Archive

Federal employees


Dateline: Richard’s World

What’s Old Is New: Village Post Offices Coming Back

You probably know this. The United States Post Office is broke. Bad broke. Really bad broke. The USPS stands testament to what is wrong with today’s federal government … unionized government workers, defined pension plans, bloated workforce, non-performance based hiring and promotions, government trying to compete with the private sector … basically a government bureaucracy run amok.

I have long stated and believe that an entity such as FedEx or UPS or maybe a combination of both, could take over the USPS and it would be making a profit in less than a year. We’d have better service and probably lower rates for first class mail. But hey, even if we didn’t have lower rates for first class mail, at least our tax dollars wouldn’t be wasted to the tune of billions of dollars. Let the hate mail start flowing from the unionized government workers.

But we all know there aren’t enough politician around who will take the bold and necessary steps to eliminate the USPS. No offense to all my female friends … but they don’t have the balls.

So, I ran across this tidbit of info from the USPS Postmaster that was included in his recent speech about closing about 3,600 PO locations, primarily in small rural towns. He said, “The agency is looking to contract with about 2,500 small groceries, pharmacies, and other retailers to create ‘village post offices’.” He got my interest.

Granted, this alone will not save the USPS. It will probably delay the inevitable. But I have to give the Postmaster credit … not a bad idea.

When I was growing up on the southside of Atlanta back in the 50s, our PO was in the local grocery store … a Mayberry type grocery store. Yes, I’m that old. So I know what he is talking about when he speaks of ‘village post offices’.

At least these contracted Post Offices will be operated by business people. Your tax dollars will be going to a local business person who will then turn around and put it back into their local community. And many of these communities with closed POs will still have service … and probably better service.

Nope, I don’t think it will save the USPS but it’s a good idea. But who knows, maybe one good idea will lead to another good idea and another good idea.

Until next time,

Richard

Advertisements

If you don’t read Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut on a regular basis, you should.  His column from February 25th is a jewel. It’s entitled, Customers Rule. In this opinion piece, Steven’s main point is this: Why in the hell does the American public and media get themselves all worked up into a lather and put all of their focus on the occasional bad practices of the private sector but rarely focuses this same level of outrage on Bad Government. Here’s a great quote from Steven’s piece: “No matter how demonstrably bad the government may be, legislators, and even many regular folks, focus much outrage at the private sector – the only portion of society that works relatively efficiently and humanely.”

I wonder this, too, Steven. It’s a great question.

Yes, there are bad people in the business world and there are bad businesses, too.  Yes, there is no excuse for fraud and abuse and for the bad people who took Enron down. But where’s this same outrage over BAD government? Sure, JetBlue screwed up badly during the recent snow storms and left a bunch of people on airplanes for WAY too many hours. These people were abused for sure.  But JetBlue came right back and offered to make it right with customers and create a customer Bill of Rights. Now consider the abuse we take from the government, day in and day out? Steven asks a great question on this subject,  “When was the last time the government offered to reimburse you for being stuck on one of its highways or in one of its offices?” Can you say “NEVER!”

At least the majority of businesses listen to the customer. We can’t say that about government. But it’s about time the American public started demanding that government start listening to it.

As it stands now, the American public is sliding down the razor blade of life as long as we do not demand better service from our government officials.  There is nothing worse than energizing incompetents and this is what the American public is doing by not complaining more about our incompetent government.  Start complaining and holding government officials to the same standards we profess to hold business executives to.

As Steven states, “Government always seeks to stop, regulate, control, tax and put the kibosh on new ideas and entrepreneurship.” I couldn’t agree more. In business, one has to think to be successful. Not too many government officials know how to think. In our capitalist economy, if you know how to think, the rewards are sensational for those who can make things happen.

It ain’t brain surgery.

Richard


The blame game never works. It didn’t work when you were a kid, “Mom, he did it!”; “I didn’t do it, she did!” It doesn’t work in the business world. And it doesn’t work in the political world – contrary to the opinions of many politicans and bureaucrats.

It is this continuous game of blame that is contributing to the ruining our country within and making America look like fools around the world. I’m very tired of it and I know others are, too. Blaming others never works and only makes problems worse.

The blame game is played out in politics everyday – from local and state government in Georgia and other states to the U.S. and international affairs. It’s an epidemic. And the politicians who practice the blame game should stop.

