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While standing in line at the main U.S. Post Office, one has time to ponder the agency’s announcement that, come August, it will stop delivering mail (except packages) to street addresses on Saturdays.
We love getting Saturday mail, but we don’t love the idea of the post office operating at a $16-billion deficit (the amount it lost in 2012). Not delivering on Saturdays will save the postal service $2 billion a year, it estimates. Under the plan announced this week, we will still get packages on Saturday — and can’t we wait until Monday to get our bills?
Times have changed, though some things haven’t. Again, the price of first-class stamps has gone up by a penny to 46 cents (although anyone who buys stamps nowadays buys “Forever” stamps now so most households are unlikely to notice the hit). And again, we have come out of a holiday season in which we got fewer Christmas cards in the mail and more electronic greetings.
The brightest part of the postal picture, according to what we take from the The Associated Press report, is that while the use of mail for letters has gone down, package deliveries are on the rise (up 14 percent in the past two years). This plan capitalizes on the positive and tries to stem the flood of red ink from the negative.
While we agree that we love getting letters, and Saturday is as good a day as any, we love the federal government saving money even more. We have to be willing to take such measures if we are going to spout belt-tightening advice.
This is just the sort of cut we make to our family budgets: We cut where we can, doing the least damage for the most impact. Looks like that is what Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is doing. He put it pretty well on Wednesday:
So they do. So must we.