USPS definitely killing that plan to end Saturday delivery

posted at 2:41 pm on April 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

With the realities of technology and competition slowly but surely rendering much of their ‘business model’ obsolete, the U.S. Postal Service is on the strugglebus. The ‘self-supporting’ government enterprise managed to run up a deficit of $16 billion in 2012 alone, prompting them to once again look for ways in which they might be able to cut costs and raise more money. Some ideas have been better than others, but at least one tiny savings device came in the form of ending Saturday deliveries, a plan they estimated could have saved them about $2 billion annually and hoped to implement before the end of this summer. It wouldn’t even come remotely close to substantively addressing the Postal Service’s systemic problems, but hey, it might have at least produced some savings rather than nothing — and they would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids in Congress.

The U.S. Postal Service on Wednesday said it will delay a cost-cutting plan to end Saturday mail delivery, following congressional action that blocked the effort. …

“By including restrictive language in the Continuing Resolution, Congress has prohibited implementation of a new national delivery schedule,” the agency said in a statement. “The board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule. The board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time.”

Perhaps one fear in the motivation-mix is that the implementation of the Saturday-delivery shutdown will make it look like the USPS is doing a lot to control costs, when really, it doesn’t amount to that much at all; in a similar but larger context, that feels like the way President Obama is once again using the idea in his budget, proposing a bunch of small-bore cuts that look pretty big and impactful to make it seem like the federal government is doing a lot to clamp down on deficit spending:

Even as it adds fuel to battles over taxes and Social Security, President Barack Obama’s budget will reprise lots of smaller bore proposals that have gone nowhere in a gridlocked Washington. …

Efforts for a “grand bargain” on the budget between Obama and Congress have proven elusive, however, and stand-alone attempts to advance the proposals – including cutting farm subsidies and overhauling the Postal Service – have bogged down as well. …

And legislation to stem losses by the Postal Service by allowing it to cut Saturday delivery and close facilities has to pass through a gantlet of unions and lawmakers worried of shuttering facilities in their districts and states.

But in the meantime, Postal Service reform continues to move slowly, while it’s the subject of entrenched special-interests status in the halls of Congress. Womp.


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Comments

Guess that new clothin line of theirs worked like gangbusters…

catmman on April 10, 2013 at 2:43 PM

We’re saved! I was getting pretty desperate thinking my daily delivery of crap-mail might not get here 6 days a week.

Bishop on April 10, 2013 at 2:44 PM

…. when we cannot even cut the delivery of junk mail?

We are lost

jake-the-goose on April 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

USPS definitely killing that forced by Congress to kill plan to end Saturday delivery

Fixed!

Dusty on April 10, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Wow amazing, They would rather be insolvent and broke, than work 4 days a week.

Idiots!

TX-96 on April 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

If 5-day delivery won’t work, let’s try 3-day delivery. Mon-Wed-Fri would be plenty.

petefrt on April 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I should wrap a chain around my mailbox on Saturdays.

D-fusit on April 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I’d like to see how far de-unionizing their work force would get them.

LukeinNE on April 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Somebody needs to explain to me why we need mail on Saturday. The Postal Union ads keep talking about the lifeline it provides in rural areas but I don’t get it. Surely even those living on farms don’t need to get mail six days a week.

This definitely has union written all over it. Fewer days delivery, less union letter carriers, sorters, and assorted hangers on.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

…. when we cannot even cut the delivery of junk mail?

We are lost

jake-the-goose on April 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Hey! Speak for yourself. It isn’t Saturday without getting a Williams-Sonoma catalog.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2013 at 2:53 PM

This is ridiculous. The USPS is one of the best distribution networks in the world. They should expand their business model to include products and services from local businesses.

John the Libertarian on April 10, 2013 at 2:53 PM

I’d like to see how far de-unionizing their work force would get them.

LukeinNE on April 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Depends on the “them.” The USPS organization….. pretty far, especially with a massive realignment. The USPS union/ personnel system…. not so good.

Happy Nomad on April 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

How did we ever imagine that a business controlled by Congress could be profitable, to do anything but waste money is against their nature.

DFCtomm on April 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

NALC 1 , Americans 0.

Yeah keep thinking that Unions are on the decline and their power is waning. Saturday delivery is an easy cost saver. Freakin no-brainer easy.

But that hits the NALC where they’d rather not be hit.

FlaMurph on April 10, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Last time I looked, one of the things that the Constitution requires the Federal government to do is to maintain a postal system. As a result, I don’t have an issue with the gov’t dumping money into the USPS, unlike Obamacare, Amtrak, ethanol, public sector unions and all the other junk the gov’t wastes taxpayer money on.

