliff. The prefunding requirement became a noose around the Postal Service’s neck.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  76. Frankly talk of permitting the Postal Service to continue in any service other than that constitutionally enjoined is insane.

    All these schemes to keep government as it is or to modify it as little as possible is compassionate but there is no money.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2013/01/Spending%20Q1%20TBAC.jpg

    The January employment report indicates that the contraction is accelerating. -0.1% growth in GDP Q4 will be revised down a number of times in coming quarters.

    Government spending at these levels is malinvestment, every Federal dollar spent contracts the economy further.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  77. Here’s a nice write up on the reality behind the curtain. Complete with chart fu!

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-06/guest-post-all-well

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  78. the Postal Service has been self-sufficient… and not dependent on the taxpayer… Yet part of its operations — including its health and retiree benefits — have continued to be part of the federal budget, and thus count against the federal deficit.

    Yeah, and Pets.com was profitable if you ignored parts of its operations… such expenses as shipping. The fact is the Post Office is not cash positive and hasn’t been for quite a while. They’re a drain.

    steve (e7e6c7)

  79. It does apply to Priority mail, creating a distinction between Priority Mail and Express mail late in the week.

    There’s a pretty huge price distinction to Express Mail already. EM is a pricey non-starter.

    This is a mistake if they are going to cut Priority Mail deliveries — it’s one of their success stories. I get things shipped via Priority Mail all the time, and 2-3 day delivery cross country for $7 is a real bargain. The fact that they deliver on Saturday when FedEx and UPS (largely) won’t is a bonus. But turning Saturday into next Monday is going to make PM FAR less interesting.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  80. What the government ought to do is break the USPS into two competing companies. When one goes bust, that solves the no-layoff problem.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  81. I moved half way across the country almost 15 years ago. We drove a rental truck with our goods. On the day we left, I filed a forwarding order with the USPS, it took us three days to drive. Two days later, for five days net, the first forwarded mail showed up at my house.

    This last fall, I moved from about two miles, barely from one zip code to another.

    It took three weeks for the mail forwarding to finally start. And since they stopped delivering mail to the previous address – a house I still own – I had to go to the post office every couple of days to pick up my mail in the meantime.

    You can’t burn the USPS down fast enough for me.

    SPQR (768505)

  82. askeptic (b8ab92) in #45
    regarding UPS pricing differences.
    UPS has many ways they raise the price of a parcel.
    You mentioned the residential surcharge.
    There’s a Saturday delivery surcharge also. Plus another surcharge (called the rural surcharge) if the address is more than a certain number of miles from where the UPS office your package is delivered from.
    The important things for UPS though (aside from their drivers getting to be Teamsters’ Union members) is UPS raises their rates each and every year, come January 1. Usually rate increases are higher than inflation rate. UPS doesn’t have to go grovel to a “Board of Governors” like the Postal Service does and beg to raise rates only to be told, well we’ll think about it. Or be told, Inflation is 4%? Raise the price of a stamp or a package by 3% and consider yourselves lucky.

    John Pomeroy (6eeea6)

  83. EPWJ:

    http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-01.pdf, table 3, shows that each of the 10 most heavily populated Metropolitan Statistical Areas grew in population between 2000 and 2010, using the borders defined by the census bureau, which haven’t changed.

    Table 4 shows that every one of the ten most heavily populated counties except for Cook grew in population (albeit Kings and Queens barely did).

    Table 5 shows that every one of the ten most heavily populated incorporated places, except for Chicago, grew in population (albeit Philadelphia and Dallas barely did.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  84. It took three weeks for the mail forwarding to finally start. And since they stopped delivering mail to the previous address – a house I still own – I had to go to the post office every couple of days to pick up my mail in the meantime.

    It depends greatly on the post office and the postmaster. Is this still Congressional patronage?

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  85. Aphrael – add that to the ever growing list of things he just makes up.

    JD (b63a52)

  86. JD – it’s wierd, because you can certainly make a case that the urban areas aren’t growing as fast as the rest of the country. And certainly there was a period where they were shrinking. But they aren’t, and haven’t been for some time.

