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Saturday, February 01, 2014

OTP - Feb 2014: Politics remains a hurdle for immigration reform

Yet Obama might find his best-chance legislative compromise in an issue that lately has seemed to be on life support: an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

Curiously, immigration was an issue the president barely mentioned in this year’s speech. Maybe he does not want to interfere with those Republicans who actually agree with him on the need to bring the nation’s millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

Bitter Mouse Posted: February 01, 2014 at 04:01 PM | 3524 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   101. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4651052)
Flip
   102. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:26 PM (#4651053)
I'm Irish-American, so basically my more immediate ancestors all spoke English


That's debatable.
   103. spike Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:26 PM (#4651054)
Great, now a quasi governmental entity can get into the lending area where certainly there have been no predatory abuses by the government at all ... just like the present student loan debacle.

Very small short term loans, not big long term ones, and it's been a success in other countries where it's been tried. The PO used to do many of the proposed functions prior to banks squeezing them out. But you're probably right, leaving it to the market has been a rousing success for the job creating class and that's too important to risk.
   104. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4651055)
BTW, I'm sure folks here who are keeping an eye out for racist campaign tactics will (eventually) have something to say about Louisiana Democrats darkening Bobby Jindal's photo in their campaign literature directed at the Cajun population.

How's that? I think the Cajun southern part of the state, now and historically, has been much less intense in its racism than the northern Redneck part. For one thing, "dark" people from Mediterranean countries and Moorish Spain and the African Carribean came to Louisiana long ago. Jindal's ethnicity or base nationality is the least of his worries and always have been. Those who dislike him see him as a doctrinaire know-it-all who has never been able to listen to any voice but the one in his head. Indeed, he's a skinny sunburn Christie. He's seen as a smart guy who always wants to be seen as the smartest guy in the room. An real assshole, but, then, that appeals to many. Like with Christie, it isn't going to appeal to nearly enough.
   105. Srul Itza Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:38 PM (#4651059)
probably will always mean, speaking English.


Nah. In 20 years, ApGoogleSoft will have implanted universal translators into everyone's cerebral cortex, so that it won't matter.
   106. dlf Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4651062)
I know very little about Bobby Jindal's politics, but I have a personal dislike completely independent of political persuasion. At Brown, he was a college classmate of my baby brother and I simply refuse to believe that I am old enough that my little brother's peers could become President.
   107. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4651063)
Senator Warren has proposed letting the Post Office do small financial transactions including check cashing, ATMS, and short term loans. The upshot is that the USPS will become more profitable, predatory payday lenders will no longer be the only option for the poor, and reduce some of the significant fee burden that the poor face without a bank account. She's living up to the billing so far, I think

I wonder, if such transactions can be made profitably at rates much lower than what payday lenders are charging, why does the government need to be involved? Why doesn't Warren start her own company offering these services at more affordable rates and undercut the payday lenders? (Incidentally, sub-prime lending for things other than housing -- i.e. car loans and installment loans to fund other consumer purchases -- is doing quite well now outside of the payday lending area, at APRs which are high but not predatory. Competition in that sector will likely reduce the APRs over time, and we are already seeing that in auto finance. However those companies are generally catering to customers who are a rung above payday loan customers on the credit ladder.)
   108. spike Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4651067)
if such transactions can be made profitably at rates much lower than what payday lenders are charging, why does the government need to be involved?

25% of Americans don't have bank accounts, and pay on average over $2400 per year in fees for financial transactions. In many cases, that's equivalent to a family food budget. Using the PO has the advantage of the infrastructure already in place including cash handling, and in the hardest hit economic areas to boot. It uniquely positions the Post Office to be successful in this area , where start-up costs and locations have traditionally kept competition both shady and to a minimum. It helps shore up the most vulnerable families, helps a government organization become more profitable, and strikes a blow at predatory lending practices.

In short, it's an idea, and while it may be unworkable, it's an idea from the class of folks we expect ideas from, but so often fail to deliver any, and an idea aiming to help both people who desperately need help and help make the USPS more self sustaining - constituencies that don't usually get much thought given to them other than what a pain they are for the rest of us.

   109. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4651070)
25% of Americans don't have bank accounts, and pay on average over $2400 per year in fees for financial transactions.

I'd really like to see a cite on that. I doubt they are paying 5-10% of their income in transaction fees. A regular commercial bank would be happy to give anybody a checking account if they could charge $500 a year in fees.

That said, I have no issue with the Post Office getting involved in these services. It's a good way to leverage an existing brick-and-mortar infrastructure, and help subsidize mail delivery.
   110. tshipman Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4651073)
That said, I have no issue with the Post Office getting involved in these services. It's a good way to leverage an existing brick-and-mortar infrastructure, and help subsidize mail delivery.


I agree broadly with you, Snapper.

Can I ask why you feel like mail delivery should be subsidized? I mean, honestly at this point, why bother?
   111. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4651074)
Adult speaking to adult: Spanish. Adult speaking to child: Spanish. Child speaking to child: English. Child speaking to adult: flip a coin as to which language that is going to be in. And all of that is just absolutely, totally expected. That's the way it works.


Exactly. And if conservatives were really concerned about getting Hispanic immigrants to "learn English" as quickly as possible, they'd amnesty the hell out of the "illegals" and get those kids into schools every day. Ain't no great equalizer like peer pressure.
   112. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4651075)
BTW, I'm sure folks here who are keeping an eye out for racist campaign tactics will (eventually) have something to say about Louisiana Democrats darkening Bobby Jindal's photo in their campaign literature directed at the Cajun population.


This is the first I've heard of this, but assuming it's true, it's both horribly racist and completely unsurprising. The state parties in the south, both GOP and Dem, or generally horrific. There's a reason I've never voted for a Democratic governor in the state of GA, Gimli.
   113. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4651076)
I know very little about Bobby Jindal's politics


He's a Creationist who has pushed Creationism back into LA public schools. Everything else is secondary. The man's administration actively teaches children 6000 year old Earth theory as "science."
   114. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4651077)
Can I ask why you feel like mail delivery should be subsidized? I mean, honestly at this point, why bother?

Because it's a specific responsibility of the Federal Gov't enumerated in the US Constitution. It's also necessary for lots of people to get documents and stuff at a reasonable cost.
   115. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4651078)
if such transactions can be made profitably at rates much lower than what payday lenders are charging, why does the government need to be involved?


