Postal Service Drops Plan To End Saturday Delivery

Thanks once again to the interference of Congress, the Postal Service has dropped it’s plan to end Saturday mail delivery:

The struggling U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is backing away from its plan to cancel Saturday mail delivery, saying recent congressional action gave them no choice.

USPS’s Board of Governors said in a Wednesday statement that it still backed the agency’s plan to no longer deliver letters and other pieces of first-class mail six days a week, a move the Postal Service says will save some $2 billion a year

But the board said that the passage of a stopgap spending measure last month – which kept language mandating six-day delivery – had tied USPS’s hands.

“Although disappointed with this Congressional action, the board will follow the law and has directed the Postal Service to delay implementation of its new delivery schedule until legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule,” the postal board of governors said in a statement.

“The board believes that Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time.”

USPS, which is currently bleeding some $25 million a day, would have continued to move packages – a rare bright spot in the agency’s bottom line – under their modified delivery plan, which was announced in February and was to go into effect in August.

As I’ve said before, I see no reason why Congress should be dictating business practices like this. If the USPS believes that it is prudent to restructure by eliminating Saturday delivery, they should be as free as any other business to make that decision.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Economics and Business, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    “I see no reason why Congress should be dictating business practices like this. If the USPS believes that it is prudent to restructure by eliminating Saturday delivery, they should be as free as any other business to make that decision.”

    I find it more outrageous that Congress is requiring the USPS to follow pension practices that no other entity follows, and without which it would largely be solvent:

    “The PAEA stipulates that the USPS is to make payments of $5.4 – $5.8 billion into the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, each year, from 2007 to 2016 in order to prefund 75 years of estimated costs. This requirement also explicitly stated that the USPS was to stop using its savings to reduce postal debt, which was stipulated in Postal Civil Service Retirement System Funding Reform Act of 2003. This is in addition to deductions from pay for federal contribution to social services. This pre-funding method is unique to the USPS.”

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thanks once again to the interference of Congress,

    And you wonder why we can’t have a balanced budget?

  3. Tyrell says:

    We never get much mail here on Saturdays, usually just ads from the local store. If I go to the doctor on Saturday, I pay more. If someone or a business wants Saturday delivery, let them pay more.

  4. If the USPS believes that it is prudent to restructure by eliminating Saturday delivery, they should be as free as any other business to make that decision.

    Hell, when you put it in “freedom” terms……..I should be free to send mail on Saturday without some penny-pinching bureaucrat telling me no!

    On a serious note….oh well they can’t drop Saturday delivery. They’re a service. Cutting Saturday delivery might save them some money, but it will also make them less useful. If the hope is to save a couple bucks, hey, great.

    But you wouldn’t pull all your teeth to save money on dentists. I mean, you could….but it would be idiotic. Same thing here.

  5. mantis says:

    As I’ve said before, I see no reason why Congress should be dictating business practices like this.

    They want to force the USPS to lose more money so they can eliminate it entirely. That’s the reason.

  6. KariQ says:
  7. grumpy realist says:

    I haven’t figured out exactly what Congress wants out of the Postal Service. Do they want to get rid of it entirely? Then they’re going to get slammed hard by all the rural voters who are discovering that Fed Ex will only deliver to them at the cheap cost of $200/package (because the “last mile” provider won’t be around.)

    Both Fed Ex and UPS continue to use the USPS as the “last mile” delivery service, essentially free-riding on top of the USPS’s network of mail deliveries. So I imagine that they might have something to say about this as well….

    I’m surprised the libertarians haven’t spoken up more on this matter: “It’s very obvious: if you want to have the luxury of living in a location with a small population density, you’re going to have to pay more, per person, for all those services you take for granted. Like roads, telephone service, electricity, mail services…. Why should those of us who are urban dwellers have to subsidize those who live out 200 miles from nowhere? “

  8. stonetools says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I’m surprised the libertarians haven’t spoken up more on this matter: “It’s very obvious: if you want to have the luxury of living in a location with a small population density, you’re going to have to pay more, per person, for all those services you take for granted. Like roads, telephone service, electricity, mail services…. Why should those of us who are urban dwellers have to subsidize those who live out 200 miles from nowhere?

