Washington D.C. – Frontiers of Freedom President expressed alarm about the U.S. Postal Service’s latest quarterly loss of $1.5 billion to start the 2019 fiscal year. The latest losses underscore the USPS’ failure to fulfill proper cost controls, accuracy in pricing, and neglect in meeting its long-term obligations to the federal government and the agency’s thousands of employees.
On the USPS financials, George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, stated:
“The latest massive loss detailed by the Postal Service demonstrates that there is still much work left to be done to meaningfully change the USPS business model. In 2018, the Administration had success in helping the USPS to better crack down on drug transports through the mail, and to ensure better deals for American businesses on international shipments.”
Landrith continued, observing that, “the Postal Service wants to be treated like a private business, but nearly every “business decision” has made its finances and service quality increasingly worse. Fortunately, the Administration’s Postal Task Force report provides a promising roadmap for reform with an emphasis on critical structural separation changes. In truth, there needs to be clear distinctions between USPS’ monopoly service and its underpriced competitive services, like subsidized parcel shipments.”
Landrith concluded: “Analyzing the viability of all USPS services based on proper cost and revenue analyses will be an essential step for Postal leaders. The understaffed oversight bodies must be outfitted with financially astute professionals who are commitment to transparency and accountable practices. Installing experienced regulators and leaders must be a priority to get the Postal Service on a sustainable path.”
The USPS Board of Governors is currently seven members short of its full complement. Nominees announced by the President last month have yet to be confirmed: Ron A. Bloom, Robert M. Duncan, Roman Martinez IV, and Calvin R. Tucker. The Postal Regulatory Commission, which recently added Michael Kubayanda, will soon be two members short as the terms for Nanci Langley and Tony Hammond are expiring this year.
By George Landrith • Houston Chronicle
The Trump administration is working to slow down the implementation of a major international environmental regulation that’s set to take effect in 2020. The administration hopes that the effort will ease the compliance burden on businesses by phasing in the rules gradually, rather than all at once.
Counterintuitively, phasing in the regulation could raise costs on American consumers, rather than reduce costs as the administration intends. It’s smarter to let the rules go into effect as scheduled.
The regulation was issued years ago by the International Maritime Organization, which regulates global shipping. The rules will require ships to use fuel containing no more than 0.5 percent sulfur — a compound which causes acid rain and exacerbates people’s breathing problems. That’s a steep drop from the current global limit of 3.5 percent sulfur. Continue reading
“There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin!”
That was June 1963 in West Berlin where President John F. Kennedy gave one of his most memorable addresses. The speech was a stirring defense of liberty and a pointed critique of communism.
Whether you agree with Kennedy broadly or narrowly, I’ve rediscovered that speech and find it to relate now more than ever to the unfolding drama in the country of my birth, Venezuela. My family and I left Venezuela when I was 10. We had every intention of returning. Then Hugo Chavez took power, promising to usher in shared prosperity for all with his “21st century socialism.” We never went back. Continue reading
In Treasury Secretary Mnunchin’s report released today, the U.S. Postal Service’s future as a sustainable organization was appropriately and undeniably called into question. The Trump Administration has worked diligently this year to fashion positive USPS management changes and this report follows the President’s move to commission a Task Force review in April.
“The Task Force’s findings detail inexplicable financial malpractice on the part of the U.S. Postal Service,” said George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom. “Clearly there are many new directives that the USPS must advance to create meaningful change for the sake of American taxpayers, consumers, and postal workers. For years, the Postal Service has asked to be treated like a private business, however, every action it takes has resulted in greater losses and worse service overall.”
“For an agency of the Federal Government, full accounting transparency of the costs and revenues of each individual product is essential. Members of Congress and USPS regulators and its board of governors must have the ability scrutinize services, like parcels and others, where the agency is unable to cover the costs of delivery.”
As a limited government advocate focused on constitutional principles, Frontiers of Freedom believes that the preservation of affordable and timely mail delivery is essential. Furthermore in 2019, the Postal Service must be subject to reforms to ensure its solvency and decrease the risk of a potentially massive taxpayer bailout.
President Trump announced plans to withdraw the United States from the 144-year-old postal treaty through the Universal Postal Union that has preserved international shipping imbalances to greatly favor companies from foreign nations and undercut American businesses who deliver to consumers in the U.S.
