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As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

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As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Old 03-14-18, 08:38 AM
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As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshe.../#b68aaee40ca1

I figured this could easily go political, so I'm posting this here. The article is from November, but I couldn't find any mention of it here.

This drives me insane...I can't even begin to imagine who thought this would be a good idea.

I found this article while reading a story about people receiving unwanted, free items from sellers in China for Amazon reviews.
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Old 03-15-18, 06:49 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

It says:

International postage rates for incoming packages are set by a U.N. agency called the United Postal Union (UPU). This is a body that was established in 1874 -- subsequently being absorbed into the U.N. -- that is currently made up of 192 countries which meets every four years to revise its policy and set new terminal fees, with each country getting one vote a piece. While the voting system of the UPU is egalitarian, the shipping rates that it sets are not. According to Nancy Sparks of FedEx Express (via eCommerceBytes.com), the rate structure of the UPU is a system where the “haves pay the have-nots.” Essentially, countries that it deems to be poorer or less developed pay less for shipping to countries that are categorized as being richer. So someone shipping from, say, China, will pay significantly less to ship to a country like the U.S. than an American shipper will pay to send that same package to China.

I can understand this. I don't necessarily think it's a good idea. But I can certainly understand it.

It also says:

The post office is losing money on every package it delivers from China — costs it has to pass on to its own American customers, not to mention U.S. taxpayers.

This is true. But at least the U.S. government has an excuse for losing this money - the treaty that was signed a very long time ago.

By comparison, the U.S. government has no excuse for this other example of losing money. They can't blame this one on an international treaty. This is from a different article. I'd love to hear their excuse to try to justify this:

Spoiler:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/a...rticle/2503832

Amtrak lost $800M on cheeseburgers and soda

August 2, 2012

Taxpayers lost $833 million over the last decade on the food and beverages supplied by Amtrak, which managed to spend $1.70 for every dollar that received in revenue.

“Over the last ten years, these losses have amounted to a staggering $833.8 million,” said Rep.John Mica, R-Fla., in a statement previewing a House hearing today. “It costs passengers $9.50 to buy a cheeseburger on Amtrak, but the cost to taxpayers is $16.15. Riders pay $2.00 for a Pepsi, but each of these sodas costs the U.S. Treasury $3.40.

"Amazon.com is currently selling 24-packs of 12 ounce Pepsi cans for $8.94 -- which averages to about 75 cents per can."

Amtrak President Joe Boardman tried encourage House investigators by telling them that last year's losses represent an improvement over previous years. "Our ongoing programs have certainly delivered measurable financial efficiencies," Boardman told Congress in his written testimony today. "In 2006, our food and beverage service recovered 49 percent of their costs. In 2011, these services recovered 59 percent of their costs," he testified.

The food service is legally obligated to break even, but Amtrak lost $84 million just last year. “The rail service’s food and beverage operation has 1,234 employees, and taking into account Amtrak’s $84.5 million loss last year, that’s $68, 476 per employee," Mica said.


What is the U.S. government's excuse for paying $3.40 per serving of soda when amazon sells it for 75 cents? I would love to hear their excuse for that one.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:56 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

$8.94 / 24 is actually 37 cents which is probably closer to what a can of pop costs at places like Target and Walmart too.
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Old 03-15-18, 10:06 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

yeah, this is strange. There's an chinese version of amazon that I buy stuff from every now and then, and shipping is frequently free. It's crazy, you see a lot of that free shipped stuff from china on ebay too. Sure, it takes a month+ to get here, and if it's clothes it rarely fits but still, FREE SHIPPING FROM CHINA!
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Old 03-15-18, 10:17 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
yeah, this is strange. There's an chinese version of amazon that I buy stuff from every now and then, and shipping is frequently free. It's crazy, you see a lot of that free shipped stuff from china on ebay too. Sure, it takes a month+ to get here, and if it's clothes it rarely fits but still, FREE SHIPPING FROM CHINA!
And the clothes self-destruct should you choose not to accept them.
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Old 03-15-18, 10:18 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
And the clothes self-destruct should you choose not to accept them.
I tell you, their sizing is crazy small over there. I normally wear large shorts, but in chinese sizes I need XXL. It makes me sad every time I put them on
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Old 03-15-18, 10:56 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
I tell you, their sizing is crazy small over there. I normally wear large shorts, but in chinese sizes I need XXL. It makes me sad every time I put them on
Or you could look at the bright side and feel amazingly superior!

