The United States Postal Service is continuing its long slide into suckage according to a new report delivered by Postmaster General John E. Potter this morning. People sent far less mail last year (“more than double any previous decline,” says the Washington Post) and labor costs continue to rise, which helped the USPS lose $3.8 billion in 2009.
Potter tried to implement cutbacks last year but was denied by Congress, so this year he brought three independent studies with him. Their verdicts:
The agency’s business model is so poor, consultants concluded, that privatizing it is untenable. As for Postal Service plans to sell banking, insurance and cellphone services through post offices, the consultants point to the agency’s lack of start-up funds and inability to afford potential short-term losses.
Instead, here’s what Potter wants to do:
- Cut out Saturday delivery.
- Increase postage rates beyond the rate of inflation.
- Explore “hybrid mail products” that would deliver some mail to customers via email.
- Be allowed more flexibility in dealing with upcoming union negotiations, particularly with respect to health care expenses.
- Consolidate and close locations.