Because someone with enough clout needs to break the Wall Street/financial sector monopoly on loans. I'm not sure Warren is flexible enough to make an across the aisle gesture to "bipartisan" up this idea, but another version of this exact proposal has been bandied about where WalMart is given limited financial lending authority, sort of like "WalMart Eye Centers" brought optometry to the rural masses. If you could put micro loan and no-fee check cashing centers in WalMarts and Post Offices across the nation, you'd help millions of American who live paycheck to paycheck stretch their limited dollars and live better lives.

The only push back would be from financial industry, their lobbyists, and their bought and sold congress critters.
   116. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:52 PM (#4651079)
The only push back would be from financial industry, their lobbyists, and their bought and sold congress critters.

100% correct.

Why would any alleged conservative be against more competition in this sector?
   117. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:52 PM (#4651080)
Can I ask why you feel like mail delivery should be subsidized? I mean, honestly at this point, why bother?


Because millions of rural Americans depend on the USPS for package and parcel delivery every day. The notion of folding out the USPS in favor of "market alternatives," aside from being strictly unconstitutional, is a position of urban and suburban privilege.
   118. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4651084)
Why would any alleged conservative be against more competition in this sector?


More jobs for unionized PO workers.
   119. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4651085)
Because millions of rural Americans depend on the USPS for package and parcel delivery every day. The notion of folding out the USPS in favor of "market alternatives," aside from being strictly unconstitutional, is a position of urban and suburban privilege.

I'm really getting scared, agreeing with you this much.
   120. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4651086)
More jobs for unionized PO workers.

Well, then get rid of the union, and keep the jobs.

I'm 100% on board with allowing the financial business activities, placing a tax on all online financial transactions to subsidize the post-office going forward, and eliminating the right of the workers to bargain collectively. If they want to keep their jobs, they have to give on something, and they have civil service protection anyway.
   121. tshipman Posted: February 03, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4651090)
Because millions of rural Americans depend on the USPS for package and parcel delivery every day. The notion of folding out the USPS in favor of "market alternatives," aside from being strictly unconstitutional, is a position of urban and suburban privilege.


Why should we subsidize rural life?

It has high negative externalities (increased fossil fuel usage, more craziness) and low positive externalities (warm and fuzzies people get from having "land").

If we want to be competitive in the future global economy, the way to do so is to have more people in cities, not fewer.

Further, I'm reasonably certain that they could adapt quickly. People frequently have less regular mail service in rural areas. Quite frankly, if you choose to move to East bumfuck, having to figure out something for your mail should be part of the equation.
   122. dlf Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:00 PM (#4651092)
He's a Creationist who has pushed Creationism back into LA public schools.


Really? A biology major from an Ivy League school? The subsequent political position seems just a mite bit cyncial postering for the unwashed masses. Shame that no-nothingism runs rampant.
   123. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4651094)
Why should we subsidize rural life?


Because rural citizens have rights too. The idea of forced urbanization is one of those things that I generally prefer to mock the rednecks for worrying about...
   124. greenback calls it soccer Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4651095)
Why should we subsidize rural life?

Because the rurals have disproportionately large representation in Washington.
   125. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4651096)
Why would any alleged conservative be against more competition in this sector?
Because many conservatives believe the government should not be competing against private enterprises. I see their point, but what happens when private enterprises can't/don't serve a large segment of the population? And what happens when private enterprises #### up? Adam Smith's invisible hand occasionally drops things, you know.
   126. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4651097)
More jobs for unionized PO workers.


Why would Warren support a USPS option and not a WalMart option? (More jobs for unionized PO workers?) That's why you tie the two options up in one package. The USPS expands the services, the Dems get a win for federal employees; WalMart expands services, the GOP gets a win for the free market in "real America."
   127. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:08 PM (#4651098)
Because the rurals have disproportionately large representation in Washington.


This is true, of course. But that's not why we "subsidize rural life." We do it because rural citizens have equal rights to you. And if you don't think your ####### infrastructure in urban centers is subsidized, well, good luck funding that subway with your super duper free market initiatives.
   128. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4651101)
This is true, of course. But that's not why we "subsidize rural life." We do it because rural citizens have equal rights to you. And if you don't think your ####### infrastructure in urban centers is subsidized, well, good luck funding that subway with your super duper free market initiatives.

Afraid, very afraid. You're exactly right.

   129. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4651102)
Really? A biology major from an Ivy League school?


Really.
   130. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4651103)
Why should we subsidize rural life?
To be fair to residents of the sticks, America subsidizes many inefficiencies. It's not a good idea to have a major city dependent upon a number of levees, maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, yet New Orleans remains where it is. People live in earthquake-prone areas, yet if the Big One hit LA tomorrow, of course the federal government would pump money and resources into relief efforts.
   131. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:14 PM (#4651104)
And, of course, there's always this:


Jindal himself wrote about the experience in 1994 for the New Oxford Review, in an article entitled "Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare." The short of it is that, while Jindal was an undergraduate, his close friend, Susan, with whom he had maintained a wholly non-romantic relationship, began acting strange. One might attribute this to the fact that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. Jindal assumed she had been possessed. A sample:

Maybe she sensed our weariness; whether by plan or coincidence, Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape. She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing. Alice, a student leader in Campus Crusade for Christ, entered the room for the first time, brandishing a crucifix. Running out of options, UCF had turned to a rival campus Christian group for spiritual tactics. The preacher had denied our request for assistance and recommended that we not confront the demon; his suggestion was a little late. I still wonder if the good preacher was too settled to be roused from bed, or if this supposed expert doubted his own ability to confront whatever harassed Susan.

...

The crucifix had a calming effect on Susan, and her sister was soon brave enough to bring a Bible to her face. At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Mixed in with her vile attacks were short and desperate pleas for help. In the same breath that she attacked Christ, the Bible's authenticity, and everyone assembled in prayer, Susan would suddenly urge us to rescue her. It appeared as if we were observing a tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange evil force. But the momentum had shifted and we now sensed that victory was at hand.


   132. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:18 PM (#4651107)
Why would Warren support a USPS option and not a WalMart option? (More jobs for unionized PO workers?) That's why you tie the two options up in one package. The USPS expands the services, the Dems get a win for federal employees; WalMart expands services, the GOP gets a win for the free market in "real America."

And Wal-Mart gets more profit out of more sub-living wage jobs whose employees then will need federal subsidies to pay their bills.

------------------------------------------------

I'm 100% on board with allowing the financial business activities, placing a tax on all online financial transactions to subsidize the post-office going forward, and eliminating the right of the workers to bargain collectively. If they want to keep their jobs, they have to give on something, and they have civil service protection anyway.

And what would these non-unionized workers be paid?
   133. zonk Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4651108)
I wonder, if such transactions can be made profitably at rates much lower than what payday lenders are charging, why does the government need to be involved? Why doesn't Warren start her own company offering these services at more affordable rates and undercut the payday lenders?