Just think what an order of jock straps could accomplish.

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Old 03-15-18, 11:22 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
yeah, this is strange. There's an chinese version of amazon that I buy stuff from every now and then, and shipping is frequently free. It's crazy, you see a lot of that free shipped stuff from china on ebay too. Sure, it takes a month+ to get here, and if it's clothes it rarely fits but still, FREE SHIPPING FROM CHINA!
Alibaba?
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Old 03-15-18, 11:29 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Or you could look at the bright side and feel amazingly superior!

Just think what an order of jock straps could accomplish.

Actually those were jockstraps! Only $3 for the same jock that goes for $15 here in the US! I bought 6!
Originally Posted by D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB) View Post
Alibaba?
Aliexpress ... i'll have to check out alibaba . *edit, ok I don't get alibaba. Looks like it's meant for retailers to buy multiples? There doesn't seem to be a "buy 1" option on most stuff.

Last edited by joeblow69; 03-15-18 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 03-16-18, 07:56 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
I can understand this. I don't necessarily think it's a good idea. But I can certainly understand it.
The haves versus the have-nots. Isn't China's GDP close to passing ours, if they haven't already done so? How is China a have-not?
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Old 03-16-18, 09:58 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by Mikael79 View Post
The haves versus the have-nots. Isn't China's GDP close to passing ours, if they haven't already done so? How is China a have-not?
Yeah, when this thing went into effect years ago China was a have-not. Now they are the second largest economy. I have no idea if and how their subsidized postage rates can be changed though but they certainly don't deserve it anymore.
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Old 03-16-18, 10:36 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
Actually those were jockstraps! Only $3 for the same jock that goes for $15 here in the US! I bought 6!

Aliexpress ... i'll have to check out alibaba . *edit, ok I don't get alibaba. Looks like it's meant for retailers to buy multiples? There doesn't seem to be a "buy 1" option on most stuff.
Perhaps I mixed up the names. But I had some friends that used them and were pretty happy, so long as you realize you are most likely getting knock offs or seconds. One friend buys Legos at a third the price of usa. He says many are knock offs but still work fine.
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Old 03-16-18, 10:42 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

In terms of the Amtrak thing, it might be one of those "government procurement is weird" situations. There are all sorts of hoops and checks that need to be followed because we've put regulations in place to make sure some procurement officer somewhere isn't giving a contract to his cousin, or otherwise enriching himself. For the longest time (it changed around 10-15 years ago), government employees weren't even allowed to spend the airline miles they accumulated if they travelled for work. So it may be a situation where the folks at Amtrak want to order off Amazon, but regulations require that they post an RFQ and contract with whichever entity submits the lowest bid.

Does it make sense? From one point of view, no. From another point of view, we spend more than we "should" to make sure we have lots of transparency and lots of checks and balances and redundancies in place so that it's harder to embezzle or misappropriate taxpayer money.

It might also be the case that this is one of those weird accounting stories like the $57 Pentagon hammers and toilet seats from the 90s. It turned out that there were some fixed overhead costs that were being added to every contract on a straight dollar basis, so the hammer actually cost $7 and had $50 of overhead built in, but Humvees also had that same $50 overhead built in. In reality, the overhead is a lot higher on the Humvees and lower on the hammer, but rather than spend time and money try to calculate out an accurate overhead amount for each purchase, they just averaged it out for everything.
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Old 03-16-18, 11:13 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

The USPS is a failing organization, bloated with US taxpayer dollars, and needs to be decommissioned and a new organization created. In the meantime, hire FedEx and UPS to deliver mail.
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Old 03-16-18, 11:41 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Counterpoint: the amount of money that FedEx or UPS would charge to deliver mail to rural America would make you wish you had the "bloated" USPS back.
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Old 03-16-18, 11:48 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Any actual solution to the US postage cost issue would have to include outlawing "junk" mail. Pretty much the only reason carriers have to deliver mail to virtually every mailbox on a daily basis.

