Congressman Bill Shuster's assertion that eliminating six-day mail delivery is a "common sense reform" that will save $2 billion annually and help prevent taxpayers from bailing out the Postal Service is an anomaly that needs to be addressed.
First, the $2 billion savings he cites is a projection with no concrete evidence to support that figure. Second, the post office receives not one penny of taxpayers' money to operate now or is projected to in the future.
Six-day mail delivery is crucial for the Postal Service's long term survival.
Ending six-day mail delivery does little to reduce costs. At most, it saves just 4 percent of costs while cutting out 17 percent of daily deliveries.
Seniors who need mail-order prescription drugs, small businesses on Main Street trying to meet payroll, major businesses such as eBay whose business model depends on six-day delivery and rural communities face a profound negative impact on this misguided and counterproductive decision by the postmaster general.
Eliminating six-day delivery should be a last resort, not a first resort. More time should be spent determining if the mail volume decline will slow, if not reverse, as the recession ends.
Shuster has been asked to join more than 200 of his colleagues and co-sponsor legislation to develop a forward-looking plan to address the structural challenges - and opportunities - that letter carriers acknowledge exist.
As of yet, he has failed to do so or meet personally with letter carriers to discuss this issue. The Postal Service's deficit was caused by the unfair requirement to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, and the Postal Service has been overcharged $75 billion for its pension fund obligation.
The ultimate irony about the so-called default is that the Postal Service already has $45 billion set aside for future retiree health benefits - more than any other organization in America.
Joseph G. Antal, President
PA State Association,
National Association of Letter Carriers