Frontiers of Freedom lauded President Trump’s ongoing attention to this issue and the new strategy to get fair rates for American shippers. Frontiers of Freedom president George Landrith said:
“President Trump deserves huge recognition for the effort to achieve substantive changes to an ill-considered international postal pricing system. For far too long Americans have been forced to compete with sellers from abroad who have access to majorly reduced rates from the U.S. Postal Service. This new plan will be critical to help fix the USPS’ approach to facilitate the exchange of goods among individuals within the country, and stem the flow of counterfeit goods and other illicit substances that have permeated the mail system and endangered our communities.
“Under the treaty that Trump plans to withdraw from, Chinese firms could ship things like computer cables to consumers in the United States for about one dollar for shipping. That same package to be mailed from an American small business on Main Street to a home just 30 minutes away, would cost $8 to $15. That makes no sense. There is no way it only costs a dollar to send a box from China to a consumer anywhere in America. And yet, it helps China businesses undermine and undercut American businesses. Chinese businesses should pay the reasonable price of their shipping. It is not right that the American taxpayer and postal rate payers have been forced to subsidize them. Donald Trump got this 100% right!”
As a result of terminal dues rates set by the UPU, domestic businesses often face much higher rates for sending items within the country than what shippers from countries like China pay to deliver to destinations in the United States. Furthermore, current terminal dues rates have produced in a loss of $410 million for the Postal Service since 2015.
The U.S. State Department will now inform the UPU of U.S. intention to withdraw and adopt self-declared rates for terminal dues as soon as practical, and no later than January 1, 2020.
If the 1986 Challenger disaster taught us anything it was – “Don’t put all your Space Launch eggs in one basket.” After that accident and the other ones that grounded all of America’s older space launch vehicles for about two years, NASA and the Air Force decided to build two sets of rockets under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
The EELV program has been a success. Both Atlas V and the various Delta rockets, especially Delta Heavy, have been putting America’s important science and military payloads into space for roughly a quarter of a century. Continue reading
Liberal activists are once again contradicting themselves on environmental policy but for once, it has nothing to do with climate change.
Instead it involves the cleanup of a Superfund site known as the West Lake Landfill. An old quarry outside of St. Louis that for several decades acted as a landfill, it was contaminated with radioactive material in the 1970s when a contractor illegally dumped left over Manhattan project waste. Subsequently named a Superfund site in 1990, federal bureaucrats have been struggling ever since to come up with a plan to clean it up. Continue reading
By Terry Jones • Investor’s Business Daily
Cutting Rules: Baseball season is winding down and, as it does, so is another grueling annual event: The U.S. government’s fiscal year. But this year, with just two months to go, something remarkable is happening: Regulations are being slashed at a record rate.
A new report by the American Action Forum (AAF) says that not only is President Trump meeting his deregulation goals, he’s exceeding them — in some cases, by a large amount.
“Collectively, executive agencies subject to regulatory budget remain on pace to double the administration’s overall saving goal,” wrote the AAF’s Dan Bosch. “On an individual basis, 12 of 22 agencies have already met or surpassed their savings target.”
“The Department of Labor enjoys the largest total savings of covered agencies with $417.2 million,” Bosch wrote. “The Department of Health and Human Services comes in second in savings … at Continue reading
Washington D.C. – Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith issued the following statement on the U.S. Postal Service’s latest losses, deteriorating service and the Administration’s opportunity to transform the agency:
This week, the U.S. Postal Service released its financial report for the third quarter of the 2018 fiscal year, which detailed yet another troubling loss of $1.5 billion. Following years of concern around the U.S. Postal Service’s financial woes, their latest loss adds to the $65 billion lost in the past decade and increases the need for reforms.
The need for a taxpayer-funded bailout is growing by the day in order to save the U.S. Postal Service from the financial cliff. This federal agency’s roots extend beyond the founding of the country and the organization is still relied upon for reliable letter mail delivery service across the country. Each quarter that produces greater debt only adds further doubt about USPS’ ability to survive such financial disaster without a bailout. Continue reading
For those who don’t follow the communications industry closely, you may not know that the Federal Communications Commission has undertaken the herculean and laudable task of reviewing all its regulations applying to TV and radio broadcasters, cable TV operators and satellite TV providers, and repealing or modifying any outdated, unnecessary or unduly burdensome rules. In July, the FCC will start the formal process of reforming its rules requiring broadcast TV stations to air government-specified amounts of children’s educational programming. Frontiers of Freedom supports the FCC’s proposals – released in draft form on June 21 – here – to bring its rules into the 21st century.
