Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to make America grind to a halt -- just raise the postal rates!

June 6th, 2007 (resent September 15th, 2007)

Dear Readers,

Years ago, when the post office started using ZIP CODES, they had a
slogan, which went as follows:

"Mail moves the country, and zip codes move the mail."

A few weeks ago, the United States Post Office raised its rates --
again. But this one was different. They snuck in dozens of subtle
changes which will greatly increase the cost of communication,
especially for the small user -- for whom the post office was created.

If you've tried to mail a CD-ROM or DVD, you've probably noticed the
rate went up. You are now charged because the mail piece is not
bendable. If your package is not very rectangular, you are charged
because it is squarish. If your package is more than a 1/4'' thick
(and they won't squeeze bubble-pack through the slot for you) you are
charged for that, as well. And you may well also be forced to
declare the letter a "small package" and pay even more. And after 3
1/2 ounces, it's a small package, period.

So for example, what used to cost $0.53 to mail (which was already a
rip-off) now costs at least $0.97 to $1.35, depending on which postal
clerk you get. (They seem to be as unsure of the changes as the
public is unaware of them.)

And it gets worse. Have you seen what's happened to Registered Mail
and Certified Mail rates? They've gone through the roof! Increases
of around 100% suddenly occurred in both cases!

And these are just some of the changes. The "forever stamp" is a
economic boondoggle, and the Postmaster General sounded like Alberto
Gonzales trying to explain the firings of the U.S. Attorneys when
asked about it.

The same day I discovered that most of my small software company's
domestic mailing packaging was going to cost about double to mail, I
received a CD-ROM from the post office itself, so I can set up a
"post office at home."

It cost the post office $0.17 to mail me that CD-ROM!


Are you getting the picture? Small businesses are PURPOSEFULLY being
crushed. And the individual is being robbed. This is the very kind
of HIGHWAY ROBBERY government was invented to STOP, not INSTITUTIONALIZE!

When I got home from the post office, Postmaster General John Potter
was on CSPAN, speaking before the National Press Club. He made it
clear that the post office considers the individual to be nothing but
a destination for corporate junk mail.

He also made it clear that to him, the "small business user" is a
company that sends at least 20,000 pieces of mail at a time!

Are you a non-profit organization which does not want to use bulk
mail, because of the inconvenience, or the cost of set-up, or the
fact that you only have a few dozen subscribers to your
newsletter? The post office doesn't want to serve you. Are you an
individual, mailing letters of complaint to the government or to a
corporation for a wrong you've been done? Expect it to cost you
vastly more than it used to. Do you want to write to your
Congressperson? Take out a bank loan.

But if you are a large postal user, the postmaster general has
promised not just to keep your costs down, but to keep their increase
in rates (for the bulk user) ZERO by increasing efficiency throughout
the post office.

That means, by charging an arm and a leg for the individual and small user.

But it gets even worse. The post office is also in the business of
selling off parts of its business to other businesses because, well,
they see it as good business. But it isn't good business for the
post office's customers -- you and me.

Take registered mail, for example. Why did they raise the rates to
$9.50, an exorbitant rip-off? Well, my guess is that they've lost a
lot of that business, over the years, to Fed-Ex and other
overnighters, because those company's two-day and three-day services
are quite competitive and very safe. But they're not bonded, with
federal liability for stealing or losing your mail, so really, how
can those services compete with a service that has to deliver to
everyone everyday anyway, for mailing important documents? The
answer is: The post office HELPS Fed-Ex, UPS, and all the other

That leaves the post office holding the (registered mail) bag.

When postal rates are up for review, big business can send hundreds
of lawyers to "prove" to the post office toadies that it costs vastly
less to mail in bulk, and therefore, bulk mailers should only pay
that "fair share." Never mind that the whole institution was built
on the backs of the individual's penny-postcards. And the individual
has NO opportunity to send even ONE lawyer in, to explain that BY
LAW, it's NOT just the raw, calculated efficiency of mailing any
specific piece that should determine the postal rate. You bet junk
mail should pay for first class mail. Especially right now, when new
robotic eyes and sorters are making it EASIER AND EASIER to sort what
was previously impossible to sort except by hand.

The post office undoubtedly knows that new technology will make it
quite irrelevant if the writing is upside down on a square
envelope. Computer vision and robotic arms can straighten it out
effortlessly and cheaply.

But right now, the equipment they have isn't so good at that (because
they didn't insist on better equipment from the equipment
manufacturers) and so the rate structures are being set to reflect
that, even though it's the post office's problem, and not the
consumer's fault. CD-ROMs, for example, will NEVER efficiently pack
into a rectangular envelope!

But it's even worse.

The post office is actively trying to get rid of its service as a
tool of subversives.

The post office was created as a TOOL OF SUBVERSIVES, so they could
communicate without the fear of "big brother" (he wasn't called that,
back then) watching them. That's why BIG BROTHER is STILL NOT
ALLOWED to open your first class mail. But the Postmaster General
considers the ideal situation to be where a bar code on every letter
will tell where it came from, who it's going to, what service it's
traveling by, when it entered the system, and so on. Total control,
supposedly so they'll get IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK about lost or delayed mail.

But that way, they'll also know who your friends are.

Welcome to the biggest rip-off in history. The Post Office operates
under fundamental principles set out by the founding fathers. With
this latest postal increase, many of those principles are being
trampled right before our eyes -- THIS generation will be the one
when they'll say "the Internet destroyed the post office."

But it won't really be the Internet's fault at all. It will be
Porter's. He should be fired, and the notification should be sent
via email so it gets there quickly and cheaply!

Ace Hoffman
PO Box 1936
Carlsbad, CA 92018