US Postal Service to declare bankruptcy? - (www.asianjournal.com) THE USPS lost $2 billion last year. This year, so far, it has lost $7 billion. The increase in the price of stamp recently to 42 cents will not stop the hemorrhage of cash. The USPS will continue to lose money at an alarming rate in the future. Electronic mail has become the preferred means of communication between humans because not only is there no delay in getting the message to the other side, it’s also free. On the other hand, the cost of mailing out a letter that will get to it’s destination in several days is the cost of an envelope, 42 cents for the stamp, gasoline to get to the post office, depreciation of your car because you use it to get to the post office, and at least half an hour to get to the post office and back to your house. Thus, people now prefer to pay their bills electronically, text their friends, send emails and twitter. All of these activities are being done at the expense of the post office. Communicating by paper and mail is getting less everyday. Think of Kodak film and Polaroid cameras. Once the behemoths of business and industry now obsolete because of digital cameras. An advance in technology, particularly communication technology, has rendered the USPS practically obsolete. There will come a time when people will only mail packages, not letters. The writing is clearly on the wall. Thus, the recent announcement by the General Accounting Office that the USPS is in danger of financial insolvency should not come as a surprise to anybody. It’s not a good time to the Postmaster General. He had to ask for permission from Congress to stop delivering mail on Saturday to cut costs. US mail volume sank by 13 percent this year, about 20 billion fewer pieces of mail. Unfortunately for the USPS, mail volume will continue to sink until everyone starts using electronic mail to communicate with each other. When this happens, and it surely will, the USPS will be left with mailing packages and doing passport pictures. This is of course, the worst news for the 700,000 employees of the USPS who will have to start thinking of working for UPS and change their uniforms from blue and white to brown, and driving a large parcel truck, instead of a small mail truck. They might do well to start sending their resumes to UPS and Fedex by email now. A bankruptcy reorganization for the USPS where thousands of post offices will be freed of their lease contracts, collective bargaining agreements voided or drastically amended to conform with the new USPS, and a significant number of employees terminated without separation pays, and perhaps even a doubling of the price of stamps to one dollar or more is in the horizon.
States battle deficits with payroll cuts - (www.sacbee.com) In Rhode Island, they're delaying pay raises. In Nevada, state college teachers took a 4.6 percent pay cut. New Jersey state workers are taking 10 furlough days this year – although they'll get back seven days of paid leave later. Across the country, state government leaders are cutting employee compensation and eliminating jobs to spackle over parts of their respective budget holes. Now, with the 2010 elections revving up, political candidates and lawmakers in the Golden State and elsewhere are talking more and more about thinning the number of state workers or cutting their pay and pensions. A big reason: It's easier to talk about axing a subset of faceless workers than to talk in detail about service cuts. "Look, government workers are a logical target because the government is so big, it's hard to wrap your mind around it," said political pollster Steve Kinney, a partner with Redondo Beach-based Public Opinion Strategies. "And in the eyes of people in the private sector – both union and nonunion, Republicans and conservative Democrats – government isn't valuable."
Director of EQT Partners found slain in Munich - (www.latimes.com) A director of private equity firm EQT Partners who previously worked for Morgan Stanley was slain and his body discovered in a delivery van in a Munich suburb, a police spokesman said. The body of Dirk von Poschinger-Camphausen, 36, was found in the southwest of the Bavarian capital early Saturday, Munich police spokesman Markus Dengler said in a phone interview Sunday. His Audi A8 sedan was found near the body. Dengler declined to say how Poschinger-Camphausen was killed or whether police know of a motive. "There's no doubt that he was murdered," Dengler said. More than one suspect has been arrested and appeared before a custodial judge in Munich, Dengler said. Poschinger-Camphausen joined the Munich office of Stockholm-based EQT last year after four years at Morgan Stanley in Frankfurt. He was last seen alive Thursday when he left his apartment in the Munich suburb of Bogenhausen about 9:30 a.m., Dengler said. His wife reported him missing that afternoon.
Schools fear cuts to campus repairs - (www.sacbee.com) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to cut education by $1.5 billion next year will lean heavily on school districts' funds for campus maintenance and repairs. The governor said he wants districts to cut central administration to avoid hits to the classroom, but a Bee analysis of the funds that Schwarzenegger considers "central administration" shows the largest category is plant maintenance, covering everything from the salaries of electricians and plumbers to buckets of paint and boxes of nails. School district administrators say cuts to facility maintenance and repairs would be devastating, especially for aging schools. "Most of our schools are over 50 years old," said Trinette Marquis, spokeswoman for the Twin Rivers Unified School District. "Fifty-year-old buildings can fall apart really fast."
Chavez orders takeover of French hypermarket chain - (www.signonsandiego.com) Hugo continues to lose his mind. President Hugo Chavez on Sunday ordered the expropriation of a French-owned hypermarket chain that operates close to a dozen stores in Venezuela, accusing it of price speculation following the country's currency devaluation. Chavez said his government would seize control of the Exito hypermarket chain, majority owned by France-based Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, after lawmakers approve legislation allowing the expropriation of businesses that have raised prices inordinately. A conglomerate of Colombian companies - Sindicato Antioqueno - holds a minority share of the company. "I want a file to be opened, and I'll wait for the new law to begin the expropriation of the Exito chain because this cannot be permitted," Chavez said during his weekly radio and television program. "How long are we going to allow a transnational company ... to come here and do this?" Calls to the offices of Exito seeking comment went unanswered on Sunday. Victor Maldonado, who leads the Caracas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services, criticized Chavez's announcement, saying government takeovers of private businesses will only exacerbate Venezuela's economic woes. "The president must correct his economic policy," Maldonado told Union Radio, saying Chavez's socialist-orientated economic policies and efforts to boost the state's role in the economy "are going to ruin us." The bill proposed by Chavez could be approved next month, pro-Chavez lawmaker Mario Isea told the state-run Bolivarian News Agency on Sunday.
Making mincemeat from a mogul: More people sue Donald Trump over Tampa Tower - (www.tampabay.com) Another flock of Floridians has joined a lawsuit against Donald Trump, alleging the New York real estate tycoon defrauded them of their deposits on the never-built Trump Tower Tampa. To recount, Trump licensed his name to developers of the proposed 52-story luxury condo tower in return for half the profits. But at the launch of the $300-million project in 2005 The Donald's braggadocio may have gotten the better of him. On at least one occasion he was quoted in the press suggesting he was a partner and developer in the project.
Digging out banks and builders - (www.tampabay.com) You think the housing bust's done you wrong? Pity the poor banks and home builders. We spare little sympathy for these businesses. They triggered the explosion that demolished the economy, didn't they? They overbuilt, overcharged, overlent and underperformed. And left us with the cleanup bills. But the rise and fall of Tampa Bay's housing and banking industries has been shocking. The gods of commerce have been vindictive. The first two weeks of 2010 have brought little but bad news: BUILDERS: Tampa's Metrostudy reported this week that new home starts have declined 83 percent in four years. Back in 2005, when speculators were immersed in their "I'll take five homes, please" mania, Tampa Bay housing starts exceeded 21,000. Last year local builders barely scraped up 3,500 buyers. Luxury home builders took a double hit. Sales in the 3,500-square-foot-plus category have dribbled down to near nothing. And demographics don't look good for a quick turnaround. Baby boomer retirees, the first of which turn 65 next year, are in a downsizing mood. How did builder/developers' land-buying gambles during the housing boom pay off? Horribly. Tampa land broker Bill Eshenbaugh said builders that bought Pasco and Hillsborough County orange groves and ranches at the price peak are dumping them for a fifth of what they paid.