Last edited by hdnmickey; 03-16-18 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 03-16-18, 11:50 AM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Counterpoint: the amount of money that FedEx or UPS would charge to deliver mail to rural America would make you wish you had the "bloated" USPS back.
Further counterpoint, USPS makes money. From their annual report:

Expenses for retiree health benefits and workers compensation declined by $4.8 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively, but were partially offset by $2.4 billion in higher expenses for the amortization of unfunded retirement benefits, the result of statutory mandates effective for 2017 and changes in Office of Personnel Management actuarial assumptions. Expenses for compensation and benefits and transportation also added $667 million and $246 million, respectively, to 2017 operating expenses.

The Postal Service reported a net loss for the year of $2.7 billion, a decrease in net loss of $2.8 billion compared to 2016. Of this decline in net loss, $2.4 billion was the result of changes in interest rates, outside of management's control, that reduced workers’ compensation expense compared to last year.
Without the congress mandated retirement benefits funding, the USPS would have showed a profit. Not bad for a government agency.
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Old 03-16-18, 12:25 PM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
The USPS is a failing organization, bloated with US taxpayer dollars, and needs to be decommissioned and a new organization created. In the meantime, hire FedEx and UPS to deliver mail.
You can send a physical item to the other side of the country in 3 days for less than 50 cents. That's pretty fucking impressive in 2018.

And I've had far fewer problems with USPS than I have with Fed Ex or UPS.
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Old 03-16-18, 01:15 PM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
Counterpoint: the amount of money that FedEx or UPS would charge to deliver mail to rural America would make you wish you had the "bloated" USPS back.
Yep, this.

Originally Posted by Draven View Post

And I've had far fewer problems with USPS than I have with Fed Ex or UPS.
Me too, UPS and Fed Ex royally suck, I'm very glad I don't have to deal with them for my regular mail.
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Old 03-16-18, 01:51 PM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by hdnmickey View Post
Any actual solution to the US postage cost issue would have to include outlawing "junk" mail. Pretty much the only reason carriers have to deliver mail to virtually every mailbox on a daily basis.
Junk mail advertisers are the biggest customer of the USPS.
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Old 03-16-18, 03:06 PM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Junk mail advertisers are the biggest customer of the USPS.
True, from the perspective of volume. But the point is what will have to change eventually.

And just for the record, others must have much better postal workers and far worse UPS/Fedex drivers in their area than I do. Most people in my neighborhood (we have a site where we share experiences) have far more issues with the USPS than UPS/Fedex. The USPS is far slower and incorrectly delivers mail far more often than the other services.

Last edited by hdnmickey; 03-16-18 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 03-16-18, 06:44 PM
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Re: As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

Originally Posted by PerryD View Post
$8.94 / 24 is actually 37 cents which is probably closer to what a can of pop costs at places like Target and Walmart too.

I should have noticed that, but I was too lazy to check their math.

.

Originally Posted by Mikael79 View Post
The haves versus the have-nots. Isn't China's GDP close to passing ours, if they haven't already done so? How is China a have-not?

China's GDP is second to ours, but it's not that close. And on a per capita basis, they are still way, way poorer than us.


.

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
In terms of the Amtrak thing, it might be one of those "government procurement is weird" situations. There are all sorts of hoops and checks that need to be followed because we've put regulations in place to make sure some procurement officer somewhere isn't giving a contract to his cousin, or otherwise enriching himself. For the longest time (it changed around 10-15 years ago), government employees weren't even allowed to spend the airline miles they accumulated if they travelled for work. So it may be a situation where the folks at Amtrak want to order off Amazon, but regulations require that they post an RFQ and contract with whichever entity submits the lowest bid.

Does it make sense? From one point of view, no. From another point of view, we spend more than we "should" to make sure we have lots of transparency and lots of checks and balances and redundancies in place so that it's harder to embezzle or misappropriate taxpayer money.

It might also be the case that this is one of those weird accounting stories like the $57 Pentagon hammers and toilet seats from the 90s. It turned out that there were some fixed overhead costs that were being added to every contract on a straight dollar basis, so the hammer actually cost $7 and had $50 of overhead built in, but Humvees also had that same $50 overhead built in. In reality, the overhead is a lot higher on the Humvees and lower on the hammer, but rather than spend time and money try to calculate out an accurate overhead amount for each purchase, they just averaged it out for everything.

You may very well be correct on one or the other of those two things, or perhaps even both.
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