    My guess is that – just as it’s important for some urbanites to denigrate the rural – it’s important for some non-urbanites to denigrate the urban. In my mind both are pretty silly; both urban and rural populations are part of our culture and our heritage, both are necessary to the functioning of our economy, and which you prefer is really a matter of taste and rearing.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  87. Aphrael – I live on the edge of the metro area and farmland. I like them both.

    JD (b63a52)

  88. IL Governor Quinn in his State of the State address was obliged to note the State is doomed, her pension system under 40% funded.

    Like Argentina and Greece, like Harrisburg and Detroit, the Postal Service will again default.

    Nothing we’ve said here alters Rico’s conclusion a whit.

    The SEC has ‘barred’ Egan Jones from rating US Treasuries for eighteen months. The DOJ is currently trying to excise S&Ps pinkies and scare them and or Moody’s of following suit.

    The ECB has their public meeting tomorrow and Draghi will be on tenterhooks fearing spooking the markets. The EU’s equities have decoupled from US stocks and are headed into the toilet as the recession gains momentum.

    All is well!!!!

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  89. aphrael

    Urban areas are shrinking – its a fact, the burbs are spreading out and rural areas are growing – the FACT that they seem to reclassify areas – is proof of that. The south is growing and is primarily rural and the rust belt and the East is shrinking and thats except for california a oerwhelming portion of the us

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  90. He just showed you the FACTS, epwj. We have be one used to your utter disdain for the pesky little things.

    JD (b63a52)

  91. o-ho the wells fargo wagon is a-comin’ down the street

    oh please let it be for me

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  92. hey i said please

    aw shucks

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  93. happyfeet, do you ever comment while sober?

    SPQR (768505)

  94. all the time almost!

    when I drink I don’t have the attention span or focus to make these sort of on-point comments what advance the discussion

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  95. Aphrael

    I’ve lived in many large cities and currently live in the country I am not making any

    The inner cities are shrinking, the costs to live there are rising and the quality of life, the amenities are more expensive and less available

    40 years ago 1/4th of america lived in the top 100 inner cities now its less than 7%

    http://www.isc.hbs.edu/pdf/ICEF_2005.11.15.pdf

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  96. In 2000, Michael E. Porter — a Harvard Business School professor and CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City — reported that America’s 100 largest inner cities were home to 8 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for nearly a third of the nation’s minority residents living in poverty. ICIC figures also show that between 1998 and 2006, a mere 10,000 new jobs were created in those 100 inner cities — even as their corresponding census regions added more than 6 million jobs.

    http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/moving-inner-cities-out-of-the-red-into-the-black-3946/

    How can anyone see that people are going to move to these places

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  97. That’s my favorite musical, feets.

    elissa (e10d64)

  98. There is a point how modern urban environments are not conducive to large scale economic development, yet public policy is geared toward that sector,

    narciso (3fec35)

  99. it was my second one I ever saw after fiddler

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  100. unless you count sound of music on the tv

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  101. my third one I was little and mom and dad took us to see king n i on broadway with yul brynner and that was when I understood about how when mom n dad say we’re going to the theater or the symphony you say okeydokey what time

    happyfeet (ce327d)

  102. There is a point how modern urban environments are not conducive to large scale economic development, yet public policy is geared toward that sector,

    For a century all inner cities have been losing populations – there is a blip that Aphrael posted and thats only due to economics – young people are temporarily staying close to the job base in the inner cities and putting off marriage, home ownership even car ownershi – this is considered a temporary trend and really not even statistically relevent.

    But hey its just my rambling as ther village idiot

    EPWJ (c3dbb4)

  103. == young people are temporarily staying close to the job base in the inner cities==

    eric–perhaps it would help the discussion be less adversarial if you were to define “inner city” as you are using it, and arguing about. From your comments I’m almost sure that I don’t think of or use that term “inner city” at all in the same way you seem to be using it. Plus, none of us know if you are using the same definition as the author of the source material you have searched out to quote.

