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US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery 582

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-more-nail dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Postal Service has been losing billions of dollars each year as Americans increasingly rely on online communications that drive down mail volumes. Now, Reuters reports that the Postal Service plans to drop Saturday delivery of first-class mail by August, saving $2 billion per year. 'The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits,' says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. But the Postal Service is already facing some pushback for moving forward with delivery schedule changes. 'Today's announcement by Postmaster General Donahoe to eliminate six-day delivery is yet another death knell for the quality service provided by the U.S. Postal Service,' says Jeanette Dwyer, president of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. 'To erode this service will undermine the Postal Service's core mission and is completely unacceptable.' Package deliveries will continue under the new plan and were a bright spot in a bleak 2012 fiscal year, with package revenue rising 8.7 percent during the year. Donahoe says the changes would allow the Postal Service to continue benefiting from rising package deliveries as Americans order more products from sites such as eBay Inc and Amazon.com Inc."
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US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery

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  • by SydShamino (547793) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:24PM (#42811051)

    Err - that's the plan. Only first class mail is being stopped on Saturdays. If you want something delivered on a Saturday, you can still send it priority or express, and it will still be delivered on a Saturday. That's the second and eighth lines of the summary above.

  • by Ryanrule (1657199) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:34PM (#42811219)

    The usps was set up by the govt, it didnt go asking for funds. Jackass.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:38PM (#42811295)

    Preparing to get a Wooosh! but Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7. The enumerated powers of the Federal Government include establishing Post Offices. Same section establishes paying for a Navy. The privatization of the postal service was either a delegation or abrogation of the responsibilties of Congress, depending if you take your politics straight or with soda. I'm in the abrogation camp, myself.

  • Re:Inconvenient (Score:5, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:43PM (#42811353) Homepage
    Do what they do in Canada. Place your "Post-Office" inside a pharmacy, and staff it as long as the pharmacy is open (usually pretty late). The staff of the post office is actually the staff of the pharmacy, who can do things like stock shelves during the times when nobody needs the post office services. The post office pays the pharmacy to run the service, but still saves a bunch of money, because they don't have to rent their own space, and pay employees full time when most of the time there's nothing for them to do.
  • by tilante (2547392) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:45PM (#42811401)

    Well, some of us actually read the whole summary, and thus see that Saturday package deliveries aren't being cut out. So it's not going to affect getting packages at all.

  • by ApharmdB (572578) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:53PM (#42811507)
    https://www.catalogchoice.org/ [catalogchoice.org] - I've been using the free part of the service for a while now and I get vastly less junk mail than I used to. Not having the extra volume to deal with is worth the time it takes to use the website.
  • by owski (222689) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @02:53PM (#42811519)

    That means someone in a cabin that is a 10 mile boat-ride - the post office does this sort of stuff.

    No they don't. You don't have to be too far off the beaten track to require that your mail be picked up at the post office. You haven't lived in a rural area before, have you?

  • by gQuigs (913879) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:04PM (#42811705) Homepage

    I did http://www.optoutprescreen.com/ [optoutprescreen.com] and it stopped the majority of the most annoying junk mail. The kind that might let someone start a credit card in my name if they intercept it....

    More options are here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email [ftc.gov]

    I have yet to try dmachoice, has anyone tried it?

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:16PM (#42811885) Homepage Journal
    Part of the problem is that the 1st class mail is being used to subsidize bulk mail and as a result as 1st class mail gets sent less and less the subsidy has become insufficient to cover the cost.
    Ooops, you got that backwards. Bulk Mail prices subsidize first class delivery. But other than that, yes I agree that the prices on bulk mail should go up.
  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by poofmeisterp (650750) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:31PM (#42812111) Journal

    What? Really? All I can say is finally! Waaaaaaaaaayyy less junk mail will get to me and everyone else now (99% of mail I get is junk -- goes right from my mail box straight into the recycling) Sure, there's probably some poor people who depend on this extra day of mail (I know we kinda did as I was growing up), but too bad...

    What the......?

    This only means that a larger chunk of mail (AND junk mail) will arrive on Monday now.

    Need some coffee?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:42PM (#42812249)

    Actually, it's a Constitutionally-granted monopoly.

    But you knew that. And you know it's not on 'letters', it's on post boxes. The same ones that fall under the universal service obligation.

    But, those would be adult arguments, and your tone suggests you want to have a different type of discussion.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaden42 (466735) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @03:50PM (#42812343)

    No, but they could die (or at least suffer harm) if the mail was something like insulin or heart medication.

    Merrly being snarky does not make a convincing argument.

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/06/16869665-wait-a-minute-mr-postman-new-mail-delivery-schedule-raises-eyebrows?lite [nbcnews.com]

    The Postmaster General has already confirmed that mail-order medicine will continue to be delivered on Saturday.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thorodin (1999352) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:16PM (#42812701)
    The US Postal Service does not get any money from the federal government and has not since President Nixon made it quasi-private. In fact, they have had to pay back to the fed's billions of dollars for pensions. That's one of the reasons they keep losing money. They actually overpaid by a few hundred million and Congress refuses to return the money.
  • It's a sordid tale. (Score:2, Informative)

    by jvonk (315830) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @04:26PM (#42812843)

    The real problem is that the government is forcing the USPS to do the right thing—to fund their previously-unfunded pension liabilities—for the wrong reasons (ie. to abscond with the money and to replace it with another unfunded liability).