Well, first -- because the government doesn't need to make a profit... I'll grant that the USPS is a bit different, but the point remains the same.

I really like this idea from Warren.

We've talked about this before --

It was a while ago, but I've been in that world -- living paycheck to paycheck, not really being able to afford a checking account because the minimum balance fees were eating me alive... When you live in a world where you're literally scrounging spare change to take the train to work, you're also balancing things literally down to the last dollar. Trying to participate in the 'standard banking world' means you just can't win. For example, I remember once getting charged a fee for using a teller - to order checks. My checkbook was balanced, together with the check reorder fee, my just delivered rent check, and a couple of utility checks in the mail - I was literally down to $0.58 in my account. I should have just slid by... but - I didn't account for the bank charging me an additional $2 to visit a teller to do the check reorder... Boom -- unfortunately, the order of checks coming in was such that it was the rent check that bounced.... $25 from the bank... with fees piling up daily. Eventually, I dumped the checking account tried to just go with a savings account... I did the math and it simply cost less in fees to get money orders, pay the savings account below minimum fees, etc. It was still "costing" me money to participate in the system, but it was the difference between about $8 a month and closer to $15 a month.

Like I said last time - it's almost ironic... I mean, I understand why it works from the bank's perspective -- but I'm actually making money banking with my current bank. Direct Deposit, a decent savings account, plus an IRA with them -- add in the credit card reward programs -- I come out ahead by a few bucks annually....

Everybody talks about it - but if we want people to actually "work", even low paying jobs to build 'work ethic' and 'work their way up to better paying jobs' - we ought to have institutions that don't make it such a catch 22 to be so low income.

If you're holding a job, trying to pay your bills -- there really shouldn't an additional premium to participate in the system... and if you're making $15-20k a year, you are. You're paying fees just to gain access to your wages. You're desperately trying to count pennies to stay out of the unforgiving domino situation.

Life it hard enough... I don't understand why a society seems to continually want to make it harder to just walk the straight and narrow. Poor people are easy to make money of off -- scamming desperate people for a few bucks is like fish in a barrel. I'm not suggesting a massive nanny state to protect people from their own bad ideas...

But what's wrong with giving the honest ones, trying their best - and there are plenty of them - an option that isn't taking advantage of their desperation?
   134. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4651111)
To be fair to residents of the sticks, America subsidizes many inefficiencies.

Like subsidized cheap flood insurance that enables people to keep building and re-building oceanfront homes when they'd otherwise be forced to move inland. Like interest deduction on home mortgages that subsidize home owners like me instead of renters like the former me. Like tax deductions for donations to bogus (and non-bogus) charities, such as churches and religious lobbying groups. You could probably list these inefficiencies for 24 hours without stopping, but there ain't no way you're going to get rid of 99% of them.
   135. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:29 PM (#4651112)
Like subsidized cheap flood insurance that enables people to keep building and re-building oceanfront homes when they'd otherwise be forced to move inland. Like interest deduction on home mortgages that subsidize home owners like me instead of renters like the former me. Like tax deductions for donations to bogus (and non-bogus) charities, such as churches and religious lobbying groups. You could probably list these inefficiencies for 24 hours without stopping, but there ain't no way you're going to get rid of 99% of them.


Like federally subsidized roadways. A guy with a freezer full of deer meat and a half acre plot of vegetables in the boonies might wonder why he has to subsidize your drive to day care.
   136. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4651113)
Everybody talks about it - but if we want people to actually "work", even low paying jobs to build 'work ethic' and 'work their way up to better paying jobs' - we ought to have institutions that don't make it such a catch 22 to be so low income.
It is a cruel irony that being poor is expensive.

I know exactly what you mean about the bank fees. In my mid-20s, I had a savings account with exactly $300 in it. Never any less, and I was too poor to add to it. But that was the magic number to get free services from the bank.
   137. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4651117)

And what would these non-unionized workers be paid?


What they are paid now. They still have their civil service protection.
   138. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4651123)
Don't most banks nowadays offer free checking/savings?

Really, you think commerce, the economy, this country, world trade, would be better off if there were no Port of Orleans?

   139. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4651124)
He's a Creationist who has pushed Creationism back into LA public schools.

Really? A biology major from an Ivy League school?

Well, no - certainly not to extent Sam suggests. Using Sam's link - which for some reason he doesn't quote from - the law in question doesn't require the teaching of anything,
The act allows public school teachers to use supplemental materials in the science classroom which are critical of established science on such topics as the theory of evolution and global warming.

It may not be a great law, but a little additional debate isn't a big deal, and the law wasn't a Jindal initiative. It passed the State Senate 35-0, and the State House by 94-3, indicating overwhelming support from Democratic legislators, too. Governors sign a lot of things passed by a veto proof majority.
   140. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:55 PM (#4651125)
Really, you think commerce, the economy, this country, world trade, would be better off if there were no Port of Orleans?
Who made that argument?
   141. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4651126)
Then you need to clarify your position.

   142. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 09:58 PM (#4651128)
Don't most banks nowadays offer free checking/savings?
Minimum balance(s) needed. And for many, it's a moot point because there are no banks in their neighborhoods.
   143. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:00 PM (#4651129)
Then you need to clarify your position.
I said it's inefficient. I live in Arizona; it's inefficient for the federal Bureau of Reclamation to dam rivers so people can live in one of the hottest climates in America.

ADDENDUM: Arizona leans very conservative/libertarian. But we'll never pay a pure free-market rate for water, I guarantee that.
   144. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4651132)
   145. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4651133)
Jindal went to Brown and Brown is the home of one the foremost explicators of biology and evolution (and he's a devout Catholic, I believe), one Kenneth Miller, who is both brilliant and personable, Miller was a very expert witness in the Dover case, and he was a pleasure to watch some years ago on Buckley's Firing Line when he single-handedly destroyed Buckley, Berlinski, and Behe in a panel debate. He continues to render creationist/ID types mere dust beneath his chariot's wheels. As a noted alumnus, you would think Jindal would take the opportunity to get up to speed.
   146. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4651135)
It may not be a great law, but a little additional debate isn't a big deal,

Yes, it is when the controversy is entirely manufactured for political purpose. There is no science controversy; thus, it does not belong in science. Plus, of course, there's a constitutional impediment--at least when it comes to public schools. Maybe in some kind of comparative religion/philosophy class, but, again, there's the first amendment--and how many high schools have classes like that. Not to mention, there's only one religion they want discussed; they compound ignorance with insincerity.
   147. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:08 PM (#4651137)
CoB, link's not working. Fixed.
   148. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:10 PM (#4651139)
Minimum balance(s) needed.