    Maybe aphrael is having a similar problem. Definitions make a differemce.

    elissa (e10d64)

  104. I doubt very much that it’s posturing related to the budget and sequester. For one thing, the post office has its own budget which is separate from the general fund…

    aphrael,

    And when they exceed the budget — as they do, regularly — where does the extra money come from?

    Patterico (9c670f)

  105. This is how one dictionary defines inner city:

    The usually older, central part of a city, especially when characterized by crowded neighborhoods in which low-income, often minority groups predominate.

    So what about the whole rest of the city where people live and work that is not inner city? You think the inner city has a job base???

    elissa (e10d64)

  106. JVW, I wondered why my mail comes at 6 p.m. now.

    Naturally, they cut service to us, but not one penny of inconvenience to the workers. They are very nice, all the ones I met, but I took a 5% cut from the State during hard times, why can’t they?

    Patricia (be0117)

  107. Elissa

    Inner citie is a polite euphemism for city. There is some semantic sensitivities as the cities turned ethnic and people fled to the burbs.B
    ut in the last 30 years core industries and jobs are moving out of the cities and into the rural suburbs – hence the rediculously ponderous MSA’s which to me are only statistical props to hide how run down the cities actually are

    EPWJ (1cedce)

  108. I am not a first-adopter, and some would say I’m an old stick-in-the-mud; but I stopped paying my bills via snail mail over five years ago, and the only thing I send via USPS are Priority letters and “if it fits it ships” packages, with tracking.
    The wonder is that First Class hasn’t completely collapsed at this point dragging the USPS into insolvency.
    But, as long as there’s an Amtrak, there’ll be a USPS; for they are visible entities that tell us that our leaders don’t give a $hit!

    askeptic (2bb434)

  109. Another reason the USPS should just shut-up and die:

    They sent a U.S.Attorney into court saying that a State has no authority to issue speeding/traffic tickets to USPS vehicles/drivers.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  110. There is some semantic sensitivities as the cities turned ethnic and people fled to the burbs

    Not sure if the topic of urban vs suburban necessarily fits the topic of this thread, but since the USPS does have a large number of employees who fall into the “minority” category — and are of urban background — that does make for one connection there.

    Moreover, this period of time in US history is seeing growing numbers of unemployed people who count themselves as among Barack Obama’s biggest fans, and which therefore runs counter to the better job trends these same Americans witnessed during the past few decades. So the current plight of the USPS doesn’t exactly help matters.

    Another thing: People vote with their feet and the moving fan, so communities have been made or unmade because of that. Also, there’s the phrase “you reap what you sow.”

    Last November, a large majority of voters in Detroit elected a candidate running for a state office who had a lengthy criminal record, particularly involving credit card and check fraud. This makes me think of a big, bulky operation like the USPS — bogged down by a certain amount of corrupt unions and their snake-oil leadership — often being the best enablers to such communities, or visa versa.

    Again, one either votes with his or her feet, or, if that person isn’t quite so lucky, he reaps what he sows.

    Mark (07279d)

  111. Check out Bill Whittle at mrvirtualpresident.com
    I love this guys take on us.

    mg (31009b)

  112. The post office really doesn’t deliver time sensitive material anymore. Plus the Sat. deliveries cost way more than they’re worth. Even still delivering packages seems excessive.

    It’s double bubble time for the carriers so THEY like it and I think they get paid for a whole day even if they finish early.

    Time for a new UNION contract, only one negotiated by someone who’s pay is decided by how LOW they can get it instead of a bureaucrat who either doesn’t care (it’s not THEIR money) or who’s a member of a UNION.

    Why can FEDEX and UPS make money but the Post Office can’t? That’s question that needs to be honestly answered. (yes I know the P.O. has to deliver all mail at a uniform price but seriously, union rules and worker sloth is a major problem.)

    Jcw46 (f33482)

  113. Its the fact that less than 30% now live in whats refered to as Core Urban areas and the fluight to not only the burbs but the rural areas is increasing and the metropolitan stat areas are being stretched to laughable proportions to try AND MASK the fact that the bastions of democrat power have been leaking citizens for years now

    This is its original claim, Elissa. It has since morphed to the definition of inner city is shrinking, it is ethnic, and is losing jobs.

