The US Postal Service (USPS) is about as outdated a "company" as you can find. It is also a perfect case study in the difficult choices facing us today.
"Unions are bad for business, how can you compete with that burden" could be said.
"A ton of Real Estate to sell off- but a horrible market" could be said.
"Gov't vs Private sector- let them fail" OR "Gov't vs Private sector- you have to subsidize" could be said.
The chase is this- decisions must be made from time to time in business, which although are the best choices- might not be what people want to hear. The best course of action, in my opinion, for the USPS is to hold a hard line and build for a better day.
Their pension issues were underfunded and this was addressed back in a 2006 bill, but there is a current bill HR 1351 looking to revise "how the numbers are calculated" to take pressure off what is being put aside for benefit obligations. The minute you do that- you undo what has been done and expose the taxpayer to taking on the pension obligations at some point if you can not pay for it, while in the meantime you do not make the necessary difficult choices to revise/revamp your business into a healthy one. Why would you? There is no pressure to do it.
After HR 1351 gets defeated, the USPS should take a real hard look at its "business" model and get itself on the path to a better way. You have postal workers that worker 6 hr days, that won't do more than they do, that have protection by union rules, that are seniority based- so they get pick of the litter for whether they work or not, you have WAY to many locations, a limited revenue stream of stamps and services, and a decreasing trend of maill flow given email/texting/skype options.
The USPS has a place in our world. We deserve to get our letters, and it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to do it. But make the tough choices and "fix it" already. In 2012- pensions have no place in government or business at any level. Think about it- at some point you will asking the consumer to pay for ccurrent and former employees- how can you sustain that and compete? The answer is you can't, which means you will fail. It is an impossibility, not a choice. The USPS should buy out their long-term employees and get them out and replace them with a newer crew who is willing to shift culture into a longer day, longer route, 401K with matching plan, etc. As this takes hold and you reduce teh number of locations- the USPS could complete with regard to profitiability.
Would I support a little money for them to get them through this transition? Yes.
Would I support giving them an endless flow of cash as they run a horribly outdated business model into the ground? Absolutely not.
The end game will be theirs to decide- fix it or end it. I would much rather fix is, as it is a great service and part of the history of America. They have been a core staple of what we have known, and how we have functioned. Do I think the brightest day is past? Probably. But I do think they could still serve a role and help themselves become independent again.