Well, at my bank, the minimum is the minimum.

I said it's inefficient.

Yeah, I know that. But that doesn't excuse just considering the downside of a proposition. There are good reasons for the Port to be where it is, and for all I know there may be go reasons for Arizona.
   149. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4651140)
Really, you think commerce, the economy, this country, world trade, would be better off if there were no Port of Orleans?


Who made that argument?

And, not to say I support relocating New Orleans, but there could be a major port there without a few hundred thousand people living below sea level.
   150. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4651143)
   151. zonk Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4651144)
Don't most banks nowadays offer free checking/savings?

Minimum balance(s) needed. And for many, it's a moot point because there are no banks in their neighborhoods.


Right -

The ubiquitous "big banks" certainly don't...

I have free checking through Chase because I have direct deposit, meet a certain minimum of deposits per month, and have no problem keeping my balances in both savings and checking above the minimum (I think $500 in savings with a max of 3 savings withdrawals a month). In addition, Chase still charges teller fees - I haven't used a teller in probably 5 years because I can also afford a smartphone and internet connection so I do all my banking online, as well the fact I never find myself in a situation where I have no choice but to use a non-Chase ATM.

I suppose that perhaps I'm a hypocrite for banking with Chase... I could be banking with a small community bank... but it would be an inconvenience.... and it's not going to solve the problem.

Like I said, I find it ironic... amusing... and a little disconcerting... 15 years ago, just a few dollars in fees was literally putting me into a hellish series of dominoes where a little hidden $2 fee meant I might be looking up at another $25-100 in dominoes. I remember another instance where I withdrew what I thought was my last $20, but I didn't realize the ATM fee was in addition to the foreign ATM fee -- so though the ATM gave me what I thought was my last $20 (the smallest bill it dispensed), it also spawned an overdraft fee because when the bank tacked on its own fee, I was at -$0.75... which meant another $20... with a fee per day until I got my total back positive.

Now, that sort of stuff is annoyance... if I even face it. I've got a debit card with a Visa logo on it, a credit card through the bank, I've got multiple accounts that don't cost me anything because I can stay well clear of the minimums. I never find myself stuck after work, too far from an "in network" ATM. I never have to worry about a hidden fee toppling a bunch of dominoes. Like I said, I did the math last year -- I actually came out ahead by a few bucks banking with Chase.

Again, maybe I'm a hypocrite for banking with Chase... but let's say I shifted it all to a small local bank... are they going to open a branch in Englewood? Are they going to waive their own minimum balance fees?

If you literally have to watch your pennies to stay afloat, there simply is not an option.

When you live paycheck to paycheck -- it costs you money to be a part of the system... It costs you money to redeem your paycheck. It costs you money beyond the base bill to pay your utilities, your rent, etc.

That's just not right. I'm not anxious to give up my rewards for being a fine upstanding member of the system, but I will say this: give me a system whereby I could ensure that the people like me of 15 years ago wouldn't deal with these sorts of frustrating situations and I would support and even subsidize it. It's just that no such thing exists and I lack the larger resources - and time - to start one myself.
   152. tshipman Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:26 PM (#4651147)
Because rural citizens have rights too. The idea of forced urbanization is one of those things that I generally prefer to mock the rednecks for worrying about...

This is true, of course. But that's not why we "subsidize rural life." We do it because rural citizens have equal rights to you. And if you don't think your ####### infrastructure in urban centers is subsidized, well, good luck funding that subway with your super duper free market initiatives.


????
Someone who chooses to live in East Bumfuck has equal protection under the law. They get more representation in congress. I am not proposing that they be discriminated against, simply not FURTHER subsidized.

Edit:
Like federally subsidized roadways. A guy with a freezer full of deer meat and a half acre plot of vegetables in the boonies might wonder why he has to subsidize your drive to day care.

Does Sam really believe that federal roads benefit city/suburban dwellers more than rural? Maybe this explains why he's making this argument.
   153. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4651148)
Again, maybe I'm a hypocrite for banking with Chase... but let's say I shifted it all to a small local bank... are they going to open a branch in Englewood? Are they going to waive their own minimum balance fees?


Maybe look into an online bank like Ally? (The current you, rather than the past you)

I have USAA, which is essentially, completely online here in CA and they reimburse me all of my ATM fees every month, so ATM fees are just a thing I never have to worry about, no matter where I go ...
   154. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4651149)
151

Well, I, too, deal with Chase, and I pay nothing at all. Moreover, I pretty sure I don't have to keep anything but the barest minimum. But, maybe, it has something to do with it being in Louisiana (although I doubt it). Since the days when Huey Long was jabbing his finger in the eye of Standard Oil/ESSO and AT&T (we paid a nickel for pay phone calls when everyone else paid a quarter), big business has had to sometimes jump through hoops (mostly farcical bread and circus maneuvers to appease and entertain the masses while they are robbed blind).
   155. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4651150)
Does Sam really believe that federal roads benefit city/suburban dwellers more than rural?


Sam believes that everyone benefits from a million different subsidized programs, the rurals, the 'burbans, the urbanite hipsters. Sam suggests that any critique of policy or service that begins with "why should we help _those_ people" should probably be rethought by default. "It don't help me any" is not a valid critique.
   156. Morty Causa Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4651151)
As for the post office, mail was considered a very personal thing, almost akin to rights in the constitution in and of itself. By making it the responsibility of the government, this insured you had rights beyond mere business-type rights. Consider, mull it over, what can go wrong with your mail, and what those rights might be that you have under a government system as opposed to a private one. (You might even want to carry over that thinking to, say, medical care--ever tried appealing a Blue Cross decision?)
   157. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:37 PM (#4651152)
Let's not forget company's that are having the paychecks put onto a card where it charges you fees to keep using it unless you pull out all of the money at once, and of course with atms most of them it only comes in denominations of 20's so they are screwed on some of there check every time.
   158. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4651155)
Let's not forget company's that are having the paychecks put onto a card where it charges you fees to keep using it unless you pull out all of the money at once, and of course with atms most of them it only comes in denominations of 20's so they are screwed on some of there check every time.
Background.

I owe my soul to the company store...
   159. Publius Publicola Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4651157)
Really? A biology major from an Ivy League school?