    JD (8fc815)

  114. ==Inner citie is a polite euphemism for city.==

    Well, Eric, maybe in your world and your brain, but certainly not for most people, or those who now live in a big city or have ever done so (like aphrael and me). Many cities need better governance– but most cities don’t require euphemisms. They especially don’t need “polite” euphemisms which imply all cities are ghettos. That tactic really says to readers, “I’ll use a trigger word which I hope will goose my narrative to those who aren’t paying attention”.

    Whether they’re governed red or blue, or situated north south east or west, they’re not all Detroit by a long shot. Cities are still the locus of finance, sports, higher ed and culture for the metro areas around them. Nobody but you feels need to “politely” call them something else.

    I’ve lived rural, big city and burbs. They’re all great.

    elissa (adf165)

  115. Only a government agency would ever claim that it was getting so much business it would have to raise its rates. Normal businesses experience economies of scale, so, if it’s doing any kind of piece-rate activity, its costs per unit go down.

    But not an agency of the Federal Government, such as the Post Office, did, some years back when arguing for a rate hike on first class postage.

    Combine that with the endless effort to fund research into random handwriting recognition, rather than simple apply an obvious existing, fully developed and mature technology, like, say, BAR CODES.

    Using bar codes, it is clear that you could get the number of humans who directly touch a piece of mail down to two, and often one, person: The one who picks the mail up and the one who drops it in your mail box.

    And you could strongly encourage this by offering a discount to any entity who used the bar codes rather than hand addresses (yes, some spammers use bar codes, I’m saying we ALL should be using bar codes).

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Labeler of the Obamaᵒ (98ae1f)

  116. Well, Eric, maybe in your world and your brain, but certainly not for most people

    This is the question are we cetentralizing and I was quoting some national experts on this – so in my little brain and it is little – they mere fact that 100 years cities have been emptying out is one of the sneers about the flyover country digs

    Look at the population shifts from IL to Tennessee – or CA to TX or from Houston to the
    woodlands or Conroe.

    Facts are Facts

    EPWJ (1cedce)

  117. Look at the population shifts from IL to Tennessee – or CA to TX or from Houston to the
    woodlands or Conroe.

    The following is a fitting symbol of this current era in American history, represented by a very blue — true blue — state becoming an American variation of Greece, or Mexico, or France, or Argentina. Or what was once the “promised land,” — a “Golden State” — morphing into something not quite so exemplary.

    ocregister.com, Joel Kotkin, December 2012:

    [T]here’s little denying that California has shifted from a vibrant magnet for the young and ambitious to a state increasingly bifurcated between an aging, predominately white coastal population and a largely impoverished, heavily Hispanic interior. This evolution…has much to do with what passes for “progressive” policies – high taxation, regulation and an Ecotopian delusion that threatens to crush the hopes of many blue-collar and middle-class Californians.

    California’s consistent net outmigration over the past two decades continues, albeit at a slower rate. Over that period, California, notes a recent Manhattan Institute report, has lost a net 3.4 million people. This outflow has slowed with the recession and housing bust, but could swell again, as in the past, when the housing market recovers, and people can sell their homes.

    Over the past decade…immigration enforcement data indicates that California has suffered a gradual erosion in its appeal to immigrants; this is particularly true for the L.A. Basin. In 2000, for example, Los Angeles-Orange County received 120,000 new immigrants; a decade later the annual intake had dropped by 87,000. Essentially, immigration into the L.A. Basin fell 27.5 percent while immigration nationwide remained essentially stable; the numbers of Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Washington and New York, in contrast, remained level or grew.

