The Postal Service Is Losing Billions! Is It Worth Saving?

Do you still mail letters to family members across the country and if so, how often?  Do you still get a paper copy of your utility and credit card bills mailed to you?  The answers to both of those questions are most likely to be  “no” or “not very often”.  That is the problem facing the United States Postal Service (USPS).

An increasing number of Americans and people around the world can pay their bills, send pictures, notes, and letters to friends and families with just a click of a button on a computer.

Earlier this year, the Postal Service released its five-year business plan to Congress asking for help with its financial problems.  The USPS recorded a $3.3 billion loss, that’s BILLION, in the final three months of 2011.

The proposed plan would save the USPS about $20 billion over the next five years, but it needs Congress’ help.

Last week, the Senate voted 62-37 to give the near bankrupt agency an $11 billion cash infusion while delaying some changes the Postal Service asked for in its proposal.  That money will be used to keep the USPS out of bankruptcy and fund buyouts to 100,000 postal employees.

However, the USPS is not happy.  It wanted to close several post offices (3,700) and mail processing facilities (up to 252), which the USPS says would save $6.5 billion a year.  The USPS also wanted to do away with Saturday mail delivery.

The Postal Service’s board of governors says, “It is totally inappropriate in these economic times to keep unneeded facilities open. There is simply not enough mail in our system today.  It is also inappropriate to delay the implementation of five-day delivery.”

The Senate approved bill will only close 125 mail processing centers and it will allow more locations to keep overnight first-class mail delivery for at least three more years. It would also protect rural post offices for at least a year and forbid cuts to Saturday delivery for two years.

The issue now goes to the House.

Now, here’s my take on this matter.  I don’t want anyone to lose their jobs, especially in today’s economic climate.  However, I disagree with some of the Senate proposals and I agree with some of the proposals made by the USPS.

The Postal Service is becoming more and more obsolete.  While I know there are many, especially older people, that still send letters, mail their bills, and still write checks (that’s another pet peeve of mine — use a debit card!!), most people use their computers for these services and it’s much faster.

Now that I’m not sending out resume tapes, the only time I use the post office is to send an occasional birthday card and my Christmas cards.  I love sending Christmas cards and I usually send out around 140.

In the new plan proposed by the USPS, it wants to raise the price of a first-class postage stamp from 45 cents to 50 cents!  It says by doing that, it would generate $1 billion a year in new revenue!!

That’s a lot of new money.  However, I know that if the price of a stamp goes up to 50 cents, it will likely lose me as a customer sending out Christmas cards.  While I know that’s just $70 from little old me, I also know that the number of people sending out Christmas cards over the past few years is also declining.  And, the Christmas mailing season is usually a profitable period for the Postal Service.

And, finally, this is for the Senate.  STOP SATURDAY MAIL SERVICE NOW!

If I don’t get my “Entertainment Weekly” until Monday, I will survive.  If a business is losing money staying open longer hours, then maybe it should cut hours.  That’s why Saturday service needs to go and not wait two years for that to happen.

That’s my two cents.  Actually, I may need those pennies to pay for the first-class stamp increase when it happens.

I’ll leave you with this look at the price increase of first class stamps, on this date, over the past 50 years:  1962 (4 cents); 1972 (8 cents); 1982 (20 cents); 1992 (29 cents); 2002 (34 cents); 2012 (45 cents); ??? (50 cents)


6 responses to this post.

  1. Look at it this way, postal stamps going up 5 cents could U drive to where it’s going for 5 cents?. I know it seems like alot but this is how I look at it when they say they are going up,,,the forever stamp stays the same..I think I will find out. I still mail all my stuf…I don’t go online. I still write checks but I also use my debit card. Like everything else all keeps going up but the wages:( Thanks for posting this…..


  2. Wanda,

    Good point about the Forever stamp. I’ll do my part to say the USPS!

    I agree that five cents is not a lot of money, especially when you don’t use it that much. My beef is that I know there are more cost effective ways to save millions and billions. But, I don’t think it’s raising the prices and driving people away.

    I’m glad you use your debit card! It kills me when people are writing checks in front of me at the store, especially when some stores hand them back to you after they scan them. 🙂



  3. Posted by Lisa on April 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Call me “old school”, but I still write checks to pay the bills and I still mail the bills, cards, letters, etc… My kids, however, not so much.LOL


  4. Posted by Kathy Markham McCoy on April 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Oh Anthony, I just KNEW we had a lot in common, lol! I am just stunned when someone in front of me in the store line pulls out a checkbook, & Lord help ’em if it’s in the express lane! 🙂 I moved a little over a year ago. I called my bank & asked if crossing out my old address & writing in the new would be ok, as I don’t write many checks. They said it was, so I still have the majority of the first book of checks I ever got from the account. They work just fine on the rare occasion I have to use one, but otherwise it’s debit card all the time.

    My check is direct deposited, I pay the few bills I have either over the phone with debit card or online billpay/auto withdrawl, I even have an online account to write a friend who is incarcerated in Anamosa (hung with the wrong crowd, got caught up in garbage). I DO look forward to his weekly “snail mail” letter, but now the DOC is setting up outgoing service to those who are registered. So soon I will get even HIS letters online (they have a kiosk just for writing, not allowed on internet).

    I could certainly live without Saturday delivery. I like to send greeting cards through the USPS, and have an uncle who collects postage stamps, so those things might suffer. But I agree…let the business take the cost-cutting matters they want.


  5. Kathy,

    I just wish the politicians and people who oppose the changes would realize these proposals are cost-cutting efforts, not the elimination of the USPS.

    I still mail packages every once in a while and I want my magazines. However, five days of mail service is enough for me!



  6. Posted by Cinchy on April 11, 2013 at 7:00 am

    We hardly mail anything …. I don’t need Saturday service !


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