Being a politician in a deep south state, it was a career decision.
   160. Publius Publicola Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:50 PM (#4651159)
t may not be a great law, but a little additional debate isn't a big deal,


It is a big deal, Clapper. It is a big deal. There's too little time in the science curriculum to be wasting some of it debating about non-scientific nonsense. The science classroom is for science, Clapper. You got that? It's for science. Capiche?
   161. zonk Posted: February 03, 2014 at 10:59 PM (#4651163)
Let's not forget company's that are having the paychecks put onto a card where it charges you fees to keep using it unless you pull out all of the money at once, and of course with atms most of them it only comes in denominations of 20's so they are screwed on some of there check every time.


Man... that's an absolute racket. I can't believe they let companies get away it (the banks that support such 'services' generally make a fee by signing up employers for such programs).

Years ago, I was involved in a project that did really well and they awarded small bonuses to everyone involved -- in the form of Visa gift cards. Wasn't a huge thing -- I think everyone got a $100 gift card... nice gesture... It just so happened that I was traveling when I got it, so I put in a jacket pocket, used it to buy a coffee at starbucks, but it slipped out of my wallet into the jacket pocket afterwards that I just happened not to wear for a while. When I found it, I checked online -- and basically, I got a $2.50 coffee, with the remaining balance wholly eaten up by fees.

Now... I don't know if my company got a deal from someone buying bulk Visa cards rather than issuing bonus checks... and while I'm by no means highly compensated, it was situation where the extra money was just a nice thing that I didn't really miss and circumstances were such where it was an annoyance.

But it just brings me back to the underlying point -- if you're poor, you're kinda screwed. In effect, even if I hadn't been so absent minded -- here was a situation where I had 30 days before the "system" started eating into my bonus, where I had to basically 'spend' my bonus, rather than say -- putting the money into a savings account or whatever.

I understand the value of banking and all that goes along with it -- I'm just saying that we ought to have some sort of system that allows wage earners to redeem their compensation, pay their obligations, and live their lives without needing to become a junior accountant to do so.

Lord help me... when I get to thinking about stuff like this, I almost start to see the point of the gold bugs!
   162. tshipman Posted: February 03, 2014 at 11:08 PM (#4651166)
Sam believes that everyone benefits from a million different subsidized programs, the rurals, the 'burbans, the urbanite hipsters. Sam suggests that any critique of policy or service that begins with "why should we help _those_ people" should probably be rethought by default. "It don't help me any" is not a valid critique.


So ... I guess you're admitting you're wrong about the specific point? (That rural people get more benefit from road subsidies than suburban/urban people.)

Again, you said that the mail has to be subsidized to preserve rural America's way of life. The mail already works very differently in parts of rural America than it does in organized territory. Mail service is less regular, and sometimes it only goes to the PO box if you live really far out there. We already make those decisions as a society. Rural society already gets far more federal money than urban society. That is a fact, that you could look up. I don't understand the purpose of keeping mail delivery as part of that wide package of subsidies. Most of the features of mail delivery are replicated with phone/internet capability, and so the mail seems much less essential for those people who refuse to join the rest of society.
   163. Srul Itza Posted: February 03, 2014 at 11:09 PM (#4651168)
He's a Creationist


I've always felt that the way to respond to Creationists was to explain to them that what they are pushing are a bunch of Jewish Fairy Tales -- and the Jews, who wrote them, don't even believe them.

In the back of my mind, I also think that the Old Testament is actually one of our better ploys -- by getting the Goyim to believe this nonsense, we cripple their ability to think rationally, and better position ourselves as their Overlords.
   164. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 03, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4651185)
In the back of my mind, I also think that the Old Testament is actually one of our better ploys -- by getting the Goyim to believe this nonsense, we cripple their ability to think rationally, and better position ourselves as their Overlords.

Ah, the Learned Elders of The Cathedral----squelching the metric system for over 3500 years!
   165. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 03, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4651189)
I'm 100% on board with allowing the financial business activities, placing a tax on all online financial transactions to subsidize the post-office going forward, and eliminating the right of the workers to bargain collectively. If they want to keep their jobs, they have to give on something, and they have civil service protection anyway.

And what would these non-unionized workers be paid?

What they are paid now. They still have their civil service protection.


But postal workers today are unionized and have had collective bargaining rights for over 40 years, which presumably has something to do with their current pay scale. So you're saying that these new hires should receive the same pay without paying union dues, or without even being allowed to join the APWU? Or are you saying that in return for adding these new jobs, the APWU has to be disbanded?
   166. Morty Causa Posted: February 04, 2014 at 02:08 AM (#4651211)
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue. Civil Rights hypocrisy on race is coming home to roost.

But the fact is that a lot of liberals hold on to some really bad ideas about race too. Some of the arguments they keep trotting out amount to little more than unexamined platitudes, riddled with holes. Fifty years after the March on Washington, America’s high school cafeterias are as racially divided as ever, income inequality is growing, and mass incarceration has hobbled an entire generation of young black men. Do we really think this is entirely due to Republican obstruction? Or is it also possible that the party charged with taking black Americans to the Promised Land has been running around in circles?

The author calls them "liberals." I call them "faux liberals." They were never interested in neutral processes. That was just rhetoric. What they wanted was a payback reverse racism. It's like rhetorically placing women on a pedestal while being an inveterate womanizer. Rather than planting those seeds of equality in legal and political institutions at the beginning, they decided to eat that seed corn. Short term self-gratification has a price, and the price is the offended class is more and more looking to get some of their own payback.
   167. greenback calls it soccer Posted: February 04, 2014 at 02:35 AM (#4651216)
We do it because rural citizens have equal rights to you.

From the numbers it's pretty clear they have more than equal rights to me. I think you know which way the money flows between rurals and urbans, and aside from your periodic desire to tweak noses, I'm having a hard time understanding why you would go all Andy Griffith with the romanticizing of the rural way of life.
   168. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 03:19 AM (#4651220)
Well, first -- because the government doesn't need to make a profit... I'll grant that the USPS is a bit different, but the point remains the same.

I certainly understand the points people are making about the difficulty of living paycheck-to-paycheck. But the fact that the government doesn't *need* to make a profit is a good reason for them not to be in the lending business. Lending money at a loss costs the taxpayers and that money has to come from somewhere else in an environment where Congress can't run an unlimited budget deficit. Full disclaimer that I haven't read Warren's proposal yet, and I don't necessarily see an issue with the Post Office as a location where people can cash their paychecks and the like. But I can see a lot of potential problems with government-sponsored consumer lending (it doesn't take much imagination considering we have seen many of these issues arise in the student lending and mortgage sectors).