    If you follow the money, you will see that the federal government is forcing the USPS to "fund" their pension liabilities *now* and turn that money over to the federal government for "safekeeping". The USPS pension is therefore carried as a liability for the federal government, and the USPS money is used to offset part of the current year's deficit. Yes, that means the money is spent right away, by the federal government, on general budget items.

    Thus, the USPS is trading their previous unfunded liability (ie. their pension underfunding) for another (the ability of the federal government to pay out once these postal employees retire). The USPS money is already *gone*.

    It's the Social Security Trust Fund debacle in a microcosm. The SS Trust Fund doesn't really exist—it's merely a notional bookkeeping exercise that could vanish with the stroke of a pen. The special-issue Treasury bonds that form the SSTF (the debt the SSA eventually plans to redeem to pay retiree benefits) must be fulfilled by the federal government by raising general tax revenue. Right now, the SSA is rolling over that debt continuously as it matures. Eventually they will stop rolling it over and want it redeemed, which must come from general revenue, or selling more government debt to the Chinese/whoever. It's much the same issue with the USPS, because their pension is now backed by the future, worthless full faith and credit of the United States government.

    "We promise we'll give back the money we took from you, just as soon as you need it. It will be there, we swear... even though we currently spend 160% of our income every year and already spent all the money you handed over to us too. Sorry, we just can't trust you to be responsible with that money & responsibility. I'm sure you understand..."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @05:56PM (#42814053)

    >Really? Name... 10.

    Danny Davis
    John McHugh
    Henry Waxman
    Thomas Davis

    That's four. I could come up with a few hundred more, but unfortunately at the time it was a vocal vote and records were not kept (conveniently).

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Americano (920576) on Wednesday February 06, 2013 @07:08PM (#42814883)

    You have it *exactly* backwards. The Bulk mail is what subsidizes cheap first class letter delivery. Or did you really think that sending a stack of photos and a couple page letter from door to door across the country to your dear Aunt Martha ONLY costs 50 cents? The bulk mail is generally pre-sorted by the sender, and requires nearly zero processing by the post office - it is simply given to the carriers to deliver. Your hand-addressed envelope with chicken scratched addressing information, on the other hand, must be handled every step of the way, and costs the USPS far more than the 50 cents that you paid to send it.

    The USPS does a "better job of cost control" because it cannot raise prices without the approval of the Postal Regulatory Commission, and it has a legal obligation to provide universal service at "affordable rates." And that's why it's been hemorrhaging money - because the USPS provides services that cost FAR more than they can take in according to their rate charts, and they can't just raise prices to eliminate the shortfall like FedEx and UPS can.

    Given a budget of X and expenses of Y (for values of Y > X), your only options to keep functioning are to raise rates to offset the budget shortfall, or cut expenses so you're not overspending - and if you're the post office, one major way to cut expenses by eliminating delivery days.

    Raise money for junk mail, and you'll see the volume of junk mail decline rapidly, because it becomes cheaper to advertise online, or on TV, or on the radio. When that happens, I guarantee their shortfall will require a lot more than eliminating one day of delivery service.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by meglon (1001833) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @12:39AM (#42817265)

    Trouble is, largely due to the govt unions...the actual downsizing in PEOPLE will likely not happen to the extent it should.

    No.

    The trouble is, we have a large contingency of elected people who have been intentionally trying to subvert the proper functioning of government for 30 years, and this is just one more way they are trying to do it. No company funds 75 years worth of retirement payments ahead, and for conservative fucktards in congress to pass legislation to force the post office to do so is nothing more than an intentional attempt to destroy USPS' ability to function.

    At the same time, congress has refused to allow USPS to offer services that could generate more income because some of the truly fucking idiotic congress people are on this ideological bullshit meme of "privatization." Privatization always costs more money, because you add an additional layer of cost into the mix... called profit. Here's the rub: UPS and FedEx do not want to take over USPS' mail routes. It would be far too costly for them, and many times those services use USPS resources to move their packages anyway.

    So the "trouble" is: really stupid fucking idiots who don't understand basic business, and hate that our government does ANYTHING for the people of this country.... and the stupid fucking idiots that empower those stupid fucking idiots.

  • Re:Man, oh man! (Score:5, Informative)

    by unitron (5733) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @03:03AM (#42817851) Homepage Journal

    Those who don't believe you should Google "The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006"*, and anybody who doesn't know about it has no business offering an opinion on the current woes of the Postal Service.

    I will quibble that they actually aren't losing money. The 2006 act is taking it from them to fund pensions for employees not yet born.

    *Which really should have been known as "The Republican Plot to Murder the Postal Service in Slow Motion" of 2006.

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