Now I'm not a fan of Senator Mark Pryor (D. AR), he's one of my least favorite Democrats in the Senate but he at least made this valid point:WASHINGTON — Faced with billions of dollars in losses, the Postal Service announced on Wednesday that it would seek to stop Saturday delivery of letters, a sweeping change in mail delivery that immediately drew criticism from postal unions, some businesses and lawmakers.
The post office said a five-day mail delivery schedule would begin in August and shave about $2 billion a year from its losses, which were $15.9 billion last year. The Postal Service would continue to deliver packages six days a week, and post offices would still be open on Saturdays. Reducing Saturday delivery is in line with mail services in several other industrialized countries like Australia, Canada and Sweden, which deliver five days a week.
“Our financial condition is urgent,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, the postmaster general, at a news conference announcing the change. “This is too big of a cost savings for us to ignore.” - New York Times, 2/6/13
And Pryor might be onto something here:Last year, the Senate passed—and I supported—a bipartisan postal reform bill to put the U.S. Postal Service back on the road to financial stability. Unfortunately, the House refused to bring our bill to the floor, or offer a bill of their own. Due to the House’s inaction, the Postal Service is now facing crippling deficits.
While I agree the Postal Service needs to cut costs, their plan to end Saturday delivery cannot move forward without Congressional approval. They need to consider alternative measures, such as capping the salaries of their top executives or eliminating bonuses, before making changes that would hurt rural communities who depend on the Postal Service for commerce, news, and necessary goods. That being said, I hope the House will work with the Senate to pass a common-sense postal reform bill that will keep the USPS viable. - Political News, 2/7/13
The move raised immediate legal questions on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers claimed that the Postal Service could not change its delivery schedules without Congressional approval. The post office has made earlier attempts to change the law, only to meet with objections or delays in Congress. Now, seizing a moment when the post office believes the law no longer applies, it moved on its own to shut down Saturday letter delivery. - New York Time, 2/6/13House and Senate Democrats have been echoing Pryor's words:
While three top Republicans on postal oversight panels said they support the move, Representative Jose Serrano, a New York Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said it would be illegal. Frank Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat who heads the Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the agency, said it “circumvents the will of Congress” and the National Association of Letter Carriers union’s president said Donahoe should resign.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. NV) isn't taking Donahue's action to stop Saturday mail delivery lightly either:
“It’s an assertion of leadership on the postmaster general’s part: ‘We’ve got to do this or we risk destroying the enterprise,’” said Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Donahoe yesterday said the service plans to stop Saturday mail the week of Aug. 5, to avoid running out of cash in October as it previously projected. - Bloomberg, 2/7/13
While three top Republicans on postal oversight panels said they support the move, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Donahoe “relied on flawed legal guidance” and can’t eliminate Saturday mail service without congressional approval.But what's Donahue's excuse for going past congress to make this decision?
“The postmaster general’s actions have damaged his reputation with congressional leaders and further complicates congressional efforts to pass comprehensive postal reform legislation in the future,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said today in a statement. - Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/7/13
Postal unions have been arguing against Donahue's actions. Cutting Saturday delivery service would eliminate 22,500 jobs. So what action will be taken?He said the service decided it can ignore language, first placed in appropriations law in 1981, requiring it to deliver mail six days a week, because it receives its money from Congress differently than other U.S. agencies do. The Postal Service is supposed to support itself through postage sales and other services while Congress provides less than 0.1 percent of the postal budget. - Bloomberg, 2/7/13
The Postal Regulatory Commission, the service’s regulator, may review the change, Chairman Ruth Goldway said in an interview yesterday.Saturday package delivery will still continue and business like EBay and Amazon won't be hurt by this decision. Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc., thinks this decision will actually help companies like Amazon and EBay:
Goldway, in a 2011 interview, said the revenue lost from cutting Saturday delivery wouldn’t be worth the savings. A commission review that year estimated cutting Saturday delivery would save $1.7 billion a year, not the $3.1 billion the Postal Service estimated at the time.
Congress has limited leverage against Donahoe’s move because the Postal Service largely funds itself, Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a policy research organization in Washington, said in an interview. Lawmakers probably won’t succeed if they ask a court to bar it, he said.
“It sure seems to me the fiduciary duty of the Postal Service is to protect its financial viability,” Ornstein said. - Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/7/13
“I think this could actually increase the opportunity for EBay and Amazon to expand their same-day delivery pilots,” Luria said in an e-mail.I understand we live in a digital age where print journalism is a dying brand but still, I for one feel we need to keep Saturday mail delivery services open. Especially if you're living pay check to pay check and can't afford to wait until after the weekend. I'm not sure what the next step is in preventing this from happen. I understand if the postal service needs to find ways to cut costs to make it more solvent but ending mail delivery services on Saturdays just isn't a bright idea.
Magazine publishers may have to close work on magazines earlier to get them to subscribers before the end of the week, which could increase costs, said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, based in New York.
“We’ve been anticipating these changes for a while and we will make adjustments in our operations to minimize the impact to our customers,” said Teri Everett, a spokeswoman for Time Inc., the largest U.S. magazine publisher. “Our all-access and digital subscribers can already get our magazine content on tablets as early as Thursday.” - Bloomberg Buisnesswekk, 2/7/13