EDIT: And those paycheck "cards" that charge you fees are abhorrent. Any fees you have to pay should be deducted from your taxable income and shouldn't count towards measuring whether the company is paying above minimum wage.
   169. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 03:28 AM (#4651221)

I also agree that the post office provides a necessary service, although individuals and companies should bear the true cost of those services. While the post office provides a subsidy to rural living, I suspect it provides an even bigger subsidy to credit card companies who send direct mail solicitations and similar companies. There should be a way to at least charge the fully loaded cost to companies sending unsolicited advertising.
   170. BrianBrianson Posted: February 04, 2014 at 06:10 AM (#4651225)
For what it's worth, the Royal Mail offers a lot of banking type services, and is slightly profitable (of course, mail delivery is inherently more profitable in densely populated Great Britain). Of course, British Banks are not out to screw the poor the way American and Canadian banks are - all of them offer no fee current (chequing/checking) accounts with no ATM fees, even cross bank ATM fees (there are probably limits to this, but I've never encountered a bank machine in the UK that I was charged to use, except aeroport ones that dispense Euros and Dollars.)

Of course, I don't see why letting the post office and letting WalMart run some payday loan-type banking services is an XOR proposition. Why not both?
   171. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 04, 2014 at 07:21 AM (#4651227)
Of course, British Banks are not out to screw the poor the way American and Canadian banks are - all of them offer no fee current (chequing/checking) accounts with no ATM fees, even cross bank ATM fees (there are probably limits to this, but I've never encountered a bank machine in the UK that I was charged to use, except aeroport ones that dispense Euros and Dollars.)


Not taking any particular side here, but free checking accounts will end soon in the UK, according to the head of retail banking for one of the majors who spoke to my old company a couple of years ago. It's simply not sustainable, and online comparison tools are destroying customer loyalty to their checking account owner when it comes to shopping for savings and mortages.

Also FYI, bank machines with charges to withdraw cash are commonplace if you know where to look. They're usually in areas with a high density of pubs and clubs, for obvious reasons. You'll also see quite a few in relatively isolated suburban areas of London (say, zone 4+) with lower-than-average house value, again for obvious reasons. A quick walk down Brick Lane will have you pass at least a dozen of them, and most late-night newsagents in busy student areas will have one tucked into a corner. Around $2 per withdrawal seems to be the norm.
   172. CrosbyBird Posted: February 04, 2014 at 08:34 AM (#4651232)
I have free checking through Chase because I have direct deposit, meet a certain minimum of deposits per month, and have no problem keeping my balances in both savings and checking above the minimum (I think $500 in savings with a max of 3 savings withdrawals a month). In addition, Chase still charges teller fees - I haven't used a teller in probably 5 years because I can also afford a smartphone and internet connection so I do all my banking online, as well the fact I never find myself in a situation where I have no choice but to use a non-Chase ATM.

I've never been charged a teller fee at Chase. I've been charged a fee for money orders or cashier checks, though.

I no longer have direct deposit, but I can maintain the minimum balance (which is actually a minimum, not a minimum average daily balance) to avoid the $12 monthly fee. They also charge $34 per overdraft/insufficient funds incident, up to three per day.

Here's an example of how poor people can really get shafted when there's something as simple as a clerical mistake. A friend of mine (not a Chase customer) had an issue with his paycheck, and I had to lend him $100 so his automatic payments wouldn't exceed his account balance. He deposited the money at an ATM, but his bank has a policy that cash deposits don't clear for 24 hours. The next day, a payment went out that would have been covered, but the cash wasn't there, and he was charged a $50 fee, which triggered another "insufficient funds" event on his account and he was charged another $50. He happened not to check his email that night where there were notices, so he wrote a $50 check for something, but the entire $100 deposit had been eaten up by those two overdraft fees, so the check bounced and he was charged a third time.

I convinced him to call the bank to request a fee waiver, and after about an hour on the phone, he got two of the $50 fees removed, but he was still out $50, which to him was a significant amount of money.
   173. zonk Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4651239)

The author calls them "liberals." I call them "faux liberals." They were never interested in neutral processes. That was just rhetoric. What they wanted was a payback reverse racism. It's like rhetorically placing women on a pedestal while being an inveterate womanizer. Rather than planting those seeds of equality in legal and political institutions at the beginning, they decided to eat that seed corn. Short term self-gratification has a price, and the price is the offended class is more and more looking to get some of their own payback.


This sounds contradictory... You're arguing for the longview, but judging the approach of the past generation without waiting to see what lies in the future?
   174. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4651240)
As always, when the discussion turns to banks, I want to praise Credit Unions. So much better than banks. If you are using Wells Fargo, Bank of America or other large bank you are getting screwed. Find a credit union and us it instead. Better service and lower fees.

And regarding the Post Office idea, I am for it. If you are afraid of unfair competition then mandate the service has to turn a profit long term. Good for tax payers (it supports the PO), good for customers, good for everyone but predatory lenders.
   175. BrianBrianson Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4651243)
It's simply not sustainable


I assume this is code for "We can easily keep free current accounts indefinitely, but realised we could make more profit by charging fees. And if we all talk about it publicly, it's not technically colluding."
   176. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4651244)
They were never interested in neutral processes. That was just rhetoric. What they wanted was a payback reverse racism.


So everyone agrees racism was worse in the past, but has gotten/is getting better. And yet many of those same people also hate on the very policies that helped cause that reduction in racism.

Racism did not just go away because of rainbows and unicorns. It took policies people did not like, which forced the issue. Over the generations racism decreased, as it became clear to younger generations that the new normal - put in place at least partly by those policies - was OK and in fact racism was dumb.

Step by step, through much hard work by many people and helped by those policies, racism has decreased. Now, some folks look backward and act as if the decline of racism was inevitable, as if all the hard work and policies was meaningless, even though it was designed specifically for a goal and that goal, while not yet achieved, is much closer than it was.

So yes those policies are not perfect. As racism recedes they need to be tweaked. And the people were not perfect either. So what? it is easy to throw stones at great remove. it is easy to assume all the accomplishments would have happened anyway and everything bad is the result of the policies and people. But that is crap.

Racism has declined in the US, because in part because of all the policies enacted to fight racism, including affirmative action. Just like sexism has decreased partly because of all the work done there and homophobia decreased because of all the laws passed to do that.

When laws are passed to achieve something, and the law works, that thing starts to happen, the law is a success. Perhaps it could have been done faster, cheaper or better, but no one is pretending it was perfect.
   177. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4651245)
I assume this is code for "We can easily keep free current accounts indefinitely, but realised we could make more profit by charging fees. And if we all talk about it publicly, it's not technically colluding."


