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The Postal Service announced Wednesday that as of August, it will be ending Saturday delivery of first class mail but continuing delivering packages on Saturdays. The justification for this split decision is that while email and online bill-paying have reduced the volume of mail in little envelopes, online ordering of goods has increased package delivery by 14 percent since 2010.

There are questions associated with the plan. The New York Times' Ron Nixon rather dryly notes:

The agency has long sought Congressional approval to end mail delivery on Saturdays. But Congress, which continues to work on legislation to reform the agency, has resisted. It is unclear how the agency will be able to end the six-day delivery of mail without Congressional approval.
So we'll see how that goes. But what should be one of the biggest questions is not, as yet, being included in most of the coverage: What about the jobs?
[Postmaster General Patrick Donahue]  said the plan would allow for elimination of 22,500 jobs. Donahue said he hoped the job losses could be covered by attrition, buyouts and cutting back on overtime.
Things would obviously be much worse if we were looking at large-scale layoffs thanks to this plan, directly adding people to the unemployment rolls and to the job search. But make no mistake, the elimination of 22,500 jobs does still have an effect on the economy. You have only to look at month after month of government job creation reports, in which the private sector creates jobs while the public sector cuts them, to realize that government job losses are holding back the American economy's recovery from recession in a big way. And the Postal Service is a major employer all across the country.

The Postal Service does have problems—ones created, in large part, by Congress. In today's austerity agenda world, the solutions being proposed by people in power are overwhelmingly cuts. But never forget that another answer to new communications technologies and shifting uses of the Postal Service's existing services would be to add services, not just cut them. Of course, Congress has prevented the Postal Service from expanding its offerings in all sorts of ways that might help it financially and make it more relevant in more people's lives. So while Congress will doubtless be considering whether to allow the agency to reduce Saturday deliveries, what it should really be considering is getting out of the way of post offices offering things like fax and printing services, notary publics, and hunting and fishing licenses. You know, give people more stuff they need while preserving or creating jobs. Crazy thought, right?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congress created this problem (26+ / 0-)

    and only Congress can fix it - by rescinding the 80-year pension funding requirement, and by allowing USPS to compete for more business.

    I like Saturday delivery and hope this action will force the Congress into making positive changes to the USPS. But knowing how much Republicans hate unions, I don't expect anything to happen as long as they control the House.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:30:09 AM PST

  •  The US should... (3+ / 0-)

    ...hire an extra million employees.  And fund it 100%.  Better service plus it would help the economy.

    But noooooooooo.  They're all too afraid to do that because others in gummint will make fun of them.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:31:16 AM PST

  •  I will likely be in the minority here (4+ / 0-)

    but I favor far more drastic cuts in delivery days.  The vast majority of people do not need mail delivered 6 days a week, 5 days a week, even 4 days a week.  I personally would be perfectly fine with once or twice a week residential service because that is about how often I go out to get my mail.  Now, we obviously shouldn't arrange the postal service's schedule around my personal wants/needs and so a fair, fact based compromise amount should be used but 6 days a week is excessive for all but the smallest of groups.

    In addition, I personally find the appeal to saving jobs by keeping the level of service the same to be severely lacking.  For example, more jobs would be good but that doesn't mean that we go to multiple deliveries per day (like some communities used to have) in order to artificially increase the work force.  Similarly, we shouldn't simply oppose the reduction in service days because the amount of jobs will be lowered.  As best as we can determine we should right size the workforce of the postal service to meet the demand that is out there.  And by all accounts, demand is falling and service days can be cut by a minimum of one day.

    FWIW, I am intrigued by Laura's suggestion of allowing more services to be procured at the USPS and would like to hear more of that type of debate.

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:32:14 AM PST

    •  While traveling to the Post Office for services (12+ / 0-)

      is a nice idea for those who already drive around from place to place, postal delivery is particularly important for shut ins.  Sure, most use the internet but many older people still do not.  

      This is just another way we stop serving the people who don't count much in America in anymore.  Now, I know we can't just squander services all over the place because we need to pay for those drones and all, but postal delivery is particularly important to people like my 91 year old mother who actually gets letters from old friends, bills, correspondence from her bank, delivery of catalogs, purchases she makes over the phone, sometimes prescription refills........

      •  I don't understand but I am curious (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taonow, hkorens

        If your mother gets a bill, a letter from an old friend, a catologue, etc on Monday instead of Saturday, how is her life impacted?    It just doesn't compute to me.

