Both approaches would diminish the scope and character of the postal service while increasing the likelihood that private firms will move in to fill the void.
These are the sort of ideas that are peddled by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, R-California, and others who target the USPS for deep cuts. Unfortunately, they've turned up in the Obama administration's budget.
As The Hill reports:
"Obama's budget would allow USPS to scrap all Saturday delivery -- even packages, one of the most rapidly growing parts of the Postal Service's business. USPS in recent months has shown more interest in expanding when it delivers packages, with Sunday delivery now in limited areas.
"The White House budget would also allow USPS to move away from door-to-door delivery to more centralized delivery areas, an idea also panned by Democrats. Plus, USPS could keep a recent temporary increase in the price of stamps -- which large mailers loathe -- beyond the scheduled two years."
According to the Obama administration, these reforms -- along with a proposal to tinker with some of the immediate requirements for pre-funding retiree healthcare benefits 75 years into the future -- "would set USPS on a sustainable business path, providing it with over $20 billion in cash relief, operational savings and revenue through 2016."
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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.
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