Well, I assume so too. Perhaps a happy medium would be, "Due to increasing internal and external pressure to ringfence different profit centres in banks to separate out 'casino' activities from 'customer service' activities, we have decided that all of our services should be assessed for profitability on their own merits, and free checking is therefore by definition going to suffer."
   178. zonk Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4651247)
I certainly understand the points people are making about the difficulty of living paycheck-to-paycheck. But the fact that the government doesn't *need* to make a profit is a good reason for them not to be in the lending business. Lending money at a loss costs the taxpayers and that money has to come from somewhere else in an environment where Congress can't run an unlimited budget deficit. Full disclaimer that I haven't read Warren's proposal yet, and I don't necessarily see an issue with the Post Office as a location where people can cash their paychecks and the like. But I can see a lot of potential problems with government-sponsored consumer lending (it doesn't take much imagination considering we have seen many of these issues arise in the student lending and mortgage sectors).


I suppose it comes down to this --

Can a business that necessarily by its whole raison d'être needs to turn a profit always do things more efficiently than an institution that merely needs to break even?

That said, if there's a part of the proposal (that I haven't read either) that makes the most sense to set aside as something a bridge too far, the USPS getting into the 'payday lending' business is certainly it.

In a way, I could see problem emerging that would be cousin to Social Security --

Social Security purely by its own books and assuming the full faith and credit of the bonds the trust fund has purchased is in fine shape. It's going to run in the red for a period as the scales tilt more towards retirees than workforce, but it's got a cushion to carry it forward for a good piece of time. Without getting into the whole longterm health of Social Security and projections that go beyond what we can reasonably use -- the reason Social Security stays so hot button is because with this enormous amount revenue collected over time, it made some manner of sense to use inter-governmental borrowing to put that money to work... and now, SS is inextricably bound to debt debates.

I have to imagine the monies flowing through a USPS payday loan schema would be smaller - but we're still talking about what appears to be a multi-billion dollar industry... What happens if the kitty should get too big and tempting? To say nothing of the much more dynamic nature of short term rates, liquidity needs, etc.

So, sure... we can pitch the payday lending part of the proposal over the side.
   179. zonk Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4651256)
Top 10 most religious and least religious states...

You know, in a lot of these state ranking lists -- states most in debt/least in debt, most reliant on federal expenditures/least reliant, wealthiest/least wealthy, etc -- you can always find a few red state/blue state outliers...

This is the first state list of cultural/economic/religious/ethnic/etc rankings where there really aren't any outliers in the either list of 10. The top 10 most religious states are all pretty reliably red -- North Carolina is the only purplish one on the list, while the 10 least religious are all pretty reliably blue, with Nevada perhaps as a bit purple.

Nationally speaking in terms of political power (EVs and congressmen) -- it's interesting that virtually all the "big prize" states (Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Illinois fall in the middle 30... Though, they shake out in gradients as you might expect -- Texas is 11th most religious; while New York and California are tied for 11th least religious.

In fact, if you were to take a Nate Silver confidence interval map of a federal election -- it's almost eerie that it probably looks almost exactly like the complete top to bottom list -- with the likely red states at the most religious end of the scale, and the likely blue states at the least religious end.

EDIT: OK, maybe not quite... Wyoming and Arizona are pretty far down into the "least religious" list.
   180. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4651257)
Of course, British Banks are not out to screw the poor the way American and Canadian banks are

Up here in Canuckistan, some politicians are trying to push back against the banks....kind of.

Members of Parliament are debating an Opposition motion calling for the cap in the House of Commons today. The motion urges the Conservative government to take action on automated teller machine fees in the 2014 federal budget.

Glenn Thibeault, the NDP's consumer affairs critic, said Canadians shouldn't have to pay two or three dollars to withdraw their own money from bank machines — particularly when it costs banks as little as 36 cents to complete the transaction.

The NDP proposal would cap ATM withdrawal fees at 50 cents per transaction.
   181. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4651260)
Late to the party, but Canada Post is phasing out all home delivery in urban areas by 2017 or thereabouts. They have been phasing out rural home delivery for the last 10 years or so.
   182. BDC Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4651261)
when the discussion turns to banks, I want to praise Credit Unions

I haven't had an account at a bank in over 25 years. Credit unions all the way. It is amazing the level of service one gets when the server is not trying to make insane profits (and thereby treating service as a cost to continually cut).
   183. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4651265)
I joined a Credit Union last year, after paying of a line of credit I had with my bank of 37 years (Royal Bank, who I hate with a passion). Bank of Montreal made a record (for them) $4.2 billion in profits in 2013, and proceeded to lay off 997. Such an exemplary corporate citizen.
   184. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4651267)
Late to the party, but Canada Post is phasing out all home delivery in urban areas by 2017 or thereabouts. They have been phasing out rural home delivery for the last 10 years or so.


Just to clarify, that means that the mail will go to a local superboxes that have individual locked mailboxes.
Our superbox happens to be across the street from us.
Large parcels will be left in a larger locked mailbox, and that key will be put into the individual mailbox.
Even larger parcels will have a delivery notice in the mailbox, and then you will have to go to the local postal outlet (in a convenience store down the street from me) to pick it up.
   185. BDC Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4651268)
That's an interesting model in Canada. A very old-fashioned one, in fact. It isn't that long since in a lot of American small towns, you went down to the post office to pick up your mail as people had been doing since the 18th century.
   186. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4651275)
For some reason, when I was growing up we always had a P.O. box downtown as well as home delivery.
   187. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4651276)
But postal workers today are unionized and have had collective bargaining rights for over 40 years, which presumably has something to do with their current pay scale. So you're saying that these new hires should receive the same pay without paying union dues, or without even being allowed to join the APWU? Or are you saying that in return for adding these new jobs, the APWU has to be disbanded?

Disband the union, or at least eliminate their ability to collectively bargain work rules and benefits. They can continue to bargain wages; that is not now, nor has it ever been, the problem with unions.

If you're going to get the Post Office to branch out into new businesses, they're going to need the flexibility to add and subtract workers free from the constraints of union work rules. To stay solvent, they're going to need to get rid of nonsense like retiring on full pension and medical benefits at age 55.
   188. zonk Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4651277)
Re: Credit Unions...

I looked into joining one - there is an option open to employees of my company - but here's why I decided not to make the move... Would be happy to be enlightened that I'm missing something and should reconsider:

- I'm quite comfortable doing all my banking online. I love Chase's mobile app - I do all my book balancing, even check deposits, via phone
- Chase's ATM network has absolutely saturated my area - on the occasions I need to actually go cash, but not plastic - I never have to worry about fees

To be honest, even customer service has been quite good for -- a few years back when a debit card got jacked, all was made right in 24 hours, including all fee reversals, with very little fuss. Beyond that, I'm perfectly fine with not knowing my banker.

