Really? We can't make do?

Compared to WWII generation, we know nothing of sacrifice

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You know by now that neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays the Postal Service from its appointed rounds.

But the organization’s unofficial creed says nothing about mud.

And right now, what the Postal Service will or should do about Saturday delivery is as clear as mud.

A big part of the problem is incessant meddling by Congress.

The elected body, for instance, does its level best to prevent the Postal Service from closing even one constituent’s post office to save money. Those are voters!

And this, from a recent news story: “Some of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties are due to a 2006 congressional mandate that requires the agency to pre-fund 75 years worth of retiree benefits within a decade. That statute cost the post office about $1.4 billion during the last quarter alone, according to the agency’s financial report.”

We appreciate forward thinking – particularly considering that so many pensions and other retirement programs are underfunded by the billions. But pre-funding 75 years’ worth of benefits in a decade seems a bit stout.

As a result of such congressional mandates, legacy labor costs, other inefficiencies and
competition from private companies and the Internet, the Postal Service lost $16 billion last year.

Things just can’t go on this way.

The truth is, we could live without Saturday delivery of most mail (the Postal Service’s stated plan to end Saturday delivery does not include packages and prescription drugs). The move would save about $2 billion.

The agency also plans to close 50 mail-processing centers to save another $2 billion.

Well, the letter carriers have bitterly decried the five-day delivery plan, in rallies and slick commercial advertisements. And now Congress has approved a nearly annual resolution vaguely forbidding the end of Saturday delivery.

How vague is the prohibition? The Postal Service is being counseled by some members of Congress to go on ahead with plans to go to five days a week.

Good grief.

First, Congress should butt out. Let the USPS Board of Governors run the thing and cut its losses.

Second, you’re never going to effect such sweeping changes without some squawking – particularly from the unions. You’ve got to forge on and do what’s right, which is to stop the bleeding.

Lastly, the larger point to be made here is that these overblown tempests over Saturday delivery – and the current chicken-feed “sequester”
budget cuts – are only the beginning of the austerity this country is going to have to endure to get its house in order. While the Postal Service lost $16 billion last year, the federal government as a whole lost over $1 trillion. And we are one zip code away from $17 trillion in federal debt.

If we get all worked up about losing one day of junk mail – so much so that our elected leaders feel like they need to rush in and save us – heaven only knows how we’ll face up to real sacrifice.

There’s a generation of Americans now enjoying their golden years who’ve seen a heck of a lot worse.

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deestafford 04/01/13 - 08:14 am
The demise of the postal service is the result of three things

First, the meddling by Congress in cowtowing to its constituients.
Second, union contracts and actions which prevent modernizing, cause work slow downs in order to increase overtime, and the fementing the attitude of "I'm entitiled to this job" mentality. I know a friend who worked part time for the post office during the Christmas holidays when he was a college student and when he was working fast he was told to slow down so they could get more over time.
Third, the internet has vastly eliminated the need for snail mail.
I've heard it suggested that the postal service should be privitized and allow FEDEX and UPS to compete for mail delivery; however, I've never seen a good study or discussion of that happening.

seenitB4 04/01/13 - 09:33 am
Yep...let this work

First, Congress should butt out. Let the USPS Board of Governors run the thing and cut its losses.

We could do without Saturday service.

bubbasauce 04/01/13 - 10:29 am
Yes indeed we can do without

Yes indeed we can do without Saturday mail delivery. When will the crooks in d.c. quit scaring people to death about trivial things. Oh my, the world is going to end unless we do this people! In any business when you no longer need something, you cut it. Saturday service needs to go!

itsanotherday1 04/01/13 - 01:30 pm
As I said over on the R&R

As I said over on the R&R this morning, it is all about protecting overtime and a few jobs. Five days a week is more than adequate for mail.

Oh, and why in the world do we need post offices in places like Jewell, Ga? It is a wide spot in the road between Sparta and Warrenton; which could just as easily get mail service from either town.


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