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US Postal Service logo
The cancellation of Saturday mail delivery has been blocked by the continuing resolution Congress passed in March, and the board of governors of the postal service isn't happy about it. In a statement that reads as if Congress was forcing service cuts, not protecting current levels of service, the board said:
Although disappointed with this Congressional action, 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. The Board also wants to ensure that customers of the Postal Service are not unduly burdened by ongoing uncertainties and are able to adjust their business plans accordingly.
Cutting Saturday delivery of first-class mail doesn't just mean people won't get their Netflix on the weekend. It's another step in implementing a view of the postal service as a business that must be profitable despite a series of constraints placed by politicians that don't want the agency competing with actual businesses. These constraints, from prepayment of retiree health care to prohibitions on the post office offering services like alcohol delivery or online bill paying, virtually ensure that the only way for it to make ends meet is to cut services for customers and jobs or pay for workers. That both sets up a downward spiral for the postal service, as worsening service levels cause people to turn elsewhere for shipping, and hurts the economy as a major employer slashes jobs. It also feeds into the Republican view that there's no such thing as a public good, that every government function should ultimately be privatized at whatever long-term cost to the American people.

Keeping Saturday mail service, for now, isn't remotely the end of this battle. It's not even really a step in the right direction, since the language of crisis remains the dominant way people talk about the postal service. A real step in the right direction would be for more politicians and pundits to start recognizing that the crisis is manufactured.


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Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 10:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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