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Five-day letter delivery

Could you live without mail today?

A national poll last June found that 70 percent of Americans can. The New York Times/CBS News phone survey of 900 Americans showed overwhelming support for dropping Saturday and proceeding with five-day delivery.

Recently, the U.S. Postal Service listened to that feedback and announced a move to five-day letter delivery beginning in August. Package delivery will continue on Saturday.

The cuts are expected to save about $2 billion annually for an operation that lost $15.9 billion last year.

So no matter what people think of Saturday service, more cuts are coming. ...

We have to regard the end of Saturday delivery as a business decision, not a government cutback. Mail volume has declined steadily since 2000, with 2012 deliveries at the lowest level since 1984.

Those market forces contributed to a record $15.9 billion net loss for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

With rapidly declining volume and ample private alternatives, the Postal Service needs to operate differently. It needs fewer stand-alone offices and fewer employees to provide 21st century service far different from its historical model.

We’re hearing congressional rumblings to block the Postal Service’s necessary business decision. Congress is adept at rumbling. It struggles with budgeting.

Congress could keep Saturday delivery by carving at least $2 billion a year from schools, defense, disaster recovery or any other federal program. So ignore those Capitol Hill rumbles until they come with a specific funding plan. Then decide: Is the contents of your mailbox today worth $2 billion in federal cuts elsewhere?

Quad-City (Iowa) Times

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