From its draft, the FCC clearly recognizes that the children’s TV rules, originally adopted in 1996, must be updated. The current rules betray their analog-era origins, a time when consumers had restricted viewing options and most viewers watched only a handful of broadcast channels. But in today’s digital world, consumers enjoy video programming on multiple platforms via multiple devices at the time and location of their choice – the concept of “appointment viewing” has become meaningless to most consumers, especially younger ones. Children’s programming is now available from 24/7 children’s cable channels and on-demand from cable providers, via major internet sites and popular apps, like the PBS app, and streamed from sources such as YouTube and Netflix. Clearly, the market has not failed to provide abundant amounts of children’s video programming. And this leads to an obvious question – are the FCC’s current rules requiring broadcast TV stations to offer three hours of children’s educational programming every week per every channel they air (including all multicast channels) still necessary? We don’t believe so.
At the very least, the existing “kid vid” rules are overly rigid, causing serious unintended consequences including forcing broadcasters to run programing that meets regulatory criteria but isn’t attractive to parents and their children. Just one example, for any program to “count” under the FCC’s rules, it must, among other requirements, be regularly scheduled, aired during certain hours and last 30 minutes or longer. Predictably enough, these mandates have killed off differently scheduled and formatted children’s programs. Many of us still remember CBS network’s In the News, short-form news stories aimed at children, and ABC’s popular Schoolhouse Rock and Afterschool Specials. But specials aren’t regularly scheduled, and apparently short news isn’t good news, and thus those programs disappeared from the airwaves – a direct result of nonsensical regulation and government overreach.
For all these reasons, Frontiers of Freedom welcomes the FCC’s draft notice proposing changes to its outdated and harmful children’s TV rules. We support the FCC’s proposals – here – and its overall effort to reduce unnecessary and burdensome government regulation.
This week, the House Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Kevin Brady released a new bipartisan bill to help tackle grave concerns that have persisted surrounding the nation’s opioid epidemic. The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act would begin to help address the staggering vulnerabilities within U.S. Postal Service for delivering packages from overseas.
For years, drug traffickers have been able to successfully ship deadly opioids into the U.S. through the Postal Service due to agency’s inadequate procedures which have omitted key practices to collect advance electronic data and thus have failed to properly identify threats.
Currently, the agency does not thoroughly trace senders and receivers or even electronically track packages sent through foreign postal services. Even dating back to 2014, former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said he was gravely concerned about the number of people sending illegal drugs through the USPS.
Now, thanks to Chairman Brady, as well as Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Representatives Mike Bishop (R-MI), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and John Faso (R-NY) we appear to have a fully viable plan to mitigate the Postal Service’s deficiencies that have contributed to this epidemic.
Frontiers of Freedom president George Landrith stated, “It is time the U.S. Postal service began putting the public safety of Americans first. Right now the Postal Service’s security standards are not up to code. This allows for unsafe products, food, other hazardous materials, and drugs to enter into the United States.
“We must support legislation that will help stop a national crisis and force the U.S. Postal service to get in line with best practices in shipping and thoroughly adopt the readily available technologies for targeting the potential threats that have persisted in inbound packages.”
Washington D.C. – This week, the U.S. Postal Service released its financial report for the midway point of the 2018 fiscal year, which detailed yet another distressing loss of $1.3 billion. After monitoring the Postal Service’s financial mismanagement for years, Frontiers of Freedom expressed its continued concern about the agency’s direction.
“The latest losses posted by the USPS offer yet another indicator that the organization and its governing bodies have neglected to offer meaningful solutions to avert a likely taxpayer bailout of the Postal Service,” said George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom.
Landrith further discussed the Trump Administration’s work to address the beleaguered agency: “The new Postal Task Force to be led by Secretary Mnuchin offers a promising step towards implementing structural changes that the USPS needs. It is imperative that the Task Force identify the right path forward. Any serious proposal will ensure that the Postal Service fixes its deteriorating letter mail service for all Americans and becomes a sustainable operation well into the future. But making minor course corrections at this point will not get the job done. The problems at the USPS are serious enough that real and bold reforms are required. There is no time to waste.”
