December 26, 2012 Leave a comment
Something called Communities and Postal Workers United held a hunger strike last week to protest proposed cuts to the post office. The group may or may not have more than six members. The hunger strike may be the best sort of strike. Nothing sticks it to the man like starving yourself. In this case of course the man is taxpayers. No doubt taxpayers are crying crocodile tears for postal workers who might see Saturday service cut in an effort to balance the post office budget. Keep in mind the post office lost $16 billion this year and must cut $22.5 billion by 2016.
Tomfoolery by hunger strikers aside, will anyone notice if mail isn’t delivered on Saturday? Most businesses are open Monday to Friday, so no one in business will notice if their mail isn’t delivered on Saturday. Will you notice if you don’t receive mail at your home on Saturday? It seems unlikely that residential people will notice or care. Snail mail is an antiquated form of communication these days. Few people send letters, certainly they aren’t sending letters as they did just a quarter century ago. The mail seems to be limited to little more than solicitations, coupons and the occasional correspondence or card.
Of course the pathetic little hunger strike staged for the media last week has nothing to do with customer service. Customers simply don’t care about Saturday service. It’s the postal employees and their union that care about these matters. Part of the problem is the massive unfunded pension liability the post office has. We’re paying for thousands of retirees who don’t contribute anything to the post office anymore. Their pensions are unfunded and as such the post office has a massive $16 billion deficit. The other part of the post office problem is rising fuel costs and fewer customers.
Like every other business when customers go away something has to be cut. The biggest and easiest cut to make is at the employee level. In the case of the post office it would be easy to cut back on Saturday service, which is unnecessary, costly and antiquated. If that means fewer postal employees or a cut back in hours, so be it. When a company has a $16 billion yearly deficit something has to be cut. We may be talking about a branch of the Federal government but they act like they’re a business. They run advertising, they sponsor events and their budget is separate from the rest of the Federal budget. For all intents and purposes the post office is a business with Federal backing.
Ask yourself whether you’ll miss getting mail on Saturday. Odds are you won’t even notice if the mail doesn’t arrive on that day. As a nation we have a $1 trillion annual deficit and over $16 trillion in debt. While the post office is off budget, their debts become part of our annual deficit and national debt. Getting Congress to cut something, anything, is like pulling teeth. It appears most are on board with cutting back on the post office and we need to support this. It’s not every day the Federal government cuts billions from the deficit. We don’t need Saturday mail service, it’s time to cut back.