Next time you pour out a little liquor for your homies, pour a little more out for Saturday mail delivery service. The USPS is officially making Saturday a day of rest for its mail carriers.
This move comes amid ongoing staff layoffs, location closures, loan defaults, billion-dollar losses, and budget cutbacks for the postal service. The most recent impasse comes with its plan, revealed today, to cut spending in the service by $2 billion per year.
P.O. boxes will still get Saturday service, and packages will still be delivered. Just regular mail — those lovely bills and Crate & Barrell catalogs — will get the Saturday axe.
The new schedule is slated to begin in August 2013, ample time, USPS says, for its customers to “plan and adjust.” USPS also said it and a group of news organizations polled customers and found that 70 percent were in favor of the plan.
“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 Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General.
“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.”
To be sure, the rise of electronic communications has played some role in the USPS’s painful changes; however, these new modes of communication have been in the works for more than 30 years. What’s more to blame for today’s crises is Congress itself.
As ThinkProgress has repeatedly noted, because Congress requires the service to fund retired employees’ healthcare pensions 75 years out, the USPS is trying to stockpile huge amounts of cash over a ten-year period. According to various analyses, the USPS would be operating at a surplus of $1.5 billion if this stockpile requirement — unique among all government agencies — were removed.
In conclusion, the USPS ain’t all bad; the service is trying to make the best of a bad political situation. And believe it or not, the USPS has its eyes on the future of mail, too; its amazing CES augmented reality demo is a case in point.