Things go wrong sometimes. Best-laid plans sometimes fail. That’s life. Instead of blaming others and outside forces, we should look around and find out what went wrong. Find out what caused it. Is it because we made some wrong or inappropriate decisions, did not put in adequate effort or allowed some kind of complacency? Blaming others accomplishes nothing. This is taught at an early age … it ain’t brain surgery.

Politicians must realize that success cannot be achieved if there is continuous conflict. And all of them, especially the Republicans and Democrats, seem to always be in conflict. People don’t like it and the blame game is ruining this country.

Failure and disappointments are indications there are some elements that are demanding correction and improvement. If we can identify the cause, we are likely to put a permanent end to the troubling factor. This is the road to success, to overall perfection and improvement, to happiness and prosperity. If politicians would look in the mirror for possible causes of failures and disappointments and stop blaming others, they would likely make the people they represent a lot happier. And they’d definitely make the world a better place to live. It ain’t brain surgery.

Richard


Perhaps I am becoming a bit more cynical in my adult years but for the life of me I cannot understand why the American public insists on re-electing the same individuals year after year. One prime example is Massachusetts. I know Edward (Teddy) Kennedy has the legacy factor working for him but my goodness the man can no longer create logical sentences. He crowns himself as looking out for the rights of the poor and underprivileged through the use of taxpayer money. Remember it is always easier to spend OPM (other peoples money) on social programs. The Kennedy’s have enough money to fund most of the welfare programs in Massachusetts without using Federal dollars.

The upcoming election could result in a lot of changes among the Beltway Barons. Should the reigning party loose a majority in the house we may see an awakening not witnessed since Rip Van Winkle. Perhaps those currently in office will see the error of their ways and realize that rule 13 is not for sissies. (Rule 13 was popularized by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, simply stated it says “When put in charge, take charge.”) Those currently in charge have wimped out on their constituents. (Think illegal immigration.)

Our elected officials now spend a majority of their waking hours strategizing how they will be re-elected. The game has changed from being public servants to one of leeching off the public. My fear is for future generations of American citizens who may end up paying exorbitant tax rates just to fuel the never ending needs of big government. Regardless of the great job George Bush and company are doing fighting the war on terror the fact remains that government expenditures and personnel have increased at rates far greater than under the great spender … Bill Clinton.

The time is right to shake up our majority and make them work for our votes. Our fear should not be the mid-term election of 2006 but rather the Presidential election of 2008. Change may be painful but sometimes it is good.

Expert gardeners all know that we need to trim our plants on a regular basis if they are to grow properly and in the correct shape.

It ain’t Brain Surgery!

Terry


I have to admit. I stole the title of this post from an ABC World News segment. This week, they are doing segments on health care and what can be done to fix it. This one last night got my goat. It just amazes me how these supposedly intelligent “leaders” can’t do anything right it seems any more. Discussions on reforming health care have been going on now for years and years. Lawmakers and politicians and burueacrats want to make out like there is no easy solution. Truth of the matter is … it ain’t brain surgery to fix the health system.

As you’ll read in the article linked above, the answer has been right in front of their Pinocchio noses all along. Representatives and Senators are part of roughly 8 million federal employees and their families, from postal workers to the president, who are covered by insurance that is flexible, affordable and transportable from government job to government job.  The plan is so good that it oughta be offered to ALL Americans. Why is it not?

Among its advantages is the competition it creates between providers, which results in lower costs. The federal plan is made up of more than 280 health plans available to federal workers across the country.  In New York alone, a federal employee can choose from among 18 plans

Advocates said that competition keeps costs low: While the price of private insurance premiums is expected to rise 7.7 percent this year, the federal plan will go up just 1.8 percent.   Okay … stop right here and ponder the previous statement a minute. 7.7 percent rise versus 1.8 percent rise. This ain’t a brain surgery decision.

“It can show you what choice can do, what choice actually means, what intense competition and cost control can result in,” said Robert Moffit of the Heritage Foundation policy institute.

Hmmmmm …. choice to keep costs down. What a novel idea. Sounds like good old, pure American capitalism and market demand to me. 8 million of your fellow Americans get this choice because they work for the federal government. You don’t. Your congressman (or woman) gets this kind of coverage but you don’t. Don’t seem quite right does it?

Folks, this ain’t brain surgery. Write your representatives today and tell them you want the same health care choices they have.

Have a great day!

Richard & Terry