        How much do you think your mother would be willing to spend a year to keep her Saturday delivery?  Or would she rather keep her money and not pay extra for Saturday service?

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 09:22:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't answer for greenbell, but for my mom (6+ / 0-)

          (who is elderly and also lives in a remote rural location), losing one day of mail delivery is sort of like if I were to lose one day of internet service a week. Obviously, she cannot do nearly as much via snail mail as I can do via the internet, but in terms of accessing the outside world--both for incoming and outgoing letters, bills, etc.--losing one full day of service IS a big deal to her.

          Listening to RNC speeches, I wonder: How can so many wealthy white men be so resentful and vicious when they’re the ones with all the money, power and privilege?

          by life is making tacos on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 10:39:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's an interesting analogy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            taonow

            Like all analogies I understand that it's not perfect but the fact remains that your mother would still get the exact same amount of mail she gets now.  If you go without the internet you would actually have less hours to access whatever you access on the internet.  So you might actually miss something, like a good DKOS diary or discussion.

            But assuming that your point still holds up, how long are we willing to hold onto this out-dated relic of 6 day a week service in order to please the elderly?  Should we just reduce SS checks slightly to pay for their desire to have that extra day of service?  That doesn't sound right but if it's not worth any extra money to keep the service then perhaps we should do away with it.  Just my two cents.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:31:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Can't (6+ / 0-)

              an old lady just get her mail nearly every day?  It's probably the highlight of her day.  What's the big deal?  Those deliveries are not costing the taxpayers even one cent.

            •  True, the volume of mail is unchanged. (0+ / 0-)

              However, eliminating Saturday service creates a bottle-neck--both for the USPS and for my mom--on Monday. Maybe a better (though still imperfect) analogy would be for us to give up email one day a week. We would still get all the same email but would have a lull and then a backlog. And this isn't about "pleasing" her as if it's some kind of luxury--this is her primary mode of communication. As hard as that may be to believe, many elderly and rural postal service customers rely on the timely delivery of mail precisely because they don't have internet access.

              Perhaps if we provide high-speed internet access to every remote corner of our country, my mom and others like her could be taught to do some stuff online. However, I seriously doubt that will happen in her lifetime, and the longer it takes to get there, the less likely she is going to be able to learn.

              As for the expense, why would her Social Security need to be reduced? She is paying for postal service through her postage purchases. And I'm fairly confident she would prefer a rate hike to elimination of Saturday delivery. But even that might be unnecessary if the USPS were allowed to compete more effectively with UPS and FedEx without Congress hampering their efforts. (Seems unfair that UPS and FedEx don't have to actually spend their resources setting up infrastructure to deliver to my mom because the USPS carries their packages the last leg in rural locations. Maybe the post office could charge UPS/FedEx more for that?)  I, too, am intrigued by the idea of the USPS providing a wider array of services as is done in other countries. Unfortunately, these and other competitive and creative solutions aren't even being considered.

              “If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien

              by life is making tacos on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 05:44:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Keep her money? (7+ / 0-)

          She doesn't pay anything for Saturday delivery, and neither do you or I. The USPS has not received any tax dollars since the early 80's.

          "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

          by happy camper on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:32:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The cost of mail would need to go up (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theotherside

            to save Saturday delivery.

            So. Ask her if she wants to pay 60 cents per letter to save Saturday delivery.

          •  You and pat bunny (0+ / 0-)

            are right but the other fact is that USPS is losing a lot of money.  And yes, the other commenters are right that running in the red is largely due to the asinine requirement to pre-fund pensions for 75 years.

            One thing that strikes my funny bone at the moment is that conservatives are against gay marriage because marriage "has always been between one man and one woman."  Leaving aside the fact that it is not factually correct, I find it somewhat ironic that progressives are supporting 6 day a week service mostly because it has always been that way (even though that is not factually correct either).

            Of course, conservatives will cite lots of reasons other than tradition for wanting to discriminate against teh gayz and there will be lots of arguments promoted by progressives of why we should pay (via stamp prices) for 6 days a week service but most of these arguments seem to me to be unpersuasive and relics of a bygone era.

            Viva la progress!

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:02:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Tax payers do not support the USPS. (9+ / 0-)

          Not since the 80's.

          The USPS has not directly received taxpayer-dollars since the early 1980s with the minor exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters. Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume,[6] after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act",[7] (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to pre-fund retiree health-care, 75 years into the future—a requirement unique to this agency
          Saturday isn't the problem.
          Congress is the problem.

