FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 26, 2011
Postal Service rescue ideas include weekday-only 'snail mail' and fewer post offices
Look for news about the Postal Service, federal deficit or budget-cutting in Washington, D.C.
Email has replaced most personal letters. Find a reference to anything else that used to be more popular, especially before you were born.
Can you spot an ad for something delivered by mail?
Changes are coming in how we get letters, cards and mailed packages and where we can drop them off. The Postal Service, struggling with a huge deficit, proposes money-saving steps that include ending Saturday deliveries. Other changes could bring alternate-day pickups at blue street mailboxes. President Obama and a House subcommittee last week supported weekday-only mail service to save $3 billion a year, and also endorsed letting post offices profit from check-cashing fees, hunting license sales and other items beyond stamps and shipping supplies.
The White House and Congress are scrambling to help the agency reduce a $10-billion deficit. Mail volume has dropped 22 percent since 2006, and the fastest decline is in first-class letters and some business envelopes -- the most profitable type of mail. "We must do significantly more to return to profitability," Postmaster General Patrick said Donahoe said last week. His staff is studying 252 mail processing facilities for potential consolidation and reviewing 3,600 low-activity Post Offices for potential shutdown or scaled-back operation by private contractors.
Pending ideas include letting postage rates climb beyond the rate of inflation. Another radical proposal would replace doorstep deliveries with locked mailboxes along curbs or at the end of driveways to save an estimated $3.5 billion annually by letting carriers serve more addresses.
Postal official says: "Short-term solutions will not help the Postal Service. We need long-term, comprehensive legislation." -- Patrick Donahoe, postmaster general
Congressman says: "You can only go so far before you force more and more people out of using the post office." -- Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Commentator says: "With the use of email and other electronic communication, it's clear the Postal Service has become a dinosaur: . . . Yet our government is intent on throwing more taxpayer dollars down the drain." -- Jack Cafferty, CNN commentator and blogger
Front Page Talking Points Archive