Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

February 13, 2013

Franklin not proud of postal service today


Feb. 13, 2013 —     In our view, Benjamin Franklin would be ashamed of what is happening today in the U.S. Postal Service.

    America’s first postmaster general likely is spinning in his grave with last week’s brazen announcement that the USPS is ending Saturday delivery of all mail except packages– without the approval of Congress and in open defiance of federal law requiring six-day mail service.

    Yes, we realize that announcement has been made several times in the last three years and that Saturday delivery still happens each week.

    That’s because a coalition of newspapers and other large scale mailing customers, postal unions and politicians have called that bluff.

    This latest announcement of ending Saturday full mail service in August could ring just as hollow because USPS does not have the legal authority to do so.

     In fairness, we hasten to note that the same Congress has not taken action on the financial crisis facing the postal service, allowing it to get worse.

    A new and ominous element in this issue is that some lawmakers who have tried to protect Saturday delivery may be starting to jump ship because they fear American taxpayers will have to pay for a bailout of USPS.

    The National Newspaper Association and other groups representing news and advertising media companies already are challenging House and Senate members on Capitol Hill to block this new effort to flout the will of Congress.

     Business customers and private citizens who depend on Saturday mail service – especially the delivery of payments – again are circling their wagons in hopes of avoiding the cut which USPS claims to need to cut expenses.

    Americans are still learning to cope with the closing of some rural post offices and sharply reduced window hours at others.

    Two congressmen have said this week that they will introduce a “sense of the House” resolution to send a message to USPS management to back away from the Saturday closing.

    Such a resolution would be non-binding but it also would tell party leadership of the issue’s continuing importance to the members and the millions of postal patrons they represent.

    Frankly, we are outraged that USPS would turn its back on hundreds of newspapers that need Saturday delivery by mail.    

    If and when it happens, we propose that the engraving on the front of the USPS Farley Building in Washington be re-lettered as follows:

    “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…nor USPS mismanagementnor congressional indifference …stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”