    Particularly troubling has been the relative decline in Asian immigrants, whose numbers now surpass Hispanics, and who also tend to be better educated than other newcomers. An analysis of migration of Asians conducted by demographer Wendell Cox, shows Asians heading increasingly to places like Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. Still home to the largest concentration of Asian-Americans, the L.A. Basin’s growth rate is now among the lowest in the nation, 24 percent in the past decade, compared with 39 percent in New York, and more than 70 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

    Over the past decade, for example, virtually all the largest metropolitan areas [in California] – including Silicon Valley – have seen slower percentage growth in college graduates than the national average. In contrast, largest rate of growth in educated people has taken place in regions such as Raleigh, N.C.; Austin, Texas, Phoenix and Houston; all these cities have increased the number of bachelor’s degrees at least one-third more quickly than the major California cities.

    In the population over age 65, California ranks an impressive fourth in terms of people with bachelor’s or higher degrees; but in the population under 35 our ranking falls to a mediocre 28th.

    This pattern can also be seen in those with graduate educations, where we are also losing our edge, ranking 19th among the younger cohort. More worrying still is the dismal situation at our grade schools, where California now ranks an abysmal 50th in high school attainment. Our students now rank among the worst-performing in the nation in such critical areas as science and math.

    ^ However, an asterisk needs to be placed next to any assumptions about the future, since New York City (no less hell bent in its own self-destructive liberalism), which saw huge population losses over 30 years ago, has witnessed during the past 20 years (in sheer volume, but not percentages) the largest gain in population of any city in the US, Los Angeles or various Sun Belt cities included. So the way people vote with their feet and suitcases can be both revealing and volatile or unpredictable.

    Mark (07279d)

  118. I refuse to buy online from companies that use the USPS for delivery of my purchase unless I have absolutely no other choice.

    Bob Neal (ad3bc5)

  119. EPWJ, at 89: the census data I just posted disagrees with you.

    It’s certainly true that *as a relative matter* cities are less important than they used to be. But that’s because other areas are growing faster, not because cities are shrinking.

    ————

    I live in a city, and I’ve previously lived in the suburbs. I think it’s absurd to claim that the ‘amenities are less available’ in the cities; the amenities are far more available to me in manhattan than they were when I lived in the suburbs of San Francisco.

    It’s certainly true that *costs* are rising, but that’s driven by the cost of land; housing prices didn’t fall in the inner bay area or in NYC during the housing bust, and are rising again. But: that’s a sign that people want to live here, otherwise demand wouldn’t be propping the prices up. :)

    ————

    As for your link at 96, i’m curious how he defines ‘inner city’. Your link describes “low-income areas of cities such as … New York” … but that’s hardly the city in its entirety. New York has some very, very low income areas and some very, very high income areas. Sure, there are very few jobs being created in Bed-Stuy; but there are an enormous number of new tech jobs in midtown and lower manhattan.

    One of the interesting developmental dynamics of the 2000s – and to some degree of the 1990s – is how certain industries (notably tech, but they aren’t alone) started moving back into cities like New York and San Francisco because they discovered that this is where their workers preferred to live. But it really depends on the city – Newark *isn’t* experiencing the same renaissance, for example.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  120. Patterico – i’m not sure if it’s subsidized by the general fund or if the USPS issues bonds; the USPS has never been a particular interest of mine. :)

    That said – I know you don’t particularly like Obama or his administration, but it seems unlikely to me that this was driven by budget politics largely because they’ve been talking about this *for years*. And it’s probably merited; apparently there’s been a precipitous drop in the volume of mail sent. One more point for the internet revolution!

    aphrael (efbf91)

  121. Mark – one thing worth noting with respect to college degrees and silicon valley is that per http://chronicle.com/article/Adults-With-College-Degrees-in/125995/ 43.9% of Santa Clara county residents and 43.58% of an Mateo county residents have college degrees. This places them near the top of the country in terms of percentage with college degrees … and it’s somewhat inevitable that the rate of growth is going to be slower among those already at the top. To get a 4% increase on top of 43.9% simply requires *more* than to get a 4% increase on top of, say, 20%.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  122. 117. During the nineties my engineering firm had offices in Atlanta and SF as well as WI. I was acquainted with the Eaton HR head via a health club, renting in Lake Country amongst the rich.

