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Can Booze Save the US Postal Service?

Legal alcohol delivery could make the U.S. Postal Service $50 million per year


 

With the U.S. Postal Service reporting a $740 million loss for the third quarter of 2013, mail officials are scrambling to figure out how to make the agency profitable. 

A ingredient to the recovery could be alcohol.

According to the Huffington Post, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recently pitched an idea to allow the U.S. Postal Service to deliver beer, wine and spirits directly from wineries, breweries and distilleries straight to your doorstep. 

"U.S. law currently prevents the Postal Service from mailing alcohol," the Huffington Post reported. "The Postal Service even asks customers to cover any alcohol-related logos or labels if they choose to use an alcoholic beverage box for shipping."

Donahoe claims that adding alcohol delivery could raise $50 million per year.

But while the plan could generate dollars in theory, many smaller businesses like craft and microbreweries would likely not have the staff, resources and inventory to meet the demand of alcohol delivery service.

Additionally, local alcohol vendors could certainly take a hit if residents start turning to the mailman instead of making a beer run on their own.  

Do you think Congress should allow the U.S Postal Service to deliver alcohol? Would you use the service? Tell us in the comments!

Bubbasixpack August 22, 2013 at 02:04 PM
It might also cut down on drunk driving if boozers could get it delivered, but how would we keep junior from ordering?
Dave Robertson August 22, 2013 at 03:05 PM
I think the postal service's deficit is quite a bit bigger than $50M a year - it would be a drop in the bucket (no pun intended).
Amanda Montgomery August 22, 2013 at 04:43 PM
The USPS is not broke, and works just fine. The reason they're in dire financial straits is because the GOP wants them to be and manufactured yet another crisis by placing unique and impossible conditions on their pension program that makes it LOOK like they're not performing well. That said, anything to help them overcome their smaller but real deficit would be, I think, a very good thing. http://www.thenation.com/blog/174269/petition-just-might-save-post-office#axzz2cjT78EHw
Dave Robertson August 22, 2013 at 07:04 PM
They should never have been set apart as an independent unit within the Federal government, but as it currently stands, they certainly do not have funds to spare. The problem with any public pension plan is to outline it fairly. Regardless, at some point, the Federal government will take us USPS and its funding back into the "big picture" - just like most countries do. But shipping booze??? In glass bottles? Sounds like more problems that it's worth. It couldn't be cheap for the senders either - 1L=1Kg or approximately ... 1quart=2.2lbs.
Amanda Montgomery August 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM
The reason that members of Congress are trying to break the USPS is not to bring them back into the fold of the government at large, but to destroy them and replace them with private industry, which is completely insane, since clearly they are not profitable. In their current state, they don't HAVE to be profitable - they don't have shareholders - they need to just collect enough to pay their workers and deliver the mail. Which is what they were doing, before Congress carpet bombed their finances and then said "see? they can't handle money!" Insane.
Dave Robertson August 23, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Amanda: The Post office can never be profitable as it is mandated to pick up and deliver virtually anywhere. I can't imagine that anyone would want to privatize that. Perhaps part of it - but not the whole thing. I do know that the USPS has an unusually large amount of staff - and has resisted any automation for years. And they do have to be profitable now - since they are separate from the Federal Govt. With all those salaries and pensions, they are likely very inefficient. Most of us just get SS when we retire (approx $1100 a month). PO employees get a lot more in pensions. The whole issue of pensions in any government entity is the bigger problem. It's a double standard. We have to save and take SS to retire and most Fed, State, and City workers get pensions for a whole lot more. So, structurally the USPS is insolvent and will remain so. We have to have a postal system, so eventually someone will have to figure a way to make it work. But half the "public sector" problems I read about - at any level - involve pension liabilities at some level. All Americans should be in the same system with the same scale of benefits. In about 10-20 years - all this unfunded pension liability will toast all governments. We don't have enough money anywhere to bail all that out.
Amanda Montgomery August 24, 2013 at 02:35 PM
You raise perfectly valid points, and of course there are issues of waste that should be addressed in virtually any business, and the pension system of most public offices is a complete and utter mess. That said, none of that will fix the current problems without Congress lifting the obscene requirements they saddled the USPS with: http://business.time.com/2013/02/07/how-healthcare-expenses-cost-us-saturday-postal-delivery/ As for the idea the private interests are not behind the whole thing, with a desire to run the USPS into the ground to replace with something private, please consider slimeball Congressman Darrell Issa: http://www.thenation.com/blog/173823/congress-refuses-allow-usps-fix-its-budget-woes#
Dave Robertson August 24, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Darrell Issa is a freak who should not be taken seriously - certainly not on this issue. The bottom line is that we NEED a mail system - unless we want to become completely a 3rd world nation. So we streamline the expenditure (especially pension) and system. The taxpayers can pick up the tab for the rest. Oh yes, and how about raising the cost of a stamp? The private carriers (UPS and FedEx) are raising their rates like gangbusters - but the USPS rarely does.
Bubbasixpack August 24, 2013 at 08:00 PM
The problem is that the post office is required to forward fund it's pension, unlike other entities. This means they have to have the money now, not in the future when they'll have the cash flow to help. No other program runs this way, all should. This is why Armageddon is now for them, as opposed to later for everyone else
Amanda Montgomery August 24, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Dave: glad we agree on Issa, he's a total assclown. And I agree we need a mail system, and I'm good with streamlining. It looks to me like we agree on just about everything, I was just trying to point out that it's not broke, or broken, but that Issa and his ilk are messing with it by forcing them to pay 75 years worth of pension funds in 10, which is not good planning, it's a poison pill they're using to try to take it down, not fix it. That's all. :)
Dave Robertson August 25, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Amanda: Ain't politics grand! I don't believe in party affiliation, so I won't go there - but I find that groups of politicians get these ideas to further their political goals by destruction of sorely needed institutions. Now all organizations are inefficient, but I suspect that our federal government runs at 20% efficiency (instead of a more normal 50%) simply because of the games they play. When did they forget the term "public servant!"

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