While Americans may be accustomed to Saturday mail delivery and being able to frequent post offices close to their homes, massive deficits could strip away these conveniences, The Associated Press reported.
Postmaster General John E. Potter requested that lawmakers abolish the agency’s mandatory Saturday delivery.
According to The New York Times, the Postal Service has been required to pay its own costs since 1970. It was able to make a profit until 2006, but more Americans started using e-mail and paying their bills online, forcing it to fall in the red.
“If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year,” Potter told the AP.
Total mail volume decreased by $9 billion in 2009, the biggest volume decrease in the Postal Service’s history.
Potter estimated that ending six-day mail delivery would save $40 billion over the next decade. He also wants to close various post offices and remove them with cheaper kiosks and postal windows at supermarkets. Potter is also requesting to increase the rates of some services to meet changes in demand and costs.
Yvette Singh, media spokesperson for the USPS, also added that changes needed to be made for the betterment of the company.
“We need to save and be more efficient as a company,” Signh told the AFRO. “In order for us to maintain viability, we have to make some major adjustments. [Also], we’re not federally funded. We pay our expenses from the sale of our products and services, so we’re not receiving any federal money to assist us.”
While it appears as if these drastic changes could automatically save the falling service, the New York Times reported that some of the proposed changes still remain flawed.
In efforts to save $50 billion over the next decade, Potter is stopping contributions to a fund to pay for future retiree health benefits, covering them instead on a pay-as-you-go basis. But as many workers across the country have discovered, unfinanced promises of future benefits usually are prone to become worthless during economic slumps.
However, the service may be allowed to decrease its annual contribution. Currently, the Postal Service is required by law to make contributions with a 7 percent annual rate of inflation for healthcare expenses, while Medicare uses a 5 percent to 6 percent rate to predict future benefits.
While Americans currently rely heavily on e-mail, the Postal Service is not totally obsolete. Legal documents, packages and letters still have to be mailed. Also, citizens in some areas of the country have to rely solely on the Postal Service for lack of other resources.
“If given the flexibility to respond to an evolving marketplace, the Postal Service will continue to be an integral part of the fabric of American life,” Potter said in a USPS press release.