          -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

          by pat bunny on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:35:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bull. The USPS cannot make its pension payments (0+ / 0-)

            And USPS employees refuse to pay any contributions into its health and life insurance plans like other federal workers already do.

            So, they are asking for bailouts from Congress.. "Loans".  Ha.  Loans that never get paid back are not loans.

            So, let them all see their colleagues get laid off.

            •  Nasty (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bear83, pat bunny

              I'm seeing a lot of nastiness directed at postal employees. Is Chris Christie posting here?

            •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              beauchapeau, bear83, pat bunny

              As I understand it they are almost paid up.

              The requirement was put in place to kill the US Postal Service. How fucking American is that?

              Congress is a bad joke and the American people are the victims of their inability to do the work they were hired to do.

              Start calling the assholes from your district and tear them a new one.

              •  No. They had a $16 Billion loss last year (0+ / 0-)

                Postal Service to End Delivery of Letters on Saturdays

                “Our financial condition is urgent,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, the postmaster general, at a news conference announcing the change. “This is too big of a cost savings for us to ignore.”

                Mr. Donahoe said the move to end Saturday delivery was part of a five-year plan to return the agency to profitability. Last year, the Postal Service had a net loss of $15.9 billion. Since 2010, the agency has reduced hours at many small, rural post offices and cut staff, and also announced plans to reduce the number of its mail processing plants.

                But post office officials say the cuts and staff reductions are not enough.

                The move to end Saturday delivery comes as the post office continues to lose money, mainly due to a 2006 law that requires the agency to pay about $5.5 billion a year into a future retiree health benefit fund. Last year, for the first time, the agency defaulted on two payments after it had reached its borrowing limit from the Treasury. The Postal Service continues to suffer losses of $36 million a day and is headed for projected losses of about $21 billion a year by 2016.
                •  $11 billion of the loss was the pension payment (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cybersaur, pat bunny

                  for the 75 year funding plan. No other government agency or private business has such a requirement.

                  75 years - those USPS employees have not even been born yet. The 2006 Congress broke the USPS - on purpose.

                  Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

                  by bear83 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:49:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So, they only lost $5 Billion? Comforting (0+ / 0-)

                    to know..

                    I don't know what all the hubbub is about, anyway.  Let them stop Saturday delivery.  People can do without their mail for one day - especially since many businesses are closed.

        •  Prescriptions. (0+ / 0-)

          Mail order prescriptions are generally a lot cheaper than filling them at a local pharmacy. Prescriptions can't sit around in any old temperature and any old humidity. And many people order them exactly when they're needed (they don't have even an extra few days cushion).

          First class and priority mail shipping are much cheaper than UPS or Fed Ex. I have nothing against these companies personally, but their second- or third-day day service is very pricy compared to USPS. I send a lot of stuff to family; have accounts sith all three, and am very price aware.

          So mail-order prescriptions are an issue. If the postal service can't deliver packages 6 days a week (7 in a rush) then the mail order pharmacies will have to switch to another carrier for shipping.

          And that increases health care costs -- which all of us who have insurance will shoulder.

          There is often more there than meets the eye. And when something looks like the issue is simply about "convience," you really need to dig deeper.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:22:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      Simple money-saving steps:
      1. Every other day delivery. 1/2 of mailmen no longer needed.
      2. No more house delivery. You have to go to a cluster mailbox such as are found in many developments. 1/10 of mailmen no longer needed.
      3. Post offices moved into Walmarts, etc.
      4. Renege on the defined-benefit pensions. No COLA for starters.

      Same revenue and 1/2 the costs.

    •  Additional services would be money losers as well. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theotherside, Andrew Lazarus

      All of the additional services Laura mentioned are being handled quite nicely by private providers - at prices the USPS could never match.

      The USPS exists for one reason.  Mail delivery needs to be a nationwide, coordinated endeavor by a single entity.

      All of those other services are simply local services already supplied by other organizations.  Printing?  Go to Office Depot.  Or simply do it from your computer online - delivered next day if you really need it fast.

      Notary?  Currency Exchanges can do this, but these type of services are used so seldom, even those places are going out of business.

      We do not need to create whole new bureaucracies to compete with existing private local businesses.

      The USPS does mail.  Let it do what it knows how to do and let it cut back service to be as efficient as possible in this age where the service has changed.

