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USPS Looks to Slow Service, Save Billions

This post was originally published on the Public Notice: Bankrupting America Blog.

In an era when tweets announce an earthquake faster than its tremors, the US Postal Service might buck the speed trend to save $1.5 billion.

As reported by The Washington Post, allowing one additional day for First-Class and Priority Mail deliveries would reduce costs associated with the premium pay and airmail now needed to meet delivery deadlines.

The study was commissioned by the Post Master General and examined savings from pay associated with ground versus air transportation, and night, Sunday, and overtime shifts. Additional savings could come from consolidating processing plants.

The reforms reflect a need to restructure a network which “was designed for the high-speed transmission” of mail at a time before electronic alternatives. For the dwindling users, the study contends that the some businesses have “value[d] consistency over speed” and “would tolerate slightly slower service to save costs.”

With the Postal Service having set a record deficit of $8.5 billion this year, it is encouraging to see that the agency is investigating the steps necessary to tighten its belt and begin to operate within its means.

Similar belt-tightening investigations will begin anew this fall with the debt super-committee. With the current US debt at over $14.6 trillion, let’s hope that Washington takes a cue from the Postal Service and then takes the next step of implementing sorely needed spending cuts.

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