The Post Office has successfully paid this $5 billion bill every year since it was passed in 2005. I'd say their business model is still wildly successful. Their problem, as previously pointed out, is that since the Republicans in Congress saddled them with these payments, the Postal Service has been unable to invest in further modernization.
So, since they've been required to actually pay what they promised their employees, unlike a lot of other pensions these days, they now can't make money. Huh. That doesn't strike me as the model of success we should be pushing for.
It might be a good investment to allow/encourage the post office to create a network of state issued email addresses, or whatever other scheme of modernization we might come up with. That's the kind of risky change that large bureaucratic organizations with massive legacy labor costs typically aren't good at. I'm all for letting them experiment. I'm not for throwing money at or trying to force a revival an archaic model of 6-day-a-week service for fewer and fewer first class mail and more and more direct marketing.
; but the chances of the poll averages being wrong in this case were incredibly small.
I'm not sure that's exactly knowable. Sure, the numbers are way better than contradictory pundit guts, but for instance, we had no way of knowing if a "Bradley Effect" would have been in play. Response rates for polling firms consistently came in below 10%. Polling is getting harder and harder in an age where fewer people have landlines and polling cell phones is restricted. As of now, state polls are good guides. They will be right up until they aren't, and then the science will change.
I'm not saying that the probability of systematic error is large, just unknowable. It was a perfectly reasonable and scientific position for a Republican to say "Romney's chances are equal to the probability of error in the polls, and I hope that probability is large."
A list is only as strong as its weakest link. -- Don Knuth