      •  Your argument is persuasive to me (0+ / 0-)

        but I would still like to hear the counter-argument that argues for these services being allowed.  If they lose money then cut those services but I'm not sure of the rationale why we should prohibit the Post Office from competing as long as the service is not unduly subsidized.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:07:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't agree about notaries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bon Temps

        They can be few and far between, and of course it's a part-time sort of arrangement at government-set fees. The other services are going away almost as fast as real snail mail. And I'm one of the few people I know who sometimes writes a personal letter on paper, with any of several fountain pens.

    •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

      "

      As best as we can determine we should right size the workforce of the postal service to meet the demand that is out there.  And by all accounts, demand is falling and service days can be cut by a minimum of one day.
      Running the post office as a job creation tool makes no sense.

      Hey dumb dumbs, if tax cuts created jobs, we would have so many jobs that we would glady let the illegals come in.

      by hkorens on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:20:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  its more than delivery (0+ / 0-)

      sorting and transportation will also be reduced
      if you need a part for your heater in the winter to fix it
      you  want it there sat not monday....

      In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

      by lippythelion69 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:59:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is balancing their budget (15+ / 0-)

    on the backs of those who sort and deliver.

    I can speak only to Rural Carries and Clerks.

    Rural Carriers are on salary with a subtitute to work one day a week (usually Saturday) and for vacations.

    What this does is cause the regular carriers to have to deliver 3 days worth of mail in a day and work more hours for free.

    As it stands the Postal service usually manages to get the bulk mailers to hold back their mailings during the mail count.

    You will never ever see as light of a mailstream as during that count. The result is usually that on the lightest days a carrier can make their hours. But the rest of the time everybody is working 12 hours a day and being paid for 8.

    This will just add to it and eliminate the regular work hours for the part time people who the carriers count on to cover for vacations and illness. They get no benefits in fact they can't even buy goverment bonds through payroll deduction.

    For those who think this is an easy job it is actually the equivalent for a territorial sales manager, and requires the same skills. It pays about half of the going rate for a TSM because of course it is supposedly "unskilled"

    Having moved from being a mail carrier to a TSM position several years ago I will say this delivering mail takes more skill and is far harderthan aythig I have doe since.

    It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is not what he has -Henry Ward Beecher

    by PSWaterspirit on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 08:38:57 AM PST

  •  No bills on Saturdays (5+ / 0-)

    is not a good reason to stop Saturday delivery.

    The U.S. Congress should step up and and fully fund the shortfall (which is due in no small part to Congress's requirement to fund pensions at a much greater level than other government agencies).

    The United States Postal Service used to be a major branch of government.  It was recognized as such for much of the United States history and was recognized as important to the nation's economic health and vitality.

    It's still important!

    •  It wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime to fix this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur

      if Congress would rescind the 75-year pension funding requirement. They are requiring USPS to fully fund pensions for employees that not only have not been hired yet, but who haven't been born yet.

      Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

      by bear83 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:53:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Saturday delivery (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, DaveInTheBox, tommymet, cybersaur

    This will just further jam up an already slow system.  Of course, if they quit hauling trash and went back to delivering mail, that might help.  80% of what hits my mailbox on any given day goes straight into the garbage without even being opened.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:27:53 AM PST

    •  Not really (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bon Temps, bear83

      It's actually not a very slow system. Consider that a flimsy little piece of paper makes it across the country from a box on a random street corner to a box at your front door intact--and, most of the time, in pristine condition--in two days for 46 cents. That's quite efficient.

      And regarding the hauling of "garbage": take bulk mail away, and the postal service's revenues tumble. Have you ever handled bulk mailings and looked the check that is cut for the postage?

    •  You can get off junk mail lists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83

      fairly easily.  I have, and only get one or two non-junk mail letters a day.

      •  Not effective at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayC

        I tried to get my address taken off of junk mail lists. I still get a ton of junk mail. Big, newspaper sized junk mail that the postman has to wad up to shove in the mailbox. I hate it.
        How much fuel is wasted hauling around hundreds of pounds of junk mail in each and every USPS vehicle? They need to charge purveyors of junk mail a whole hell of a lot more to send that crap.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 01:40:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  junk mail (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          This has certainly been my experience.  Those junk mail blocks work for a few months, but not longer than that.  The point is, it's trash.  The Post Office has no business hauling it.

          "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by jg6544 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:31:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Check out (0+ / 0-)

      www.catalogchoice.org

  •  About time! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DefendOurConstitution, Bon Temps

    Why Saturday delivery still exists is beyond me.

    The post office work force is rightly shrinking, and has been shrinking for some time through attrition. In fact every year the total workforce drops.

