In the Gilroy Dispatch, Tuesday, May 31 under the headline
Another postal rate hike coming
– the inefficiency is clear,
you published an opinion piece by Raymond J. Keating, chief
economist for the Small Business and Enterpreneurship Council,
In the Gilroy Dispatch, Tuesday, May 31 under the headline “Another postal rate hike coming – the inefficiency is clear,” you published an opinion piece by Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business and Enterpreneurship Council, Washington, D.C.
I’m certain Raymond J. Keating will want to admonish his research staff since his recent column is so woefully short on up-to-date information that its inadequacies render it fatally flawed.
His recent commentary warns readers that “the Postal Service is on the prowl for more money” and he cites recent news reports that the USPS Board of Governors has asked management to begin work on a price-increase filing with the Postal Rate Commission.
But then he fails to mention, as every responsible news account did, that the money is needed to satisfy Congressionally-mandated escrow account requirements, not to meet postal operational needs, needs he goes on to decry.
Keating contends the economy has experienced “enormous productivity and efficiency gains” but he complains that “costs have just kept rising at the Postal Service.” That’s just not so. Even a cursory look at the publicity available financial statements would show that remarkably, expenses since 2001 have remained relatively constant. In 2001, expenses were $67.6 billion and when we closed the books on fiscal 2004, that number had dropped to $65.9 billion.
Keating’s claim of Postal “incompetence and inefficiency” are also off the mark – but don’t take it from the postal service. Here’s what the Government Accountability Office said: “Several of its key achievements in the last two years included debt reduction of $9.3 billion, net income of $7 billion, productivity gains of 4.2 percent, the elimination of accumulated deficits and reductions of about 45,000 in career employees.”
But the shame of it all is that Keating’s staff missed the big story: Because of all these advances, the Postal Service has become the small businessperson’s best friend.
The Postal Service has maintained stable rates since 2002 and the Postmaster General has pledged that not withstanding anything that happens this year, prices aren’t going up in 2005 either. That’s good news for the small business community.
Convenience? USPS created Click-N-Ship with small business in mind. No more time taken out of the day for a trip to the post office. It’s all there on usps.com. Print labels, get postage, order supplies and even take advantage of the convenience of carrier pickup – all without missing a minute with a customer.
Innovative? You bet. We continue to adapt to today’s changing needs, and on that point Mr. Keating complains that the Postal Service has asked Congress to give it more flexibility in the development of new products.
Despite its size, it might be said that the Postal Service is the quintessential small business with a local presence in more than 37,000 cities and towns across the nation. It is the only business in America to visit the 142 million addresses of its customers six days a week. Like any good small business, we know the value of stable prices, usable products and personal customer contact. And, we intend to keep doing it.
Penny L. Yates, Postmaster, Gilroy