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ECONOMICS REPORT - The United States Postal Service Warns of Default

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Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, left, speaks to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington, Tuesday. Next to him is John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, left, speaks to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington, Tuesday. Next to him is John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management.

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

The United States Postal Service has a history as long as the nation's. The Second Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General in seventeen seventy-five.

This week, current Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe brought an urgent message to a Senate committee. He told the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the Post Office could need more money by the end of the month.

PATRICK DONAHOE: " Without the enactment of comprehensive legislation by September 30, the Postal Service will default on a mandated 5.5 billion dollar payment to the Treasury to pre-fund retirement retiree health benefits. Our situation is urgent."

The Postal Service had losses of almost six billion dollars for the nine-month period ending in June. That could grow to ten billion for the year. Part of the deficit is a five and a half billion dollar payment to the federal retirement plan for postal workers.

Mister Donahoe is asking Congress to approve huge changes to the Postal Service. He wants to cut over one hundred thousand workers, close thousands of post offices and end Saturday mail delivery. He says the service needs to operate more like a business.

PATRICK DONAHOE: "As a self-financing entity that depends on the sale of postage for its revenues, the Postal Service requires the ability to operate more as a business does."

The Postal Service is responsible for its own financing and not part of the federal budget. But it does take part in federal retirement and health plans. It says it has paid too much to federal retirement plans and wants at least seven billion dollars returned.

Mister Donahoe also wants to pull the Postal Service out of the federal benefit plans. He says the service's proposals could cut twenty billion dollars by twenty fifteen and return it to profitability.

John Berry is director of the federal Office of Personnel Management which supervises federal retirement and health plans. He said the Obama administration would soon announce its own plan.

At the hearing, Senator Susan Collins criticized the administration for not having a plan already. Leaders of two labor unions representing postal workers have also criticized the proposed cuts.

The United States Postal Service has over five hundred sixty thousand employees.  It reported revenue of sixty-seven billion dollars last year -- more than either of its biggest private competitors, FedEx or UPS.  But as the amount of physical mail decreases, so too have the earnings from Postal Service operations.

Committee member Joseph Lieberman noted the need for change.

JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: "The US Postal Service is not an 18th Century relic. It is a great 21st Century national asset. But times are changing rapidly now, and so too must the Postal Service if it is to survive."

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. I'm Mario Ritter.

网友的学习评论(10条):
作者:sunshine
语速适中 还好 很好
作者:lvjiaying1984
In china, because of the rapid development of the things that are sold on line, the postal service has never been more important. There are many companies delivering things from where the things are to the person who buys it from the Internet. Some of these companies belong to the country whereas some companies belong to individuals. Nowadays, the selling of things through the Internet has never been more popular and will even prevail throughout the country.
作者:lvjiaying1984
It is quite easy to buy things in the websites selling things which are cheaper and better than those if you buy something in your local supermarket. You scan the website, find the things you want to buy, and click and then provide the money needed for the things you want to buy and after several days, the things you buy through the Internet will be sent to your home when you should signature the name showing that you have got the things you buy on the website.
作者:lvjiaying1984
But it is quite hard to check out whether the things you buy on the websites are true or false. Only few of the on-line shops sell true things whereas thousands upon thousands of on-line shops sell false things. When you buy something, if you want to buy the true things, just click the button "true things assured", and the shops selling true things will appear on the page where you can buy true things. You might think whether it is possible for a shop to declare that his things
作者:lvjiaying1984
are true whereas they are not. No one would do this, because if it is found by the website, great loses of money will occur to make the on-line shops know that it is not worth doing this again. Whenever I buy things from the website, the first thing I do is to circle the button "true things assured" and then I will find what things are proper for me. Among all the companies delivering things, some of them don't allow the receivers to open the pack and check to see whether
作者:lvjiaying1984
there is anything wrong with the things that they bought. But some companies allow you to open the pack before you sign up your name. The reason why some companies denied you to open the pack is because that they don't want the receivers to see what has happened inside the box, like broken or something like that. But after all, on-line shops provide us with a steady supply of good things for a whole. More and more people have plunged into the activity to buy things through the Internet
作者:lvjiaying1984
which will promote the development of the companies delivering things.
作者:Ricardo
It is regrettable to call the postal service a relic. Think about the past when you received the parcel from your grandma from afar. You call it a relic. NO. If the US postal service does need to operate more as a business does, so be it! As long as it could return to profitability. As fas as the average Americans are concerned, they, especially the senior ones, would never trade their beloved postal service for anything else in this world.
作者:smartguy
with the fast development of the E-commerce, the logistic has also gain its great opportunity for another blossom. however, the state-asset company in China of postal service are on the different tracks from the Usa.
作者:smartguy
China postal service can earn billions of Yuan without any comptetive pressure from rivals such as YUAN TONG,and etc.so ,it didn't have to worry about the deficit because the goverment will gave them a huge compensation if they are in deficit and didn't make a single penny. whereas in America, everthing is makert-ortinentd, all the bussiness have to worry about their survivals ,state-owned or private .
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