    With e-mail and online shopping, the business has fundamentally changed. You can not continue like before ... I mean we don't have pony express riders these days, do we?

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:28:37 AM PST

  •  Our post office (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, bear83

    sells packaging supplies, handles passport applications, does passport photos, and sells commemorative postal things. They sell money orders too. And of course, they have mailboxes you can rent.

    There's always a line when I go to mail a package or get stamps. Always.

    If they sold even MORE things, they'd need another window just to handle that.

    I'm not adverse to that, but the building they're in doesn't have room for a new window, nor room for printers, or faxes (and who faxes much now? Email is how things go more often than not).

    I suspect most post offices are in the same predicament. Even if they wanted to sell more things, they don't have the room. Especially things that require equipment space, like printing, faxing, or computers for use/rent.  

    •  I always print out a label w/postage at home (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew Lazarus

      then I can just drop it off without standing in line. Or, I can use the USPS self-service machine to weigh and print out postage, or to just buy stamps. Heck, I can even buy stamps at the checkout stand at grocery stores.

      You can also have boxes delivered, and picked up by the USPS without charge...just pay postage on line. You get a tracking No. to trace your shipment.

      I haven't stood in line at the PO for years. The USPS has made great strides in the past 10 years, imo.

      •  I realize that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lippythelion69

        but I don't have a scale and don't always use the flat rate boxes. So there are times I do need to go to the post office.

        Yes, I can use the automated scale thingie, (which sometimes has a line as well) and I use that to buy stamps if I don't need to mail a package.

        But I don't mind standing in line, it moves pretty fast and I'm rarely in a rush when I go to the post office (or I wouldn't go, or I'd use the machine).

        The lobby of our post office is open way longer hours than the actual post office windows, because of the mail boxes and automated postage/scale thing. So if I don't go when the actual post office part is open, there's rarely anybody there.

  •  Eliminating delivery on a midweek day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lippythelion69

    would make a lot more sense . .. .  

  •  Why not Monday instead? (0+ / 0-)

    If they are going to eliminate a day, why not Monday? Since many business are closed on the weekends, Monday's mail is light.

  •  Cut one big defense dept program (9+ / 0-)

    That even the generals admit aren't needed, one overpriced, unnecessary, weapons program, and we can still have saturday delivery.

    Will never happen because its not just about money, its about power. Taking it out of the hands of citizens and  into the clutches or corporate America. The less government services the more reliant we are to corporations who can set their own price for those same services because there is nowhere to go. This is about class warfare.

  •  Just the other day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lorzie

    I needed to mail a small document to someone who doesn't have access to email at their office--I know that's hard to believe, but true in this case. So I printed the document and dropped it in the mail.

    Anyway, I stopped to think of how convenient it would be if the USPS offered a printing and delivery service. That would allow me to transmit the document electronically and have it delivered and it would shorten the delivery time.

    Why can't the Postal Service offer that kind of service? I'm sure a lot of people would use it.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:37:33 AM PST

  •  Just wondering (4+ / 0-)

    The US Postal Service is a constitutionally-mandated government service.  Why don't those noisy folks who believe the 2nd Amendment was handed down on tablets from God find the Constitution's Postal Clause important or even relevant?

  •  Hopefully those workers will not go "postal" and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crankypatriot

    seek Second Amendment remedies as the Republicans, the NRA and the gun Cult have been pushing fir a few years now. It could get bloody.

    What part of "the Post Office has nothing to do with the Deficit/Debt" is so hard to understand for Republicans?  I guess it's the same as understanding that the federal government workforce has actually shrunk under Obama - NEVER!!!! DOES NOT COMPUTE!!!! SOCIALIST/COMMUNIST/KENYAN GREW THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TENFOLD AND GAVE EVERYONE OBAMA-PHONES!!!

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:39:21 AM PST

  •  The arguments to keep Saturday delievery (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taonow

    though real they are not enough to overcome progress.  I don't care if you got rid of the pension requirement and it sounds like it's overkill to have it.  Having 6 day delivery has outlived its necessity. Eventually it will go to Monday, Wednesday and Friday delivery. There are long lists of jobs that progress has reduced or eliminated.  Called progress.

  •  What is to miss? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thestructureguy

    I understand the situation for shutins and the elderly ... but for most people, bills come online, messages come on line, bills are paid online. What's left? In our neighborhood we have "superboxes" as mail does not get delivered to your door - only to a neighborhood box for about 30-40 houses. I'd be lucky to check it once a week.

