WASHINGTON (AP) — The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service says it plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays, but continue delivering packages six days a week.
Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO said the change would mean a combination of employee reassignment and attrition and is expected to achieve cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually when fully implemented.
The agency in November reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion for the last budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in retiree health benefit prepayments to avert bankruptcy.
The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.
Do you think not receiving mail on Saturday is going to affect you? I don’t see how I will be affected other than sometimes the goodies I order from eBay get delivered on a Saturday, but I suppose I can wait like everyone else.
What really affects me is not the fact that they are closing on Saturdays, is that this is another example of a government agency that can’t seem to run in the black. It might be time to privatize the business of delivering mail.
If the post office was a “regular” business, not a government agency, it would have had to take steps before now in order to stay afloat. If you or I were bleeding money, whether in our personal finances or in our business, we would either have to find a way to be more competitive and survive or close the doors and go out of business.
The problem with privatizing the mail delivery business is that it would literally take an act of Congress for that to happen. Article I, section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power to establish post offices and post roads, which has been interpreted as a de facto Congressional monopoly over the delivery of mail. Accordingly, no other system for delivering mail – public or private – can be established, absent Congress’s consent.
With the ever increasing use of texting and email, the use of “snail mail” is definitely declining. The question to pose is perhaps “Do we still need the Post Office?”.