Patt Morrison for September 23, 2010

Is snail mail obsolete? U.S. Postal Service on the brink…

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In its most recent quarter the U.S. Postal Service reported a $3.5 billion loss, as mail volume fell and retiree health care costs grew.

The venerable U.S. Postal Service has been under siege the last few years, reporting billions in losses while unable to make operational and financial decisions without congressional approval. With a customer base increasingly relying on the Internet to do business, e-mail replacing written correspondence, increased retiree benefit obligations, and the inability to make necessary changes in its operations, the USPS is trying to change the rules. Legislation being introduced today by Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, could soon end Saturday mail deliveries, close thousands of post offices, and open new ones in grocery stores. Over-payments to a federal employee retirement fund would also be recovered and used to provide health benefits for retired postal workers. And, if the bill passes, it would allow the shipment of beer and wine for the first time since before prohibition. So could you do without your Saturday mail, or are those few pieces only flyers and ads, that you toss in the bin without a thought?


Ed O’Keefe, author of the Federal Eye blog at and Federal Government Reporter for the paper

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