CO2FeedsUsAll on April 10, 2013 at 3:01 PM

I wish I could opt out of Saturday delivery. Or all the other days of the week as well.
My postman doesn’t like me. I leave my mail in the mailbox as long as I can. Sometimes I get important stuff, but never anything I need to read or act on right away.

22044 on April 10, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Well, they’re still getting their new uniforms clothing line.

So there’s that.

Marcola on April 10, 2013 at 3:08 PM

This is ridiculous. The USPS is one of the best distribution networks in the world. They should expand their business model to include products and services from local businesses.

John the Libertarian on April 10, 2013 at 2:53 PM

And what local business do you know that has an actual product?

DFCtomm on April 10, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Hello, Newwwwwwwwwwwwwman.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM

We’re going to need the postal service, to deliver those pain-killing drugs when the IPAB recommends that we are no longer of service to the State.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 10, 2013 at 3:13 PM

This is ridiculous. The USPS is one of the best distribution networks in the world. They should expand their business model to include products and services from local businesses.

John the Libertarian on April 10, 2013 at 2:53 PM

/ needed?

22044 on April 10, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Hello, Newwwwwwwwwwwwwman.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 10, 2013 at 3:11 PM

“OK, you’re right…nobody really needs mail.”

22044 on April 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Wait until we have to close an obsolete hospital.Then all chaos shall rule the day.

Tekov Yahoser on April 10, 2013 at 3:16 PM

My package that they were supposed to deliver over a month ago still hasn’t arrived. Must be the sequester.

joekenha on April 10, 2013 at 3:16 PM

You mean a union-dominated shop can’t compete in a free market?

Who knew?

Now, if we can just convince Congress we no longer want to subsidize it . . .

Adjoran on April 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM

The same entity that runs this ongoing fiasco has decreed that it needs – just NEEDS – to take over your health insurance.

They can’t even deliver letters without a multi-billion dollar fiscal crisis, but they certainly won’t make the same mistakes with management of every citizen’s most personal and important health decisions.

You stupid wingnutz.

Good Lt on April 10, 2013 at 3:25 PM

As one of the few Constitutionaly enumerated things the government does, I see no reason why the USPS should be required to “make” money in the first place. Someone please tell me why it should and the Military doesn’t? OR ANY OTHER GOV’T FUNCTION?

Until then, please stop all the anti USPS posts. Everyone has some anecdotal story about a letter or postal issue and that somehow makes everyone an expert on how to run the business. But I see 99% idiocy on these USPS threads.

BierManVA on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

My package that they were supposed to deliver over a month ago still hasn’t arrived. Must be the sequester.

Somewhere, it joins hundreds of other undelivered parcels of mail which fills the apartment of a disgruntled postal worker.

hawkeye54 on April 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

We could save even more money if we cut out mail service six days a week and only had it delivered on Wednesdays. Oh, please, stop whining, those of you who want it delivered more! What do you need so desperately that it can’t wait a few days?

After we save money from the post office, we can then turn to the public schools. You say you want to save money by trimming fat teacher pensions and unnecessary administrative overhead? Why go to all that trouble when we can just declare Fridays automatic holidays? That’s right, I went through the numbers and found that we can save fifty zillion dollars if we change to a four-day school week. So let’s get on that right away, shall we? By the way, anyone against my two proposals is a prodigal spendthrift who’s not thinking straight.

These kinds of arguments I just wrote out above may be logical, but they lead to a devolution of our culture and wealth. The problem isn’t that we have too much mail service. The problem lies in the unions and government monopolies which are driving us bankrupt.

Let me just remind those who don’t really care whether mail is delivered Saturdays because it doesn’t affect you personally: what are you going to do when some other diminished public service does affect you personally but you’re outvoted because it’s not the concern of enough others?

Burke on April 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

I check my mailbox once a week so I’m in support of once-a-week delivery.

Hat Trick on April 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Wait…you mean the USPS still delivers mail?

Who knew?

(most of what I get is junk anyway, days can go by without a single piece of useful mail)

Bob's Kid on April 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

(most of what I get is junk anyway, days can go by without a single piece of useful mail)

Same here. I wouldn’t even mind mail delivery only MWF.

hawkeye54 on April 10, 2013 at 3:55 PM

There was a funny cartoon somewhere when the Saturday proposal was announced…

http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=93267

We see the same thing on cutting unneeded military bases or local hospitals…”cuts are needed, just don’t cut mine”.

teejk on April 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

As one of the few Constitutionaly enumerated things the government does, I see no reason why the USPS should be required to “make” money in the first place. Someone please tell me why it should and the Military doesn’t? OR ANY OTHER GOV’T FUNCTION?

