Editorial: USPS won’t fix problem by ending delivery

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

Sure, times are changing. Some things aren’t what they used to be. But did you ever think that you’d see the day where the mail didn’t come on Saturday?

If the Obama administration’s plan is put into action, that could become a reality.

In an effort to get the United States Postal Service out of debt, the plan includes reducing payrolls, closing processing facilities and canceling Saturday delivery.

If nothing is done, the Postal Service says it won’t be able to deliver mail at all come next summer.

While the government obviously needs to find ways to get the Postal Service back on the plus-side of its balance sheet, canceling Saturday mail service is not the answer.

The Postal Service operates on revenue, not tax dollars. Therefore the government needs to see the Postal Service as a revenue-gaining business and realize it has competition from delivery companies like UPS and FedEx. If the competition delivers on Saturday, why wouldn’t the Postal Service?

With the competition in mind, mail service is too important to drop on Saturday. A look at the calendar reveals seven Mondays and one Friday that the Postal Service takes as a holiday, meaning that just fewer than one in every seven weekends would result in a three-day gap of mail. That is not acceptable in today’s world of fast-paced business, and customers won’t stand for it. They’ll go to someone else who can get the job done.

Reuters reported the Postal Service said its weekend mail volume is too low to continue Saturday service.

“The president’s proposal would help the Postal Service update its business model to reflect Americans’ changing communications habits,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., told Reuters.

But there are many who would miss Saturday mail for a variety of reasons.

Take small towns for example, where daily newspapers use the Postal Service to deliver their product. They rely on selling their paper to cover town-specific news. Although they can use the Internet, they need the physical paper sales to support themselves, as website advertising would not generate enough with the small amount of traffic.

Losing a day of the paper is a huge blow, and considering roughly 20 percent of U.S. citizens live in rural area, a significant portion of America would possibly lose its Saturday paper.

There is also an issue with packages requiring a signature. For many people, getting a package like that is virtually impossible during the work week, and Saturday is the only day they have a chance to be home when the postal worker tries to make the delivery.

Among other solutions to getting the Postal Service back in the black, the Obama administration recommends refunding the Postal Service nearly $7 billion it says it overpaid to a federal retirement fund.

Essentially, for the Postal Service to remain in existence, it has to show customers that it is just as capable of providing solid service as other delivery companies. In no circumstance is reducing service going to achieve that.