Wednesday, November 23, 2011

USPS creates jobs Part 2

Alright, you got the idea, right!  The current USPS mail carrier routes are each an 8 hr per day job, and they would be cut to 4 hrs per day, or part time.  This creates more jobs.  This is kinda what they do in Germany and why they're the most successful economy in the Eurozone.  Population growth statistics alone means we have to be thinking of creating many more jobs, of any type.  Now a 4 hr daily route could mean a very good thing for us; it means we could all get our mail by 1 pm if all the carriers started at 7 am or so.  I'd pay more for that.
Now this raises the question. How do we pay for this service?  The current backhand system is defective we know; it doesn't pay the true costs. And I really want all non-profit organizations to break even at a minimum, and all other businesses to make a profit and share some of that profit with their employees and owners/shareholders.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Being a very good mail carrier takes agility, endurance and experience; a license or certificate to deliver mail is not required.  However, I consider it, like most jobs, to be very important and critical to society, so we must pay for it fairly. So, number 1) Is it more important to always get your mail by 1 pm or 6 pm?  If you want it by 1 pm every day, than you should pay a small premium for that, its only fair. The mail carrier should also get a piece of that, and would encourage bidding on morning routes.  2) What's a fair rate to pay our 24 hr per week mail carriers, and what health benefits and retirement benefits should they get?  Remember, this is not a full time job.  Even so, we know the Minimum Wage isn't enough for a dog to live on, especially after you take out all the Fed, State and sometimes City Wage taxes (City Wage taxes must be abolished, along with residency laws - that's why we have cars - to get to work anywhere), plus Medicare, Social security, disability tax, unemployment tax, and any health bene or retirement contributions (and there should be some, even tho this is part time).  I'll give you an example:  my wife is a retired teacher (25 years), so she's a good teacher.  She was subbing for a friend and third grade teacher at a local elementary school for three days in a row.  She got up at 7 am to be at school by 7:30 which started at 7:45.  Taught all day from specific lessons and plans prepared for her by the regular teacher (in other words - she worked, the kids didn't just read all day). School let out at 3:15 pm.  After making notes of the day and going over the next day's lesson plans, she got home at 4:15 pm, a full day by any standard. She got 15" for lunch, which she brought in herself.  The Board of Education paid her $75 gross per day, which netted out to $44 per day.  That's for 7.5 hrs per day.  And that is at the rate of $10 per hour, not Minimum Wage of $7.25 or $7.50 per hour for a full time job doing something else, which would be much less!  So we know compensations rates are all screwed up at every level, especially the top 1% (but that's another blog).  So 3) Say we pay our mail carriers $10 per hour, 24 hrs per week, that's $240 per week, or $1032 per month for $12, 384 per year, less 41% assuming regular taxes and benes (based on above example), or $7,307 for the year.  Ok, so even tho its part time, and over half a 40 hr workweek, we really don't want to see our hard-working mail carrier only make that much, do we? The US poverty rate wage for a family of four in 2011 is $22,350 (vs $12,384 at $10/hr for our part time mail carrier).  I could not find a statistic which would tell me whether the $22,350 income was gross, or net, of taxes and stuff.  So here my analysis ends.  (If you know, let me know).  Either way, our mail carrier can't support himself, let alone a family on this wage.  So what do we do?  See Part 3.

USPS could create thousands of parttime jobs

I had breakfast this morning with my friend George, USPS Mail Carrier, retired.  We were talking about postal routes and why some days I get my mail before 1 pm, and most others around 6 pm.  This just changed recently, after at least six years of getting my mail by 1 pm.  The simple explanation is this:  1)  all routes are timed annually to be exactly 8 hours long, a full days work.  1 carrier can only have 1 route.  2) When routes are timed, there might be adjustments for new developments etc, so route changes are made, but still take 8 hrs per day.  These changed routes are put up for "bid." 3) mail carriers "bid" on the routes.  The carrier with the most seniority gets it, with no other considerations (I think).  So carriers change, and how they do their route may change. Now what if, as a transition, USPS split the routes in half?  Some current carriers might like that, especially as an incentive to retire, yet still have parttime income.  If you read the news you know it costs billions of dollars to support a few thousand jobs.  We don't have that now, supposedly.  So...
There's no estimate of how many Mail Carriers there are that I could find, but the USPS is the 48th largest employer in the US with over 574,000 workers in many classes.  A city like Denver was recently cut to 1050 Mail Carriers, as an example (Denver Post article). USPS is currently in the red by billions of dollars.  So what's the idea here?  How can they help themselves and add jobs to the economy, and cut jobs, at the same time?  Well, here goes. 1) they time all the routes for 4 hr routes, currently 24 hrs a week per mail carrier instead of 48(?), and transition to 4 hour routes at a set time in the future.  Basically, they have to give current mail carriers, especially those making a living wage on an 8 hr work day, the ability to maintain that until they retire, so they keep those routes, for a time, at 8 hrs per day.  So this doesn't double the number of mail carriers immediately, but over time.  2) new mail carrier hires only get 4 hr routes,  Whether or not they should be allowed to "bid" on a second route or not has to be studied, but assume not.  So this creates some part time jobs at least, and as you know, business loves part time jobs because they don't have to pay full benefits.  But, I'm suggesting something different about that in the next post, so more to come  in part 2.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Critical Value of Windows Task Manager: Part 2