Now... that said... I might be looking into buying a place soon and I suppose a home loan is a different animal than just checking/savings/credit... Maybe I should have a CU account just for purposes of getting acquainted with a potential lender?
   189. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4651279)
If you're going to get the Post Office to branch out into new businesses, they're going to need the flexibility to add and subtract workers free from the constraints of union work rules.


Says who?
   190. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4651280)
Disband the union, or at least eliminate their ability to collectively bargain work rules and benefits. They can continue to bargain wages; that is not now, nor has it ever been, the problem with unions.


That is completely unrealistic. The three are inexorably intertwined. What good is the ability to bargain for wages if the work rules and benefits are beyond your control? if you bargain for a 5% raise and the company can unilaterally cut benefits by 5%, then what? Yeah, I got a $100/month raise. And now I have to pay $100 more per month for health insurance.
   191. zonk Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4651281)
Disband the union, or at least eliminate their ability to collectively bargain work rules and benefits. They can continue to bargain wages; that is not now, nor has it ever been, the problem with unions.


I feel like this isn't quite fair to unions --

"Benefits" and "work rules" have been used by the employers as trade-offs for forgoing wage concessions... I suppose maybe you can say that unions have been too quick accept security, benefit packages, etc rather than driving harder for wage growth -- but if the union loses workplace rules and benefits as chits, I just don't think it's a workable model where the union can solely bargain for pay.

I just don't think it's quite right to put the whole work rules issues on the unions -- in most cases, the employers (public or private) push for these as substitutions because it makes for better bottom lines.
   192. Random Transaction Generator Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4651282)
An example of the superbox mailboxes.
The service anywhere from 40 to 80 houses (single or double-sized).

   193. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4651288)
I just don't think it's quite right to put the whole work rules issues on the unions -- in most cases, the employers (public or private) push for these as substitutions because it makes for better bottom lines.


Yeah. Bottom line is, if the employers didn't want those benefits that seem to upset the snappers of the world, they wouldn't exist, and wages would likely be higher. But they like them, in part because they can use useful idiots like the snappers of the world to bemoan them and portray unions as the evil bogeymen intent on bringing down capitalism.
   194. GregD Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4651292)
If you're going to get the Post Office to branch out into new businesses, they're going to need the flexibility to add and subtract workers free from the constraints of union work rules. To stay solvent, they're going to need to get rid of nonsense like retiring on full pension and medical benefits at age 55.
Good news! Those things were changed in 87. No worker hired since 1983 has anything like "full pensions" at age 55.

Postal workers can still retire earlier than many workers, and by definition it is still early to know when the post-1983 hires will retire but the expectation is early 60s.

Full pension? Postal workers get 1 % per year of their annual pay (over their best 3-year-stretch) multiplied by the number of years. It goes to 1.1% after 20 years. The only way to get your fall salary as a pension would be to work 91 years, which would be difficult to achieve by age 55.

Again estimates are tricky since the post-1983 people are just now retiring, but the average pension is expected to be in the 30 percent of take-home income.

the reason the post office runs a deficit is a combination of legacy costs of old pensions (which will decline as those people die) and insane congressional rule-writing.
   195. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4651294)
Full pension? Postal workers get 1 % per year of their annual pay (over their best 3-year-stretch) multiplied by the number of years. It goes to 1.1% after 20 years. The only way to get your fall salary as a pension would be to work 91 years


I believe snapper endorsed this policy as well.
   196. BDC Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4651298)
zonk, if you're happy with your bank, I wouldn't advise changing. It is true that the major banking chains have lots more free ATMs than small banks or credit unions.

My credit union offers lots of online services, though. I rarely go into the branch office.

   197. Rants Mulliniks Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4651303)
My credit union enables me to do everything online. The US banking system (adoption of Interac direct payment, adoption of chip cards with a pass code, abandonment of writing a cheque for something like groceries) is about 10 years behind Canada in my experience.
   198. formerly dp Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4651305)
Recently closed my HSBC checking account, which I haven't really actively used in years, because they suddenly started charging a $15/mo fee for the account. I still had a lot of saving parked in my online savings account with them, but that didn't matter-- went to check the balance, and the $20 I'd had sitting in my checking for years was replaced by 2 months of service charges, leaving me with a -$10 balance.

WRT credit union vs. bank-- it's not an either/or. You can get loans and mortgages through the CU and do your primary banking through the bank. Moving money between my CU accounts and my bank accounts is pretty easy, all handled online and without fees.
   199. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4651308)
Now... that said... I might be looking into buying a place soon and I suppose a home loan is a different animal than just checking/savings/credit... Maybe I should have a CU account just for purposes of getting acquainted with a potential lender?


To follow on what BDC said, my CU has online services and such, so no worry there. I never really use ATMs, credit/debit cards and cash (I stop by the local branch once a week or so and get cash out), so I don't even know what the fee structure is now (except I don't pay a fee to use ones at the branch at the very least).

The thing that pushed me to switch was when I refinanced. Going with a CU over a bank saved me thousands of dollars in both fees and interest (not even a little exaggeration) and the service was fantastic. I just opened up my new businesses account there as well and so far that has been a snap as well.

Unless I get a job at a bank I will never go back.
   200. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 04, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4651311)
I feel like this isn't quite fair to unions --

"Benefits" and "work rules" have been used by the employers as trade-offs for forgoing wage concessions... I suppose maybe you can say that unions have been too quick accept security, benefit packages, etc rather than driving harder for wage growth -- but if the union loses workplace rules and benefits as chits, I just don't think it's a workable model where the union can solely bargain for pay.

I just don't think it's quite right to put the whole work rules issues on the unions -- in most cases, the employers (public or private) push for these as substitutions because it makes for better bottom lines.


I'm not talking about private sector unions. They can negotiate anything they want as far as I'm concerned. If they get too unreasonable, they'll just bankrupt the company and lose their jobs. There's a natural check on their power.

I am discussing Gov't employee unions, i.e. the Post Office. There is no "bottom line" and their is no management that cares about keeping costs down. There are only taxpayers who suffer when unions use political influence to garner overly generous wages and benefits.

This isn't workers vs. management or shareholders. This is workers vs. taxpayers, who on average aren't as well compensated as the unionized gov't workers.

No worker hired since 1983 has anything like "full pensions" at age 55.

Full pension means fully vested. No one thinks it means 100% of pay. Though, in certain unions you can finagle that but pouring on the OT in you last few benefit determining years. Lots of Gov't workers go retire on 100% pensions. It's a huge abuse.
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