The U.S. Postal Service, facing a $7 billion loss this year and $238 billion over the next decade, for the umpteenth time wants to cut Saturday mail delivery. Each time Congress has rejected the idea.
Postmaster Gen. John Potter also wants rate increases from 3 to 10% for first class postage and merge the closing of thousands of post offices to relocate in large grocery and department stores. Similar proposals have been approved by Congress and the recommending body, the Postal Regulatory Commission.
At first blush, I say go for it. Snail mail, as it is known in today's high tech society, takes one to three days for delivery. Delivery of what? More and more people pay bills on line. The Postal service may be price competitive with package delivery with UPS and FedEx but their rates are subsidized by taxpayers.
I don't know how widespread, but a private company in my hometown allows postage-free service to mail utility bills.
The list of naysaying arguments against the Postal Service is as long as Highway 50 which stretches coast to coast. Let's face it, the Postal Service finds itself today in the same position as the buggy whip in the early days of the horseless carriage.
Saturday mail delivery is embedded in the American psyche as deep as the slogan a mailman delivers whether there is "rain, sleet or snow."
And, in typical government bureaucracy mode, the Postal Service hired three competing consultant firms at a cost of $4.9 million to formulate the recommended changes. That makes about as much sense as years ago when it paid $10,000 to a firm deciding the abbreviations of all 50 states to two letters, a task that could have been accomplished by a fifth grader.
Potter said entitlements for the 600,000 postal employees and their retirement benefits are being addressed to reduce costs which represent a major portion of the service's losses.
Having lived earlier in rural Oregon, I suspect mail cutbacks and postage rate increases would be a burden on many people where the Post Office also is part of the town fabric and the carrier a bearer of town gossip.