U.S. Postal Service - Saturday Delivery
Posted: February 8, 2013
I was disappointed this week when I heard that the U.S. Postal Service would be discontinuing Saturday mail delivery with the exception of packages and medicine. However, after reading the news release, I was relieved to learn that the USPS will still deliver mail to post office boxes on Saturday.
For nearly 25 years, I have enjoyed my Saturday mornings going to the post office and opening my mail in my downtown office and planning the week ahead. It's become such a habit that I thought any change would disrupt my weekly routine.
The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it needs to take drastic steps to help curb the billions of dollars in losses. Since the time of Abraham Lincoln, mail has been delivered six days a week. But the financially struggling agency said a change to a five-day mail delivery cycle would begin this coming August and could save about $2 billion annually. In fiscal 2012, the postal service lost $15.9 billion.
Although the postal service is claiming that it has the authority to make the bold decision to discontinue Saturday mail since the federal government is operating under a stopgap budget measure, Congress is not so sure that it doesn't have to sign off on the deal. In my opinion, it's best to let the quasi-government agency do what it needs to do to become revenue-neutral and keep Congress out of the discussion.
The price of a first-class stamp went up to 46 cents last Sunday. The cost to mail a postcard went up another penny. Stopping most mail delivery on Saturdays will save some money. But the biggest obstacle to allowing the postal service to get back on its feet is Congress. It was that group of men and women who forced the postal service to pre-fund retiree health care benefits for the next 50 years.
Last spring, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that provided retirement incentives to about 100,000 postal workers, or 18 percent of its workforce. I have some good friends who took the federal government up on its offer. As a result, the postal serivce is expected to recoup more than $11 billion it overpaid into its employee pension fund.
I hope that the steps the postal service is taking can retain the 500,000 good-paying jobs across the country. My only hope is that business-minded individuals can make the necessary decisions to make the agency a self-sustaining entity as opposed to allowing bureaucrats to micro-manage an operation that they've already messed with too often.