To monitor and control applications and websites that you are visiting, it is key to understand Windows Task Manager.  The easiest way to get it running (and it should be running at all times), is to hit "Ctrl" "Alt" "Del" keys at the same time.  It will pop-up. Select "Start Task Manager" to see it (it has other options too). Once open,  it has six tabs, "Applications" and "Processes" are the key ones (others will show you your computer's current performance among other things). Here's how to use "Processes":
1.  In Task Manager, Click the tab at top that says "Processes"
2.  A "Process" is a program that executes periodically or continuously. For example, when your Windows computer automatically downloads Windows updates, it is executing a "Process."  Or when you issue a task, the System will execute a "svchost," an internal command, to perform that job (you can't stop these).  However, you can delete many of these "Processes" from running (but be careful, very careful), if you know what it is/does, and don't like it running in the background all the time (these "Processes" eat up CPU cycles and slow down your computer).  Most of these Processes are put there by the many programs you have loaded on your computer, and they may not work right if you delete them willy-nilly.  However, many can be deleted safely, and some might be viruses.  And the way to check each one is to go to ""  (It's Free)  Just look up your questionable process name alphabetically, and it will tell you what it means.  If you will never use it, or don't trust it, then highlight that process and click "End process"  and confirm by clicking "Yes." Good luck!

Critical Value of Windows Task Manager: Part 1

To monitor and control applications and websites that you are visiting, it is key to understand Windows Task Manager.  The easiest way to get it running (and it should be running at all times), is to hit "Ctrl" "Alt" "Del" keys at the same time.  It will pop-up. Select "Start Task Manager" to see it (it has other options too). Once open,  it has six tabs, "Applications" and "Processes" are the key ones (others will show you your computer's current performance among other things). Here's how to use "Applications":
1.  Applications - useful when an application (i.e. program or website link) is "Not Responding"  or just taking too long and you want to cancel it, or you don't trust it it or like it and you want to cancel it ASAP.  Simply click (highlight) that application or web link, then click "End Task"  at the bottom of the screen, and that task will end immediately.  If a program was "Not Responding" you have just stopped it.  Try it at a later time (if a good program/link) and see if it loads properly. If you think it was a bad site/link, or may have been questionable or a virus, you have stopped it (but not deleted it if it loaded anything).  Run a Virus Scan immediately if you are really concerned and see what it finds.  Delete any viruses it finds, but write the name down first.  Go back online and do some research on it to see what it might do.  Go to "" and look it up in their Virus Definitions section (free).  Good luck!

watch out for pop-ups and viruses when shopping

I just went online to buy some HP drivers for my HP printer.  I went on the HP site and found what I wanted (I thought).  However it wouldn't let me download it.  So I called HP Customer Support and they said I had to order it from HP Tech Support.  So I went back to HP Tech Support, found the driver, ordered it online with a visa credit card etc. However, here's the rub.

What I thought was an HP pop-up to order, was really a link to another site (business, entirely). So I got messed up.  Luckily I didn't get a virus or malware, it was legit (I received the CD I ordered and it was OK).
This just points out the problem.
So when ordering or linking to a site always remember:
1.  The link must say "www.HP (or whatever).com/techsupport (or whatever).
2. If it says "" or something other than "", it is not an HP site! (or whatever site you're looking for)
It may look like it but is subtly not, and its hard to find the clues that its not (usually the small print at the bottom)
So watch out!