The U.S. Postal service has announced that it will discontinue the Saturday deliver of mail, except for parcels, in an effort to cut costs.
Most Americans agree with U.S. Postal Service
The announcement, made February 6, says the change will begin on August 1. However, it may meet resistance from Congress, which has not, as yet, approved the change. In a poll, however, 70 percent of Americans approve of the move.
“The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation,” said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. “The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail.”
Postal Service lost $16 billion in 2012
The Postal Service as been in a dire financial for years, and many would like to see it eliminated all together. It lost nearly $16 billion last year, triple it’s losses in 2011. The elimination of Saturday deliveries will save it about $2 billion a year. That will help some, but still is not even close to solving the service’s debt woes.
Email, delivery services stealing business
The rise of electronic communication mediums, as well as delivery services like UPS and FedEx, has cut deeply into the Postal Service’s revenue, with fewer and fewer people using traditional mail. However, some argue that the service serves a vital function for those in rural communities, as well as for those who do not have access to computer devices or Internet connections.
Post offices to remain open
The Saturday delivery of packages will continue, which is still a profitable part of its business. Post offices will also remain open on Saturdays to accommodate customers, but no letters will be delivered to homes.
Without Congressional approval
In the past, Congress has blocked the efforts of the postal service to switch to a five-day delivery schedule. However, now the Postal Service says it will act with or without Congressional approval. Wednesday’s move was a first step in that move.
Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D), a supporter of Postal Service reform, said, “It’s hard to condemn the postmaster general for moving aggressively to do what he believes he can and must do to keep the lights on at the Postal Service.”
Politics of delivery
Others believe that the move is a political one, intended to spark debate for the purpose of preventing Congress from further dragging its heels on the issue of Postal Service reform.