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:40:53 AM PST

  •  Whose idea is it that every gov't service (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    MUST turn a profit. Aren't there still some altruistic reasons for a government to provide services to its citizens, even if it's not a money maker? If not, let's go all the way on this worship of The Great God Profit.
         Next time we declare war and invade a country that hasn't harmed us, let's be sure that we take enough booty from that country to make the war profitable. Just deposit it directly into the treasury.
         Let's turn the interstate highway system into one giant toll road. Think of the money. NASA? Those pointy headed intellectuals have been getting a free ride for too long. No profit, no space program.
         Make Congresscritters turn over enough of their K Street campaign contribution money to pay their freight. No franking privileges for you this month, sir. You're light on your tribute.
         It'll take some getting used to, but there are possibilities there.  
         

    The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

    by Hillbilly Dem on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:42:18 AM PST

  •  When I was a kid.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    ....I remember, as FEDEX was initially growing (and they were called Federel Express back then), they ran a commercial where they wise-cracked, "you're gonna trust that package to the POST OFFICE????"

    My dad, who was in business for himself, and liked Nixon, though was always a very complex man with a liberal streak; found that ad so offensive, and tried to tell me exactly why.  I didn't really understand it back then, but now, it seems to symbolize the entire mess.

    Buy Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand, and tear Ayn and the GOP new orifices. ALL ROYALTIES BETWEEN NOW AND MARCH 1, DONATED TO THIS SITE, DAILYKOS!! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:42:27 AM PST

  •  I've never had Saturday mail service (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taonow

    I'm Canadian and I've never had Saturday mail service in my life.  Even before the rise of the Internet I don't think people missed it much.

    Yes, losing jobs doesn't help the economy, but keeping extra jobs and higher levels of service that you can't afford to operate (even if you think the fault is Congress) is not sustainable.

    •  Can add (0+ / 0-)

      Then there is the penny. Canada has now done away with the penny (an excellent example of economic inefficiency). The US spends $58 million a year to make pennies that cost two and a half times as much to make as they are worth. Then there is the time spent counting them in stores etc (estimated at about $1 billion using Canadian numbers ).

      http://www.thestar.com/...

      Then there is the dollar bill. Replace it with a coin and the US could save $4.4 billion over 3 decades ... so $100 million+ a year.

      There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

      by taonow on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:52:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When is First Class NOT First Class? (0+ / 0-)

    Saturday.

  •  Republicans won't be happy until..... (6+ / 0-)

    ....all public services are eliminated. It is appalling to me that to go to the USPS website you have to add "dot com" rather than "dot gov".

    I live in a very rural area and the USPS has been a lifeline.  No company can make money delivering to my area and yet commerce as a whole does benefit.

    The enmity against governmental or psuedo-governmental entities has to end.  

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 11:48:46 AM PST

  •  Sorry about the job losses, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thestructureguy

    not really sorry to see Saturday mail service go. It's not like they destroy the mail that would have been delivered on Saturday. All it is is junkmail and bills, anyway.

    They are keeping Saturday package delivery.

    •  This is simpy not true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur

      There is a ton of mail that is not just bills or junkmail. As I said in another post:

      Yes it is just '1 day' but that one day adds up. Now on monday morning there is twice as much work for the employees to sort, and with few people to do it.

      Also, not all business's that rely on the mail do it just for shipping packages. I work for a company that processes medicare/medicaid claims for payment that come in the mail from providers,as well other paper to electronic medical records. Without saturday mail, we have nothing to process on the weekend, which will result in lost jobs. And it is not just lost jobs, but a lost day or two or production time, so doctors, etc will not be receiving their payments as fast, or customers would not be getting their checks for longer.

      Naturally of course the 'free-market' will fill in the gap. For much higher prices than sending a 50 cent letter. Which would make the cost of business go up, driving up the cost of... healthcare.

  •  Raise junk-mail rates? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, JayC

    I understand the major problem with the pension obligations.  But why not use this as an opportunity to raise the rates for general delivery (i.e., junk mail, etc.).  If companies insist on inundating us with junk, make them pay more fairly for the privilege.

    •  Bulk mail isn't cheap (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayC

      Look, to qualify for bulk-mail rates, the bulk mailer has to do a lot of work on its end: presort, barcoding, traying, strapping, filling out the paperwork correctly. These steps reduce the amount of labor on USPS's end, which makes the delivery of that mail cost less for USPS. But it costs quite a bit of money on the part of the bulk mailer to do that work. Supplies, software, and labor aren't cheap.

