Obama budget backs end of Saturday mail
The president's budget plan would give the US Postal Service the option to end Saturday mail delivery next year.
This post comes from Eric Morath at partner siteThe Wall Street Journal.
Mail delivery would be cut to five days a week under a proposal from President Barack Obama to save the U.S. Postal Service $25 billion over the next 11 years.
The president's budget plan, released Monday, would give the Postal Service the authority to end Saturday delivery in 2013. The agency has proposed that change for several years, but Congress, which would have to approve the change, has so far resisted the move.
The postal system is supposed to operate without taxpayer dollars, but it has been bleeding cash in recent years, forcing the agency to borrow billions from the Treasury Department. Last week, the Postal Service said it lost $3.3 billion from October through December 2011, normally the agency's most profitable time of year.
Obama's proposal also backs several other changes sought under the postmaster general's cost-savings plan, including the return of $10.9 billion in overpayments to the federal retiree system and an easing of rules requiring retiree health care costs to be pre-funded.
Currently, the Postal Service must set aside more than $5 billion per year for retiree health care. Without those obligations, the agency would have been nearly profitable last quarter. Post continues below.
The president's plan, if it were approved, would allow the Postal Service to pay for retiree health care on an accruing cost basis, in line with how other federal agencies meet those obligations. Obama's plan would also give the Postal Service more leeway to increase postage rates.
The proposed changes would provide the agency with billions in cash relief over the next two years. The Postal Service said last week that without changes it could run out of cash as soon as October.
Obama's budget plan, released Monday, serves as both an outline of his re-election campaign message and a blueprint of the White House strategy for another fiscal clash looming after the November elections.
More on The Wall Street Journal and MSN Money:
By having the Post Office cut service to save a few bucks will only lead to its demise. The value of the Postal Service is not generally well understood and the loss will be far greater than anyone expects.
We could be one of the few countries in the world who will not have a postal service. I think I would prefer not that have that happen.
Are we America or are we working towards being a second class country?
The postal service is in financial trouble for a multitude of reasons. The first reason is it has had to overpay pension benefits by $81.9 billion dollars. The second is that Congress has required it to prefund over 50 years of future retiree health benefits in just 10 years. The third involves the mandate of universal delivery. Delivering to just about every address in the USA on a daily basis costs an enormous amount of money. If every delivery was moved to a centralized location, it would save billions upon billions of dollars. You'd have to be inconvenienced, and go down to the corner to open a locked box. UPS and FEDEX pick and choose where they will deliver, and what they will deliver. They do NOT have brick and mortar locations scattered all over the United States. Every week day, UPS backs up to post offices all across the nation, and unloads large numbers of packages. The post office delivers them for UPS.
UPS workers make a lot more money than postal carriers.
The final reason is that Congress makes the post office operate at break even. It cannot raise rates until it has already spent the money. When fuel prices surge, UPS and FEDEX attach a fuel charge. The post office cannot do that. Also, if you allow for currency differences, it costs 54 US cents to mail a letter in Canada, and 70 US cents for the UK. Forty-five cents will still be a bargain.
If Congress were to give the post office back the money it has overpaid to the pension funds, they'd have to drastically cut spending elsewhere. That would mean less for pet projects, and their political agendas. They'd have less money to use for pork, and buy votes. The president
would rather sacrifice the post office than cut the fat out of his proposed budget.
John O...another ignorant child thinking you are an expert on everything. You know why Fed Ex and UPS are so profitable? Because they are allwoed to (and DO) pick and choose what addresses to deliver to. I guess you want people who live in rural areas to not have the same right to mail delivery that city folk have.
If you mail a package via Fed Ex to a place out in the boondocks, chances are they will either say NO outright and tell you to go somehwere else, or they will take your package for a much higher fee and then hand off that package to the US Post Office for the final 50 miles or so...the unprofitable leg of the journey...because they must by LAW deliver to everybody.
They also can (andDO) raise prices any time and as much as they want, and can make a profit tht allows them to weather the storm a bit and overcome some bad downturns in business. The private delivery services are no more efficient than the US Post Office. It is just that they are not subject to the same SEVERE limitations under the Constitution that the USPS is. If they were, they would be failing now too.
I guarantee that if the government told Fed Ex or UPS that they could now start delivering regular mail...but they had to accept ALL mail and deliver it themselves, all at the same rate, they would say "Thanks, but no thanks." They want NO part of having to drive 5 miles each way just to deliver five or six 45 cent letters.
These are honestly some of hte most ignorant comments ever. Cutting Saturday delivery would make us a second class country? REally Tired of Bashing? You DO realize that most countries have NEVER had Saturday delivery, right? And even more have cut it years ago.
Others saying it won't save money? OK..thanks for your business expertise! Your community college "professors" must br proud of all you have learned to be able to make such a statement without doing ANY research with acual data.
Others saying it would cost busiensses hundreds of billions of dollars a year? Wow..another community college C- student. Doesn't even try to back up his silly statements with facts. (because he can't) Bills won't get paid on time? Then ADJUST! If you are stuck in the 20th Century and still mail a check to your collectors every month, just mail it ONE DAY EARLIER. You may not even have to if you are mailing it on a Monday or Tuesday since it will still get there in the same amount of time.
Or worrying about Monday holidays causing people to not get mail for 72 hours? Oh noes! Whatever will they do! If it is a Monday holiday then most businesses are off as well. Just like on Saturdays.
Will be a sad day when Saturday delivery goes and I sure don't see where the savings will be. The weeks mail will simply be packed into 5 days of delivery instead of 6. In addition there will be significant job loss as the "head-count" will further reduce the Post Office workers' numbers. IMHO the first class stamp is one of the biggest bargains around today...for 45 cents I can mail a letter anywhere in the US and have it delivered in a timely manner. You can't buy a can of soda in a vending machine for that.....
It sure is funny how everyone knows how to run this country until it is something that changes their lives then it is a whole different story. Most of the comments on here are based on ignorance. I guess everyone has their opionions, along with other things. If you are not educated in what you are talking about keep your stupidity to yourself.
Financial transactions will not suffer due to a loss of Saturday delivery. The advent of electronic funds transfers can negate the loss in time. If your business hasn't gotten on board, your are behind the times. Even with those banks that have expanded hours to include weekends, all transactions are posted on the next Business day - although cash can exchange hands. The loss of a day for those that have gotten the snail mail movement to a science may be traumatic, but we can adapt, improvise and overcome. As Americans, it's what we do.
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