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Senate OKs changes to US Postal Service, clearing way for end of Saturday delivery
Washington, D.C., USA

Wed Apr 25, 5:07 p.m. EDT: The +Washington Post reports that Congress has moved one step closer to overhauling the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service by approving sweeping reforms to rebalance the mail agency’s finances and help cut the size of its delivery network.

The bipartisan measure passed 62 to 37 and would give the Postal Service nearly $11 billion to offer buyouts and early retirement incentives to hundreds of thousands of postal workers and to pay off its debts.

The measure also would permit the end of Saturday mail deliveries in two years, only after USPS determines it is financially necessary. The Postal Service also could move forward with plans to shutter thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail distribution centers.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-approves-changes-to-the-us-postal-service/2012/04/25/gIQADpovgT_story.html

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40 comments
 
In other news, Saturday delivery of spam will be moved to Friday thus doubling the amount of crap in your mailbox on that day.
 
Ending the Saturday delivery sounds like a smart idea, but it still seems like they're fighting a losing battle with electronic alternatives.
 
I'd be fine with M-W-F delivery, or even less. At one point in my life I lived where there was no home delivery, and I had to go to the post office box. So I got mail about once a week. It was nice, actually--just dump the junk while you are there, and only once a week see the bills!
 
+Steve Sauls They had been managing it like a business, and doing a great job of it. They were profitable the first few years they privatized. But then, they got blinded by email and IM's, and never recovered
 
Most stuff I get in the mail is junk anyway.
 
Only in the United states do we consider public services businesses.
 
Looking forward to one less day of junk mail, but now more of it on Mondays!
Kerri F
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But in the UK we want to privatise our public services to make them even more inefficient!
 
+Francisco Valtierra Jr. I was thinking the same thing... 90+% of our mail is adverts and junk. Nearly all our bills are on direct pay, statements come via email. Seems the days of physically printing, stuffing, transporting, delivering atoms for information is past its prime.
 
+Franklin Ross they never were really privatized. There federal government was always there to pay when they mismanaged themselves.
 
+Steve Sauls agreed, they shouldn't have let it happen ... but they did. Despite being privatized, they are after all a government organization!
 
How about we just crank up the rates for Pre-sorted Bulk. It would cut down on the junk and still increase profits.
 
I don't need mail on the weekends.. Mon-Fri is fine & how it should be.. Am surprised that has taken this long for it to finally be closer to happening..
I hope it's passed & Saturday delivery is ceased..
 
RIP Saturday delivery. Not that Drexel offered it anyway.
 
I lived my life in Canada never having delivery on Saturdays. It was quite the surprise when I lived in California to get mail on Saturdays. I did appreciate it though as one year I received my tax refund on a Saturday.
 
If those mail trucks are GMs, they should be supplied for free.
 
Real simple: repeal the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. We're just inching closer to the Republican's gigantic privatization master plan.
 
Privatization = efficiency. it's never been proven otherwise.
 
+John Hansen if that were the case people would be using the usps more often than UPS or FedEx.
 
Fair enough, and I do agree it's private enterprise's goal to make money (unlike the usps) which is exactly why it would be more efficient. UPS and FedEx don't exist on the taxpayers' dole.
 
And FWIW, privatization in energy only led to higher prices because of federal intervention (unfairly).
Hyon Ho
 
Remember what Jon Stewart said? I can't remember the exact quote, but it was something on the lines of, if you really think about it, the US Postal Service is an insane service. Just imagine that you wrote something on a piece of paper, then gave that piece of paper to someone. Now imagine that the guy now has to take it to anyone in the world that you tell him to take it to for only 50 cents. THAT's the US Postal Service.
 
+John Hansen in a word, yes. And don't play ignorant, you already have choice. UPS, FedEx, DSL, etc... Somehow all of those operate without a $33bb taxpayer bailout. As a matter of fact, more people trust them to deliver on time and undamaged.
 
Take away the subsidized USPS and watch the price of mailing skyrocket.
 
Tom, it's already expensive. You and I pay for mail whether we use it or not.
 
I think it's been proven that government intervention makes things more expensive, not cheaper..
 
+Jeffrey Hamby they privatized utilities and the train system in The Netherlands. Most of these services actually made money for the tax-payer, since they were run as a business. The bonus culture for execs was adopted at the same time, but, like most of the times in executive contracts, they made it a right, not something you earned. They cut into maintenance and basic execution that the services that were among the best ones around the world are now in disrepair, dangerous (fatal accidents!) and broken. And the customer-friendliness is even worse than when the burocrats ran it. If your definition of efficiency is crappy service, you're right, though. Don't get me wrong, I see many places where private enterprise works well (a good part of the Swiss rail system, for instance), but blanket statement that privatization of existing companies is always 'better' is incorrect, especially with the fake 'bonus' culture for execs.
 
+Rob Kalkman there's a vast difference between privatizing while granting a monopoly (one utility company) vs. privatizing with competition multiple utility companies with shared responsibility for infrastructure). A company with no competition has no reason other than pride to provide a good service at a reasonable price.

Even a public service such as our postal service had that problem before FedEx came along. Prices were set by congress, but service was terrible and there was no guarantee your mail would be shipped on time or undamaged.

And I can't think of a single monopoly that's not made possible by government intervention.

Bonuses for executives are an interesting topic. Recently many of our largest banks were set to fail after making risky investments when the housing bubble burst. Part of the reason for those risky investments was a federal mandate that mortgages be offered to people who could not afford them. Without federal intervention those banks would have failed. Some of those banks were caught giving large bonuses to the very executives who were partly at fault for those risky investments... The bailouts had no stipulation preventing such a payout.

In the meantime executives all over receive large compensation packages, larger than most people feel they deserve. However, the companies that pay them out don't do so at the risk of operating at a loss or they would have to close their doors. And often those payouts are in the form of shares in the company giving the executives incentive to perform well.

Again, with publicly owned companies there is no incentive to operate at a profit or do well at all. Our postal service is a prime example. And they lobbied to disallow FedEx to operate which as it turned out did have incentive to do well.
 
P.s. I never used the word "always" because that would indicate companies that have been granted monopolies as well.
 
+Jeffrey Hamby The goal was to create competition, which succeeded. Several companies got in the mix. But then the big corporations, even multinationals, came in and gobbled up some, killing realistic competition. So, in the end it was just a 'giveaway' to big corps, since they could take over the good infrastructure that was built up with tax-payers' money. The price was kept reasonable to enable competition, but after the initial privatization, there is no control on the 'market value'. Yeah, a few people got stinking rich from this, but the whole thing is a hoax, and the tax-payer gets hit twice: they paid for it once to build it, then end up with worse service at higher prices many times. It's just as unfair as the nationalizations of private companies that we see in the some other parts of the world.

I didn't mention the postal service in The Netherlands, yet, since it's not in as bad shape, but it's on the 3rd owner now, since becoming private, causing them to replace all mailboxes with new styles, signs on buildings, replacing all papers and forms, and force-fitting different internal systems (just in time for the next buy-out).

And as much as the USPS has been hurt by the noose of the congressional pension fund ruling from a few years back, I doubt that simple privatizion will help anybody.
 
Fed X & Ups, and why wait for 2 yrs to end Saturday deliveries. End result will be the same. Gov most often doesnt do things more efficient and usually costs taxpayers more then is necessary. I didnt see in that article that they are changing how the postal service does business but the part I dont agree with shuttering rural post offices. Those folks would have to drive too far just to mail a letter. So I think shuttering more urban places would be far better. I mean how many post offices are within a few miles of your house? A one hour drive for someone living in rural area isnt right.
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