Rep. Farenthold: Postal Service Cutting Saturday Delivery a Good Start

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 03:13 PM

By David Yonkman

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The decision by the U.S. Postal Service to end Saturday delivery of first-class mail is a responsible plan that will save taxpayers money, the chairman of the House subcommittee with oversight of the Postal Service tells Newsmax.

"Anything they can do to get them back in the black so taxpayers don’t have to bail them out is a step in the right direction," said Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas.

Farenthold noted that the plan to save $2 billion a year only applies to such mail as bills, cards and magazines. Packages and mail-order medicine will still be delivered, and post offices operating on Saturday will remain open.

Patrick Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, said at a news conference that the move is "absolutely necessary" as part of a broader effort to stabilize the service's troubled finances. 

The agency experienced an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.

"Making this change to our delivery schedule is a big-ticket item," said Donahoe. "It would be irresponsible for the Postal Service not to pursue this course."

Edward Hudgins of The Atlas Society, tells Newsmax that the move is part of the “death spiral” of a Postal Service that is not only competing with e-mail and social media, but has growing costs of providing health benefits to its workers.

“This is what we have seen coming. This is the Postal Service not being able to meet costs because of the changes in communications and information in this country,” Hudgins said.

He has written two books on the issue: “The Last Monopoly: Privatizing the Postal Service for the Information Age” and “Mail @ the Millennium.”

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the GOP chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that “This money-saving smart move is going to be a step in right-sizing the post office.”

“They are maintaining a six-day [priority] letter delivery. What they’re not doing is agreeing to go with one letter to your mailbox for 40-some cents,” he said. “It’s just been unreasonable.”

One group clearly opposing the plan: The National Association of Letter Carriers, a union representing mail carriers.

In a statement, union president Fredric Rolando called the five-day plan “a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers.

"It would be particularly harmful to small businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication,” Rolando added.

The union called for Postmaster General Donohoe’s “immediate removal.”

The plan is scheduled to begin in August.

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