Saturday delivery is just the beginning

Friday February 8, 2013

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donohue is likely correct that most Americans support his efforts to trim costs by dropping Saturday delivery to businesses by August.

It would save the Postal Service $2 billion a year.

Most Americans realize that the Postal Service's annual losses are unsustainable, and that in a nation that embraced a five-day workweek nearly a century ago, Saturday deliveries are archaic.

In its last budget year (which ended on Sept. 30), the Postal Service posted a loss of $15.9 billion. That was triple the previous year's loss of $5.1 billion.

Email and online payment services have drastically cut the use of first-class mail, which severely cuts into the Postal Service's revenues.

But the big drag on the Postal Service's budget, reported the Associated Press, is the cost of retiree health benefits. Those benefits, demanded by unions, accounted for $11.1 billion -- or 70 percent of the overall loss in its last budget year.

Postal and union officials say it is unfair of Congress to require the service to set aside money for these benefits. But in a nation where unfunded liabilities for retiree benefits top $1 trillion, it's simply prudent.

Postal workers are doing a fine job. The problem is that this government-sponsored enterprise doesn't make enough money to cover its costs.

Managers have reduced the work force by 28 percent since 2006. That's a whopping 193,000 jobs. And the Postal Service has trimmed annual costs by $15 billion.

But the fact remains that to balance its books last year, the Postal Service had to borrow another $15 billion from taxpayers, who frankly borrowed much of that money as part of the $1.2 trillion deficit Washington posted last year.

It's obvious that ending Saturday delivery is only one of the steps that need to be taken to balance the Postal Services' books. ~The Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions