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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2013/ 2 Adar, 5773

The cut's in the mail

By Tom Purcell




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's Nixon's fault.

I speak of the financial woes of the U.S. Postal Service, and the news last week that its hopes to cut Saturday mail delivery to save a few billion dollars a year.

As it goes, President Nixon, tired of strikes by then-government postal workers, signed the Postal Reorganization Act into law in 1971. It established the Postal Service as a quasi-private organization required to pay its own bills with revenue it earns selling stamps.

To the Postal Service's credit, it has not, for the most part, needed taxpayer money to fund its operations. Taxpayer money, says PBS, "is only used in some cases to pay for mailing voter materials to disabled and overseas Americans."

But thanks to technology, the postal business isn't as lucrative as it used to be. Few people write and mail letters anymore. I used to spend three hours each months writing checks to pay my bills and dropping 15 or so payments in the mail — now I do online checking in about three minutes and the funds are transferred electronically, free of charge.

Annual USPS revenue, which peaked in 2008 at $75 billion, is down to $65 billion and will continue to decline as fewer people use the mail. Our struggling economy also is doing the Postal Service no favors.

Compounding USPS woes is a congressional mandate from 2006. It requires the Postal Service, through 2016, to make an annual pre-payment of $5.5 billion into a fund to cover health-care costs for future retired employees.

Unlike Medicare, Social Security or any other government organization, the Postal Service is required to put money into a real "lock box" to fund future liabilities — rather than let future taxpayers worry about covering the costs.

The $5.5 billion pre-payment, however, only accounts for about a third of the Postal Service's $15.9 billion in losses in fiscal 2012. No matter how you look at it, the Postal Service is bleeding red ink by the tanker load.

That doesn't bode well for the 550,000 people employed by the Postal Service — America's third largest employer, in fact, behind the federal government and Wal-Mart. And I feel sorry for these folks.

It's not their fault the Postal Service is unable to adapt to modern times — unable to find ways to sell new products and services to post offices' nearly 1 billion annual visitors.

Most postal employees are crushed under the weight of outmoded business processes and bureaucratic inanities. They lack the organizational support to serve customers as well as they would like. They are unable to help their employer grow and thrive.

But here is the real problem postal workers face: Because the Postal Service is technically an independent entity, the federal government won't extend it billions in printed money to cover its budget shortfalls — as our government does with every other government organization.

If only the Postal Service were still a full government organization, it wouldn't have a worry in the world — for the moment, anyhow.

Consider: Our government's annual deficit has been in the $1 trillion range for five years running. What's another $15.9 billion? All we'd have to do is print another $15.9 billion to cover the Postal Service's shortfall.

Actually, we'd only have to print another $10.4 billion. Because if the Postal Service were fully a government organization, nobody in Congress would make it put aside $5.5 billion a year to fund the needs of future retirees.

There's a lot of finger-pointing going on to explain the Postal Service's budget woes. I say blame it all on Nixon.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR Contributor Tom Purcell, author of 'Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood,' is a nationally syndicated columnist. Comment by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


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© 2013, Tom Purcell

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