As Frontiers of Freedom notes, the Postal Service’s ability to provide reliable and efficient mail service to all, and especially for those in rural communities, is a significant point of concern. A recent report by the USPS’ regulator found that the Postal Service failed to meet its performance objectives for every single service included within First-Class Mail.
Previous policymaking and management practices have proven insufficient for correcting the Postal Service’s course and the Administration must now seek new drastic changes to ensure a genuinely accountable and sustainable operation.
Last month, I wrote a column highlighting how Elon Musk’s lack of transparency with issues surrounding Tesla and SpaceX would likely lead to more fatalities and security concerns in the years to come.
At the time, front and center in the news was Elon Musk’s short-circuiting of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation into a fatality-causing Tesla Model X crash, as well as the ostensible three-year cover-up of the reasons for a massive SpaceX explosion. As any regulatory policy analyst will tell you, there are always reasons for fearing sunlight, and they are generally never good ones.
As the breaking news of the day from this week has shown, the case of Elon Musk is of no exception.
Reports from last night indicate that on Tuesday night, two teenagers were killed in Fort Lauderdale due to their Tesla Model S bursting into flames. This incident marks the third Tesla fatality in months.
The NTSB is again investigating the situation. This time, it would be best for Elon Musk to cooperate with their wishes, refraining from hanging the phone up on them or posting non-NTSB vetted crash information on his website. The billionaire can continue posting information that leads readers to think the fault lies with the drivers, not Tesla itself, but with each passing incident, his story will have fewer and fewer believers. There seem to be clear quality control issues on the corporate side. The sooner Musk allows regulators to do their job uninterrupted, the sooner these fatalities will likely come to an end.
The ostensible consequences that come with Musk self-investigating his problems on the Tesla side are bad enough, but things do not get any better when analyzing the recent news surrounding SpaceX’s possible transparency problems.
While Musk’s internal review found a supplier-provided strut, not personal imprecision, was to blame for one of his many rocket explosions, a NASA report that came out three years later contradicts Musk’s reasoning. It seems to blame SpaceX for using a lower-grade part without adequate screening and testing.
Even worse, a Washington Post report from this week demonstrates how Congress and NASA safety advisers fear that a tragedy of equal or worse magnitude will occur with astronauts on board – a milestone that SpaceX still plans on achieving by the end of the year.
SpaceX has been adamant about getting more propellant for its buck by shrinking the fuel in cold temperatures so more can be loaded in tanks, but according to experts, the company may do so at the expense of human lives. For Musk’s plan to work, SpaceX will need to load the propellant just before launch time while astronauts are on board – a huge problem when considering the reasonable possibility of it sparking and exploding. As a result, A NASA advisory group cautioned that Musk’s “load-and-go” strategy is “contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years.” Another expert stated that NASA “never could get comfortable with the safety risks” because “when you’re loading densified propellants, it is not an inherently stable situation.” Yet Musk is still carrying on as if nothing happened, just as he is with Tesla despite the egregious concerns that come with it. Just how different would the unsettling events in Musk’s orbit be if the NTSB and NASA managed to conduct investigations promptly and without political pressure? We may never know, but the state of play would almost certainly be better than it currently is.
With each passing week, more and more lives continue to become jeopardized by Musk’s companies. Policymakers and auditors must begin addressing the problems at hand with a greater sense of urgency before yet another tragedy occurs. What’s done is done, but that does not mean these problems cannot be rectified now before the start of darker, gloomier chapters. The American people deserve better.
While the media-driven scandals du jour roll on, President Trump quietly goes about reshaping the U.S. economy. Case in point: Last week, Trump directed the EPA to cut even more red tape for manufacturers. And he’s not done yet.
The idea is not to get rid of air quality standards, but to make sure that the science behind them is transparent and reliable — and not just part of someone’s political agenda, as has often been the case in the past.
The White House says that U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards constitute “outdated and unnecessary barriers to growth.” Under the new standards, EPA will process state-submitted plans within 18 months, for instance, giving regulated industries a clearer idea of what they can and can’t do, quickly. And the permitting process for individual projects will eventually be limited to a year. Continue reading