Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

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)

Anthony