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August 20, 2014

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Harry Reid says cutting Saturday mail service shortsighted

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

Cut mail down to five delivery days per week? Not so fast, says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid is openly questioning whether Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe has the authority to slash Saturday mail delivery, a new schedule Donohoe announced the Postal Service would start implementing in August.

In a speech Wednesday, Donohoe called the move “just one part of a much larger strategy to return the post office to long-term financial stability.”

Though Reid acknowledged the Postal Service is in dire straits, he maintained Thursday that “such a drastic policy change cannot be enacted without approval from Congress.”

But the Postal Service has been waiting on congressional reform for a long time.

A year ago, postal reform efforts came to a screeching halt when the House failed to pick up a bill from the Senate to straighten up certain problems with postal workers’ pension health care system and free up extra money that they have paid forward on several decades’ worth of retirement obligations.

Service reductions and post office closures had been discussed but were not ultimately part of the Senate’s bill.

The Postal Service made some changes in the meantime, including continuing to winnow its workforce through attrition, but it hasn’t made enough of a dent.

By Donohoe’s figures, the Postal Service is now about $20 billion in the hole and can save at least $2 billion a year by stopping mail delivery and pick-up on Saturdays. (The change would not affect package pick up and delivery or operating hours of post offices, he said.)

Donohoe argued that he has the right to dictate the changes based on a reading of the current budget — technically a continuing resolution of the fiscal 2010 budget, extended and amended several times to keep funding the government.

That technicality and the fact that the Postal Service doesn’t run on appropriated tax dollars offered the Postal Service an out, Donohoe said.

“It’s our feeling that with the CR paying for services already rendered and not appropriated, we can move ahead with this,” Donohoe said, adding the legal reasoning was “not a hair-splitter, loophole sort of approach.”

Reid not only disagrees with the legal argument but with the logic of the move.

“Cutting down mail delivery to five days per week will not save the Postal Service from insolvency,” Reid said in a statement. “This short-sighted measure will deal a crippling blow to the millions of Americans and small businesses who rely on the timely and reliable delivery.”

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  1. Has Senator Reid heard of the internet?? Any person or business who relies on the post office for letter delivery certainly doesn't care about timely delivery.

    Package delivery will continue on Saturday, so really what they are saying is that I will no longer receive junk mail on Saturday. How will I live? Life will never be the same!

  2. Harry is just being the slithering scumbag that he is. Congress hasn't acted on the Post Office, even though it is on life support, and Harry is more to blame than anyone else for this inaction. He knows (unless he's an imbecile) that this is a necessary move. But he only cares about the next election and keeping power, the country could disintegrate after he retires for all he cares.

  3. Harry needs to take some Twitter lessons from
    McCain:) Really, Sat postal is not needed, many business are closed on Sat and Sunday, the small ones can not deposit checks received or even pay a bill so
    not much is lost in productivity. The postal service needs to lower the pay scale to commensurate with the ability needed for the job.

  4. But Saturdays are junk mail day!!!

    "Seniors love getting junk mail, It's sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling like they're part of the real world."
    -Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

  5. Saturday mail delivers the same mail as the other 5 days a week, 17% or more of the weekly total and is extremely important for checks, insurance policies, and checks that must go out on Monday.

    Only $2 billion/year is saved by cutting Saturday service, yet the Iraq war accounted for at least $4 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in National Debt left by George W. Bush.

    $4 trillion spent for NOT ONE justifiable reason, and now 17% of mail delivery is cut to save only $2 billion. That is 2/4,000 = 0.5% of the Iraq War Debt.

    This is exemplary Republican economics: throw trillions away, then make the retired pay the bill with reduced medical care and destroy essential Government services to save a pittance. This is advertised as Biblical values - not something to brag about.

  6. Duuuuuh, Harry. Get off dead center and authorize 3-day a week service so the P O can down shift for rural areas with little mail volume. Ditto my home. One a week is enough. Sure, businesses still want more frequent but every other day is enough for anybody and everybody. Since Congress is unable to make a decision on anything that might be interpreted as for or against someone somewhere, AUTHORIZE THE P O TO FUNCTION without micromanaging operating decisions.