    She talked of repeated trips to SF to recruit. I told her Boston was, in my humble opinion, a far richer field to hoe.

    In SF we paid top dollar for total incompetence. True, a couple of the company’s best employees were minorities hiring on at that office but they hardly budged the average.

    Today CA is being showered with praise because they are “on track” to run a surplus for fiscal 2013 of $36 Million.

    A complete crock.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  123. Gary: it’s a real problem, hiring in the valley; there’s such a high demand that it’s hard to find good people, even though there are lots of good people around.

    aphrael (efbf91)

  124. This places them near the top of the country in terms of percentage with college degrees
    Comment by aphrael

    Today CA is being showered with praise because they are “on track” to run a surplus for fiscal 2013 of $36 Million. A complete crock.
    Comment by gary gulrud

    I’ve said in the past — and focusing on the pure politics of a place or people — that liberalism is analogous to a family headed by permissive, indulgent, pushover parents. That may be fine — or won’t necessarily guarantee a disaster — if the “kids” in the family (ie, the demographics of a society) at least are naturally talented, bright, resourceful, disciplined and reliable. But if the “kids” are less than enviable and ideal, and also overseen by sappy “parents” (ie, liberal politicians and clueless left-leaning government), then beware of potential big trouble brewing ahead. Or beware of a society that will very likely become moribund, mediocre and noticeably self-destructive, indefinitely or forever so.

    But least I start believing the notion that the “kids” are more important than the “parents,” I need to remember that a nation in South America of predominately European extraction, referring to Argentina, has a long history of stumbling and fumbling around, with continuous cycles of economic turmoil and, currently, high crime rates too. Or a situation that isn’t all too different from, say, an America city like Detroit.

    In that regards, lousy “parents” (ie, leftist thinking and politicians) will corrupt and ruin any family, regardless of whether the “kids” are good or not.

    Mark (7201a5)

  125. Comment by Mark (7201a5) — 2/7/2013 @ 10:43 am

    Didn’t you just describe the families of the two shooters at Columbine?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  126. 123. True enough, but that is why one should recruit at a source, not a destination. NYC and SF are destinations, talent arrives from around the world to ‘make it’ there.

    “You did not build that”, and indeed, both are even less builders of their future. NYC graduates less than 50% from high school.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  127. There was talk recently, that the Cali University system would not offer graduate school positions to residents, they were so eager for full tuition.

    But now that they’re rolling in cash I ‘spose they can educate their own.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  128. But…but….how will the Chancellors afford the next remodeling of their digs?

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  129. Didn’t you just describe the families of the two shooters at Columbine?

    Now that you mention it, I do sense that in the case of at least the parents of one of the two murderers, there’s evidence of a bit of possible left-leaning instincts (ie, “and other than THAT, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?!”—or a person “fiercely loyal” to the shooter).

    New York Times, David Brooks, May 15, 2004

    After I wrote a column a few weeks ago about the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, I got e-mail from Tom Klebold, the father of Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters. Tom objected to the column, but the striking thing about his note was that while acknowledging the horrible crime his son had committed, Tom was still fiercely loyal toward him.

    [The Kelbolds] feel certain of one thing. “Dylan did not do this because of the way he was raised,” Susan said. “He did it in contradiction to the way he was raised.”

    When they talk about the event, they discuss it as a suicide. They acknowledge but do not emphasize the murders their son committed. They also think about the signs they missed. “He was hopeless. We didn’t realize it until after the end,” Tom said. Susan added: “I think he suffered horribly before he died. For not seeing that, I will never forgive myself.”

    Typical claptrap more likely to come from the left than the right:

    “Society made me do it!!”

    Or: “He may have been horrible and ruthless, but he didn’t get enough hugs from his classmates and lacked well-funded support from the government early on in life!”