    All of the indepedent-minded, rural,small government conservatives turn into communitarians when it comes to rural post delivery and Saturday service. Usually they’re “Screw the cities” and “I want to live out here in the wide open spaces, where I can be free, not like those urban sheeple.” When it comes to the Post Office, though, its “Don’t forget the social compact.”

    For Republicans, its all about the senior vote. Those Social Security checks have to get there on time. Eventually, I think Republican hatred of unions will have to yield to their dependence on the senior vote, so I expect some day soon we’ll see a deal on USPO pensions.

  9. @grumpy realist:

    I’m surprised the libertarians haven’t spoken up more on this matter: “It’s very obvious: if you want to have the luxury of living in a location with a small population density, you’re going to have to pay more, per person, for all those services you take for granted. Like roads, telephone service, electricity, mail services…. Why should those of us who are urban dwellers have to subsidize those who live out 200 miles from nowhere?

    Since rural deliveries get more mail per stop than city deliveries, Saturday rural service loses no more money than Saturday city delivery service — they are pretty much equal opportunity cost sinks. There is no cross subsidy city vs. rural. Oh, sorry, I am injecting some actual financial and economic facts into the discussion. Please forgive me for breaking the rules.

  10. I see no reason why Congress should be dictating business practices like this.

    When the Democrats elect idiots like Jon Tester to the US Senate, who believes there is a constitutional right to mail delivery, what else can you expect?

  11. Can’t understand why the socialists think that our children and grandchildren should be paying for Postal Service pensions as it fades out of business (as it must over time due to long term declines in volume and revenue) instead of having the big mailers who generate the overwhelming majority of mail volume, like Time Inc., Lands End, Amazon, LL Bean, big banks, the telecoms, gas companies, electric companies and water and sewer companies, foot the bill. One of the answers to what ails the Postal Service is a big splat increase in rates.

  12. Rob in CT says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    Interesting, if true. Source?

  13. Rob in CT says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    On the subject of pensions – a pension is deferred compensation. Now, it may be that the management of the postal service was foolish to agree to said pensions. But they did. What’s your position? Contracts are sacred unless they’re with workers?

  14. grumpy realist says:

    @Let’s Be Free: Dude, I really doubt your statistics on amount of mail per location it is dropped off. How much mail gets dropped off at our relatively small condo building each day? I estimate 34 times what gets dropped off at one farmhouse out in rural Iowa, because we have 34 units. And let’s not forget that there’s another major difference between rural and urban locations: a LOT OF SPACE.

    So if you want to claim that driving 50 miles takes as much time as my local post guy to walk across the street, be my guest…

    Australia has the right idea: out in the Outback, the mail runs operate once a week.

  15. anjin-san says:

    Can’t understand why the socialists

    Who are these “socialists” you refer to?

  16. KariQ says:

    Can’t understand why the socialists think that our children and grandchildren should be paying for Postal Service pensions as it fades out of business

    Sorry to inject some actual economic and financial facts into the discussion, but one of the sources of the USPS’s problems is that they have been required to pre-pay 75 years worth of pension benefits over 10 years. So our children and grandchildren don’t need to worry about Post Office pensions. They’ve been paid.

  17. Jim M says:

    Convert those pensions to 401K’s and only provide matching as most of corporate America does today. I worked for a company that had a pension and I also had a 401K. They converted over what was in my pension to my 401K dollar for dollar and then let me fun it as a 401K. That took them out of the obligation later on as a pension. They could do that..Also I could live with mail running 2-3 time a week if not once a week. If they cannot afford to operate then they wont be around or will always be in the red ink.