  7. SunJon, excellent post. Do you want to xplaaaan it to Harry that many many "important" checks are direct deposited. The EBT food stamp / SNAP cards are reloaded without use of the mail.

  8. Ros: Direct deposit is used in place of checks and they come any day of the week; EBT and SNAP I don't use. Junk mail in my box comes any day of the week.

    Saturday mail consists of one day service mailed Friday, two day service mailed Thursday, three day service mailed Wednesday, etc.

    Without Saturday delivery, Monday night is the earliest it can be viewed, creating a delay of nearly 2.5 days. It's nice to get books, cards, letters etc. Saturday instead of Monday night and even nicer to get them on Sunday.

    And for what reason? To save $2 billion/year?

    According to the GAO, cost overruns on the 98 MDAPs** from FY2010 (in 2011) collectively ran $402 billion over budget and were an average of 22 months behind schedule since their first full estimate. **(Major Defense Aquisition Programs)

    Congress doesn't complain about Defense Overruns because that IS PORK, and brings the cash home to their States and supplies campaign donations. The US Mail doesn't.

    This should frighten most people, to hear Congress HOWLING about a $2 billion 'loss' in mail delivery and ignoring a $402 billion 'loss' (overrun) in Pentagon spending. That in itself defines unrestrained irrationality in management.

    What is clear is that the PO loss is not the issue but rather, a 'for profit' Post Office is the true goal which will allow the new executive management to be able to raise postal rates and their salaries without limit while eliminating the need for judicial oversight to open your mail.

  9. Massive spending is accomplished by fighting terrorism but never eliminating it entirely. Allow terrorists to multiply at the rate they are being shot and the war continues until it is de-funded.

    Iraq actions diverted the troops from Afghanistan to Iraq, where Al Qaida lived and trained. Iraq was never associated with the 9/11 terrorists but after destroying the Iraqi security, Al Qaida streamed in over it's borders and the war blossomed.

    By removing the pressure from Afghanistan, bin Laden was allowed to escape to Pakistan, our "ally" in the War on Terror (chuckle har-har). Pakistan was a refuge because the US troops or drones were not allowed to used.

    Bin Laden could continue to help create terror objectives and become a beacon of hope for the radicals to urge them on. Afghanistan with few US troops would continue to send newly trained terrorists to Iraq and the US would continue to fight them in Iraq with no end in sight.

    This was the perpetual war and spending machine designed by Rumsfeld for which victory would always be years away.

    But why the Forever War? Why massive spending?

  10. Bush and his party want to completely redesign the function and structure of the Government.

    They want to eliminate social programs like Dept of Education, Dept of Urban Housing & Development, Social Security, Medicare, the Post Office etc. through privatization and religion, and in it's place, create a "limited Government" which is limited to functions of police protection, military, prisons, law and control.

    The social order they envision is what existed in Europe before the American Revolution. Sharron Angle described that world when she said "we want to get more businesses and churches involved" in running the community - not the elected Government.

    In Europe, the Aristocrats (i.e. the wealthy) were the Government and controlled the legal system. Religion received a great deal of it's money from the wealthy nobles and in turn, supported their right to exclusive rule. Charity was left to the whims of the Clergy. The Catholic Church did just that with the Nazis in 1933 using the Reichskonkordat treaty. All Fascist Governments in Europe were Church and State organizations.

    Shifting reliance on the elected Government to reliance on corporate and religious groups would allow them to become fabulously rich in increase their control over the people monumentally.

    This is the description of a "Republic" which allows only qualified people the right to vote, some having more voting power than others, vs. a Democracy which gives everyone the right to vote with equal power.

    The most successful means of forcing privatization is to bankrupt the Democracy and "Save the Country" by turning over the control to private organizations, one at a time.

    Massive debt, war debt being the fastest to accumulate, is seen as the key step to taking Social Security private, but first, start with smaller Departments like the Post Office.

    Perpetual War and massive debt created by the original Crusades left millions of people in poverty and toppled many Governments before they ended.

    A war with Iran will be much bigger, costlier and deadlier than Iraq because the Iranians are much smarter and well equipped. A war with Iran will shake the social and economic foundations of this country until they crack.