Saturday shutdown?

Some version of the U.S. Postal Service has been around since 1775, when Ben Franklin was appointed the nation’s first postmaster general. The mail service was critical in knitting together a far-flung and largely rural nation.

But Franklin didn’t have to contend with faxes, e-mail, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and other technological changes that keep us connected without sending mail. Such changes are a big reason the Postal Service lost $3.8 billion last year, and why it is proposing to end Saturday delivery — to save approximately $3 billion a year — among other changes.

Unions are outraged at the proposal, but it seems sensible. It’s better than significantly raising the cost of postage once again, which will only cause more people to stop mailing, or seeking subsidies from the already overburdened federal budget. For those who absolutely must have something delivered Saturday, there are private options such as FedEx and UPS.

If the Postal Service is going to remain cost-effective in this century, ending Saturday delivery may be a necessary sacrifice.


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