      All together, it still costs the mailer less than a first-class stamp. But with thousands or millions of pieces dumped into the mail stream, it's still expensive for the mailer--and it brings quite a bit of money into the USPS.

  •  Unemployment checks (0+ / 0-)

    Usually unemployment checks are to be return mailed on Saturday or Sunday.

    Hows that going to work out now? Is EDD in the loop and going to change the return dates?

    How many other bills and correspondence are going to be messed up because of this?

  •  Another upside? (0+ / 0-)

    Removing all the postal cars on the road should be good.  No?

  •  Why do we need (0+ / 0-)

    daily delivery?

    Wouldn't twice a week do for residential mail delivery?

    (See   http://ifonlytheydaskedme.blogspot.com/... )

    ...there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. - Ratty

    by John Q on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:13:05 PM PST

  •  Why not add $1-a-month call-it-whatever to all (0+ / 0-)

    Internet Service Provider Bills,Cell Phone Bills,Pre-paid Services an anything else that can send e-mail/text/Whatever and it all goes to the United States Postal Service.  

  •  This was a deliberate Repug "poison pill" - sheesh (3+ / 0-)

    from

    http://www.thomhartmann.com/...

    "Congress went on recess this week leaving the United States Postal Service financial crisis, unresolved.  At midnight tonight, the Postal Service will default on a $5.5 billion payment it owes to the Treasury Department.  This default will not have any immediate effects on day-to-day operations at the Postal Service, but it highlights the financial troubles that the institution, which was created more than 200 years ago by Ben franklin, is facing today.  And those problems are almost entirely thanks to Republicans.

    In 2006 – Republicans in Congress passed a poison pill piece of legislation forcing the Post Office to pre-fund retiree health benefits 75 years out into the future – basically funding benefits for future employees who aren’t even born yet.  The Postal Service has to do this by giving the Treasury $5.5 billion every single year.  That’s a requirement that no business, or any government agency has ever had to comply with.  And it’s the reason why the Post Office is going bankrupt today and looking into closing down post offices, laying off workers, and cutting down delivery service.

    So why is all this happening?  Because the Postal Service employs hundreds of thousands of unionized workers – where as private mail carriers like UPS and Fed Ex do not.  Republicans – in their non-stop war on labor – realized that they could hurt unions by bankrupting the Postal Service.  That’s what they did in 2006, and their plan is working today.

    Don’t buy into the scam that the Postal Service is going broke because of the internet and the rise of e-mail.  It’s going broke because it’s the latest casualty in the GOP's war on organized labor."

    15  11Share60 1212

    The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

    by ozsea1 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 12:18:36 PM PST

  •  Union busting - pure and simple (5+ / 0-)

    http://www.thenation.com/...

    "Two-thirds of the $15.9 billion “loss” involved what the Times referred to as “accounting expenses of $11.1 billion related to two payments that the agency was supposed to make into its future retiree health benefits fund.”

    Those accounting expenses were imposed not by necessity but by Congress. And the imposition can be lifted, along with restrictions on the ability of the service to compete.

    In 2006, a Republican Congress—acting at the behest of the Bush-Cheney administration—enacted a law that required the postal service to “pre-fund” retiree health benefits seventy-five years into the future. No major private-sector corporation or public-sector agency could do that. It’s an untenable demand."

  •  GOP has wanted to kill the USPS and Amtrak (3+ / 0-)

    forever and a day, and turning everything over fully to the corporate sector (because, uh, unions and such like). Thus, they starve both entities and then wonder at their inefficiencies.
    What Congress and the GOP have done to the USPS is a national disgrace. It can't all be blamed on online bill paying...it's part of a concerted, quite deliberate plan to kill it. It sickens me. I use the USPS nearly every day and the counter staff work their asses off, but nobody has their backs. The Postmasters, meanwhile, are doing online shopping in their back offices...

  •  ya know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MinervasPenguin, fred sanford

    Republicans have been trying to privatize the USPS since the 80's...

    Until then the USPS was so important it actually had a Congressional committee....

    Yes e stuff and on line payments are easy...but USPS offers the secure...
    don't know about you folks but here in our neighborhood a lot of small businesses depend on focused mailings...

    support your local carrier and clerks..as well as folks in big distribution centers and bulk mail centers..yer parcels that are not left on your porch if you are not home..