Until then, please stop all the anti USPS posts. Everyone has some anecdotal story about a letter or postal issue and that somehow makes everyone an expert on how to run the business. But I see 99% idiocy on these USPS threads.

BierManVA on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Actually, the exact wording from Article 8 of the Constitution is: “To Establish Posts Offices and Post Roads”.

It says nothing about actually delivering the mail itself as a government function, only that it establish post offices and ensure there are “post roads” available to deliver said mail to said post offices. it doesn’t even say the government would have to own or maintain the post offices, only that they establish them (ie. ensure they exists). It doesn’t require the government to deliver the mail between those post offices itself, nor require those post offices to deliver the mail directly to anyone’s residence or business.

As long as the government ensures that a “post office” exists as a physical location for the delivery of mail, and roads exist to connect those post offices, that’s all it’s required to do. If the government wanted to, it could contract all the delivery of mail between post offices out to a private contractor, and it could even contract out the maintaining and operating of the post offices themselves, as long as it ensured those offices were kept running, and still be within it’s Constitutional mandate. In fact, it wasn’t until 1863 that free household delivery was established in larger cities, and not until the early 20th century that smaller cities and more rural areas received free delivery direct to residences and businesses.

And frankly, it’s only by Congressional law-making that the USPS maintains a monopoly on mail delivery. It rightly made those laws under it’s Constitutional power to establish post offices, but the Constitution doesn’t require the federal government to have a monopoly on mail delivery or the use of mailboxes.

That said, you are correct that there is not requirement that the USPS be profitable. But it isn’t even breaking even now. Although, maybe if the government weren’t spending tons of money on things not directly authorized by the Constitution, it would easily have the money to operate the USPS without operating at a loss.

gravityman on April 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Until then, please stop all the anti USPS posts. Everyone has some anecdotal story about a letter or postal issue and that somehow makes everyone an expert on how to run the business. But I see 99% idiocy on these USPS threads.

BierManVA on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

yes, that may be…..

But you really can’t do without a Saturday Mail Delivery ?
Seriously?

FlaMurph on April 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

As one of the few Constitutionaly enumerated things the government does, I see no reason why the USPS should be required to “make” money in the first place. Someone please tell me why it should and the Military doesn’t? OR ANY OTHER GOV’T FUNCTION?

Until then, please stop all the anti USPS posts. Everyone has some anecdotal story about a letter or postal issue and that somehow makes everyone an expert on how to run the business. But I see 99% idiocy on these USPS threads.

BierManVA on April 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Could you clarify? Is the Post Office a business or not?

Ronnie on April 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM

petefrt on April 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I think that would be a great idea – a coworker and I were just talking about that today.

batter on April 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

gravityman on April 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Beautifully considered and expressed, gravityman.

Burke on April 10, 2013 at 5:30 PM

If 5-day delivery won’t work, let’s try 3-day delivery. Mon-Wed-Fri would be plenty.

petefrt on April 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Seeing as I only get my mail from the mailbox at the complex 2 days a week; this would work for me.

Nothing in there I need “right now” anyhow… that isn’t how you ship something you need to track and concern yourself with.

gekkobear on April 10, 2013 at 5:49 PM

So the government gets involved in a failing business, basically keeping them from correcting business problems which amounts to billions in losses. I guess that the taxpayers will be bailing the USPS out next. What a crock. If a business wants to make cuts to save money, and the government tells you not to do so, well, America has a huge problem.

F_This on April 10, 2013 at 6:37 PM

What alot of people are forgetting or don’t know in the first place is that a couple of years ago Congress made the PO fully fund all the pensions for the next 75 yrs then went and “borrowed” that money from them. Congress could y’know just pay them back.

But they won’t.

JohnBrown on April 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Just provide backup funding for the USPS. Forbid them from taking bulk mail, or raise the price to first class postage. Then Forbid obama and family from using Air Force 1 for personal vacations and political travel at an unrealistically reduced rate. Just think, one of obama’s golf games could fund Saturday deliveries for a month.

Old Country Boy on April 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM

What alot of people are forgetting or don’t know in the first place is that a couple of years ago Congress made the PO fully fund all the pensions for the next 75 yrs then went and “borrowed” that money from them. Congress could y’know just pay them back.

But they won’t.

JohnBrown on April 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Exactly. This is nothing to do with good business practices or staying competitive. Stopping saturday delivery was part of paying for the USPS pension obligations. Obviously, they found a way round that. Anyone know how?

virgo on April 13, 2013 at 2:14 PM