Will the Post Office Switch to a 5-Day Week?

Forget health care for a minute, there is another looming crisis in this country. The U.S. Postal Service is on pace to lose more than $238 billion in the next ten years.

In order to prevent that from happening, Postmaster General John E. Potter announced yesterday that he will ask legislators to make several significant changes, including switching to a 5-day delivery week.

“The changes could mean an end to Saturday mail deliveries, longer delivery times for letters and packages, increases in postage-stamp prices that exceed the rate of inflation, and -- possibly -- future layoffs,” the Washington Post reports.

As we’ve reported, there have been previous debates about changing the day-to-day operations of the Postal Service. Rather than cut service, some have proposed the Post Office start selling new items like pens and telecommunications products to raise funds. But so far, nothing has happened.

This time, the Postmaster General buoyed his argument with third party studies showing the need for drastic cuts. Among his new proposals, Potter suggested that the U.S. Postal Service finally embrace the Internet and start offering “hybrid mail products,” which would include e-mail.

We don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but do the American people actually need the Postal Service to get involved with e-mail? Probably not, but they seem to be looking for ways to do more with less, and with good reason. According to the Washington Post, the Postal Service is only expected to deliver 150 billion pieces of mail a year by 2020, which is 26 billion pieces less than last year.

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