  •  Future of the Post Office (0+ / 0-)

    The requirement that the Post Office pre-fund its retirement is actually reasonable if it is assumed that it will eventually be put out of business. Non-funded retirement only works for big entities that will never go out of business, like the federal government or General Motors (oops). Of course the pre-funding requirement just makes it more likely that the Post Office will go out of business as a private entity.

    The letter function of the Post Office now seems to be obsolete, or might be if we had universal internet access - which could be a government function, or a regulated monopoly. Should it be competing with private companies for package delivery? Do private companies refuse to deliver anywhere? There is an obvious advantage to having a service which delivers everywhere, every day, but does it need to be subsidized? Of course the real questions about the Post Office will never be answered rationally by Congress.

  •  I wish that since it seems the Postal Service (0+ / 0-)

    is mandated by the Constitution that some group of Citizens would demand in Court that it be returned to being financially supported by the Government and not run as it has been since the 80's.

  •  Here's what really funny as the Right tries to (0+ / 0-)

    get rid of Public Services and replace them with For-Profit then those very rural areas that is their power-base will because it's not profitable to service few-an-far-between be more an more cut off and so they will have to move to more urban areas and become urbanized over time.

    •  PS as an example there are many paved roads (0+ / 0-)

      that are being returned to Gravel Roads in rural areas because of funding cuts,if you've grown up with gravel you know how much people wanted those paved an how glad they were when it happened and to see those roads return to Gravel I know would suck if I still lived where I grew up and many of those same places want those Post Offices that are also going away.

  •  USPS unique unionized semi-gov agency (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beauchapeau

    Usually like this poster's stuff, but here the mark is missed. The only reason the pre-fund pension requirement was put on USPS by Cong. Issa was probl. to destroy and privatize. There is no other revenue shortfall, if this is removed.
    Second, after the Postal strike of the 1970's the USPS went semi-gov. and got around not allowing union reps for govt employees.
    So another unionized place is shrinking or falling, with help from ALEC, and others.
    Neither UPS nor FedEx is very interested in "last mile" delivery, out to the rural routes (RFD, anyone?). FedEx has partnered with USPS for some of that.
    Postal employees are not like other delivery employees. They pass an official security background check (low level) and the postal service is the usually the only legally binding method of delivery. (Remember the college that tried to FedEx its students' test sign-ups to Princeton and they were late? Only a postmark would have been proof of sending them.) Also, only USPS has secure services like Registered Mail (under lock and key). Check the insurance limit on FedEx. (Remember the data tapes stolen a number of years ago from a card processor while with one of the private services.) USPS has its own Postal Inspectors.
    The USPS is far from perfect, but it's been one of the prides of our country compared to that of some others countries. It is also a source of secure, unionized jobs.
    There seem to be an awful lot of pretty short sighted "liberals" who replied to this post. But hey, I'm not perfect, for sure. Just like to know "the whole truth" if possible.

  •  Junk mail (0+ / 0-)

    Keep the Saturday service running but eliminate junk mail. That's my feeling.

    By offering low rates for junk mail (4th class?), we are subsidizing an enormous waste of paper. I don't even look at mine; it goes right into the recycling bin.

    I'd rather eliminate the low rate for junk mail. That will sharply decrease the amount of wasted energy and resources.

    I realize that's a lot of income for the USPS. But I'd rather subsidize the USPS employees doing something useful instead of subsidizing an ecological problem. The USPS doesn't have to break even, in my opinion. The government should pay for the USPS even it loses money, but we shouldn't pay for wasted trees, energy, and landfill.

    And if a business really needs to send me mail, let them send it first class.

    Join the 48ForEastAfrica Blogathon for the famine in east Africa: Donate to Oxfam America

    by JayC on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:00:57 PM PST

  •  they ain't called... (0+ / 0-)

    They ain't called "daily newspapers" for nothing.  How many newspaper subscribers -- and yes, there still are many of them -- want to receive their Saturday papers on Monday?  

    And how will the cut to Saturday service affect the newspaper employees?  Will newspaper jobs or employee hours be cut as a direct or indirect response to the reduction in postal service?  

    Are those cuts an intended part of this scheme, as well, so the pesky press won't be nosin' around, asking meaningful questions of the politicians?  

  •  I'm opposed to ending Saturday service because ... (0+ / 0-)

    I don't want to be forced to wait until Monday to read Hatemailpalooza.  It's one of my favorite features here.    

    The wisdom of my forebears ... Two wise people will never agree. Man begins in dust and ends in dust — meanwhile it's good to drink some vodka. A man studies until he's seventy and dies a fool.

    by Not A Bot on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 12:28:45 AM PST

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