    Mark (7201a5)

  130. This comment is OT but I wanted to address Mark’s comment @11:24 am.

    Mark–Columbine was a terrible thing and clearly both of the shooters were very very sick and troubled young men–Harris much more than Kliebold. But I don’t pick up the same vibe from Kliebold’s parents’ statements above, or in their later statements that you do. Your “didn’t get enough hugs from classmates” and “lacked well funded government support” digs seem, well, cruel. I sense those parents are filled with remorse for not seeing/fully recognizing Dylan’s problems (including depression) or his dangerous association with Harris and stopping him. Frankly, I don’t think the shooting had much of anything to do with “left leaning instincts” or politics of any sort. THis is from a good article in Slate on the shooting written on the 5 year anniversary:

    Most Americans have reached one of two wrong conclusions about why they did it. The first conclusion is that the pair of supposed “Trench Coat Mafia outcasts” were taking revenge against the bullies who had made school miserable for them. The second conclusion is that the massacre was inexplicable: We can never understand what drove them to such horrific violence.
    But the FBI and its team of psychiatrists and psychologists have reached an entirely different conclusion. They believe they know why Harris and Klebold killed, and their explanation is both more reassuring and more troubling than our misguided conclusions.
    The school served as means to a grander end, to terrorize the entire nation by attacking a symbol of American life. Their slaughter was aimed at students and teachers, but it was not motivated by resentment of them in particular. Students and teachers were just convenient quarry, what Timothy McVeigh described as “collateral damage.”
    ….
    Harris and Klebold would have been dismayed that Columbine was dubbed the “worst school shooting in American history.” They set their sights on eclipsing the world’s greatest mass murderers, but the media never saw past the choice of venue. The school setting drove analysis in precisely the wrong direction.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/assessment/2004/04/the_depressive_and_the_psychopath.html

    The FBI has concluded that the carnage could have been worse. So much worse. I’ve long thought of Kliebold and Harris as a type of Leopold and Loeb duo of the late 20th century. Alone they were troubled and dangerous–but it was almost certain that it was the chemistry of the two of them together which made them killers–not bad parenting.

    elissa (adf165)

  131. I remember my mother getting an invitation to dinner in the morning mail delivery, dropping her reply in the mailbox downtown around lunch (small town, I admit) and the hostess getting the reply in the afternoon delivery the same day.

    Cut service, raise prices, provide poorer service than advertised … yes, that’s the American plan to grow your business. Next step, fasten onto the government’s teat and campaign that your competition needs to be taxed.

    htom (412a17)

  132. If it moves, tax it;
    If it keeps moving, regulate it;
    If it stops moving, subsidize it!

    askeptic (2bb434)

  133. aphrael,

    Sir, you continue to dodge my question to you.

    You appear to be frantic about the fact that postal service to rural Americans does not pay for itself, but would you be so kind as to inform us if there is a bureaucracy of the federal government that financially supports itself ?

    Thank you.

    Elephant Stone (35bf8a)

  134. But I don’t pick up the same vibe from Kliebold’s parents’ statements above, or in their later statements that you do. Your “didn’t get enough hugs from classmates” and “lacked well funded government support” digs seem, well, cruel.

    Elissa, I was being very flippant about the possible attitudes of the parents and certainly stereotyping the way that left-leaning people in general tend to treat criminality and felons. Regardless, I don’t believe that Dylan Klebold’s father and mother incubated their son’s deranged behavior.

    However, I’m not going to resist the idea that they’d have some blood on their hands if it could be determined their ideological/political biases are analogous to those of the people in the US military who’ve fostered the mentality of “I’m okay, you’re okay” and who pray at the altar of political correctness gone berserk. I’m referring to the people who made the environment so ripe and nurturing for military enlistee Nidal Hasan, that he was able to spew absurd, venomous anti-American opinions (in the open), right up until the day of the Fort Hood massacre.

    I do have a hunch — yea, it’s merely a hunch, and I could be wrong — that Kliebold’s parents possibly are similar to the types who are occupying the upper echelons of our Nidal-Hasan-ized US military.

    We do live in an age of insanity, in more ways than one. Speaking of which, I’ve just noticed Patterico’s newest blog entry on the political bent of the cop cop-killer in Los Angeles.

    Again, truly an age of insanity, of modern-day liberalism gone berserk.

    Mark (6d735c)


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