Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Through rain or sleet, but not on Saturday

The Postal Service is expected to announce today that they are eliminating Saturday mail delivery, though maintaining six day a week package delivery.

The change to weekday delivery only is one that the USPS floated periodic intervals. But in one of the stupider public-private enterprises, while the USPS is currently a private business, changes to the service must be run through and approved by Congress.

And Congress has never approved.

By keeping the six day package delivery (a service that has grown over the past several years), they hope to run around the legislative requirement, essentially keeping to the spirit of the law (six day service) rather than the strict letter.

In the past six years, the USPS has made great strides in reducing deficits and increasing efficiency, mostly in spite of our lawmakers. The 2012 deficit includes a government-mandated, $5.5 billion payment for future retirees' medical expenses. Not other agency is obliged to make those sorts of deposits.

The mail carriers' union is also rattling its sabers mail bag; its work force has already been substantially reduced, and it stands to see additional reductions through attrition and station closings.

I like to get mail on Saturday - heck, I like to get any mail at any time. But if this change will put them a bit further along the road to profitability, I'm all for it.

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