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Lawmakers preventing Postal Service from being responsible

by Dan Barrett /

Who ever thought cuts would cost so much? The US Postal Service is in deep financial trouble and is looking to balance its books, mostly because it would literally take an act of Congress to bail out the federal letter carriers, by cutting Saturday deliveries. Both Congress and the White House want to see your neighborhood postal worker walking their nearly 80,000 routes on Saturdays – the problem is they may only be walking with empty bags. A 14% drop from last year’s volume makes maintaining a sixth day of delivery almost laughable. Lawmakers have gone so far to say if the USPS drops the day of delivery, they will stop picking up the tab for both compensated mail for the blind and overseas absentee-balloting materials. It would be a $75 million cost the USPS would have to cover – most likely passed on to its dwindling consumer base.

Postmaster General Potter has proposed cutting Saturday from the USPS’s delivery schedule, which would save $3.5 billion in the coming year.  The private sector would immediately cut the day and go back to the drawing board trying to figure out how to increase revenue and overall letter mail. Not government!

During the ongoing recession, letter volume has decreased significantly – $3.8 billion in FY 2009. Even though it has tried adapting (in a government entity-sense), it looks as though the USPS will go further into debt – projected to hit its $15 billion debt limit in 2011.

Even though the US Constitution grants the government “to establish Post Offices and post Roads,” it does not dictate the number of days required to complete such tasks. Perhaps the government finds it easier to stick with wasteful spending rather than adopting constructive change. In any case, pitting financial responsibility against ensuring that overseas citizens can vote is less like change we can believe in and more like First Class delivered tyranny.