Postal service

The postmaster general deliberately slowed the delivery of mail. The Postal Service and Americans deserve better. [editorial] | Our opinion

THE PROBLEM

As Tom Lisi reported in this week’s Sunday LNP | LancasterOnline, frustrated U.S. Postal Service customers “experienced major delays last year after new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy dramatically reduced service capacity in an effort to control costs months after the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 and ahead of elections and busy holidays.” Despite last year’s problems, the Postal Service “expects a banner holiday season as more people rely on e-commerce and gift shipping than before the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. noted Lisi. To improve delivery times, La Poste “is installing 112 machines capable of sorting 3,500 parcels per hour in its distribution centers throughout the territory. One of them was recently installed in its distribution center in the township of Manheim. “This machine allows us to process packages 12 times faster than the manual sorting we had to rely on in the past,” Postal Service spokesman Paul Smith told Lisi in an email.

DeJoy is misnamed. There hasn’t been much joy in DeJoy’s tenure since he was named postmaster general in May 2020.

Holiday packages and letters were horribly delayed last year. And the Postal Service’s problems have extended well beyond the 2020 holiday season.

In a letter to the editor we published on Tuesday, Glenn Morrison of Quarryville wrote that he had received an invoice from a local business that had been sent from Kirkwood, 4.5 miles away, by first class mail class. It took a week to be delivered. “Why aren’t our government officials taking the necessary steps to correct this national embarrassment?” Morrisson asked.

In a letter to the editor in September, Lancaster Township resident Gail Jenks wrote, “My husband’s pay stub arrives a month after pay week. The packages are listed as being on the truck to be delivered — and they are not. … The drugs don’t come. Cards are mailed two weeks prior to the due date to help ensure on-time arrival. Items are lost or damaged. Invoices are late.

In July, West Lampeter Township resident Shirley Cressman wrote, “My mail-in ballot for the November election took five days to be delivered. A Christmas card from Richmond, Virginia took 28 days to reach us. Our financial information for taxes took 71 days to reach our accountant, who is only 105 km away.

She continued: “One of our credit card payments, although sent on time, arrived seven days past the due date. … A note sent by US mail from part of our building to our apartment took six days. A note sent to a bereaved friend in Florida was returned to us two months later as undeliverable, even though she has lived in the same house for over 30 years.

It’s frustrating enough to be outmaneuvered by the postal service in the simple but important quest to pay a bill on time, or send a card to a friend in need of comfort, or, more worryingly, to get medicine. necessary.

For small business owners, shipping delays can end up costing a lot of money. It’s no wonder, then, as Lisi reported, that some businesses are moving from the Postal Service to companies such as UPS and FedEx.

The mail slowdown

We continue to believe that was DeJoy’s goal all along – to hamper the Postal Service and move it toward privatization.

As we wrote in August 2020, “The United States Postal Service is a cherished American institution. Our Constitution gave Congress the power to create it. The law establishing it as part of the federal government was signed by President George Washington in 1792.”

At least he has been a cherished American institution.

Now, as Lisi reported, the Postal Service has implemented a new delivery time policy as part of a broader cost-cutting plan. “This means mail from Lancaster destined for most locations west of the Mississippi River will take four to six days to deliver, an analysis from the Washington Post find. Mail sent to the lower half of Florida will take four days. Prior to this change, Lisi noted, the Postal Service “had an expected delivery time to western states of three days from Lancaster.”

The Postal Service, according to media reports, is reducing its use of planes and instead using trucks to transport mail. As Paul Steidler, logistics and postal service expert at the curator Lexington Institute, told CBS earlier this yearthis “means that mail delivery will be slower than in the 1970s”.

The Lexington Institute is strongly in favor of the free market – its mission statement states that it “believes in limiting the role of the federal government to those functions explicitly stated or implied by the Constitution”.

Nonetheless, Steidler spoke at the Nov. 10 meeting of the Postal Service’s Board of Governors and said the Lexington Institute “respectfully, strongly, and deeply disagrees with the decision to slow down 40% of first-class mail.” .

As Steidler told CBS, rural residents, people with disabilities and seniors will be “hardest hit” by the mail slowdown. “Everything in American society is speeding up, it seems, except mail delivery – which will now slow down,” he observed.

“Patriotic Commitment”

As Lisi reported on Sunday, the Postal Service has also implemented temporary price increases through Dec. 25; they vary depending on shipping distance and package weight. “For envelopes and flat-rate packages via Priority Mail and ground parcel shipping, rates have increased by 75 cents,” Lisi reported. “A package weighing between 21 and 70 pounds sent across the country costs $5 more than before.”

Multiply that $5 bonus by, say, 300 orders and it can become prohibitively expensive for a small business to use the postal service during the holiday season.

Other shippers will also face holiday pressures. As Lisi reported, UPS will limit the volume of holiday packages it handles, and UPS and FedEx are adding surcharges for peak season. But the U.S. Postal Service is supposed to be the affordable, reliable option — and traditionally, it’s the one senior citizens, veterans (for their medicine), and rural communities have depended on.

In our August 2020 editorial, we quoted economics and business writer Jeff Spross, who highlighted on TheWeek.com that the Postal Service is “required to provide mail service to every corner of the country,” while its “private rivals — FedEx, UPS, Amazon, etc. – are not subject to such an obligation”.

Spross maintained that the U.S. Postal Service has a “fundamental patriotic commitment to uniting the country with universal postal service”.

As noted, the mission of the Postal Service is expressed in its name. It is meant to be a federal service for Americans of all income levels, living in all parts of the United States.

It is deeply regrettable that the Postal Service is declining this assignment at DeJoy’s request. As the Washington Post reported last week, however, there is hope: President Joe Biden “announced plans Friday to appoint two former federal officials to the U.S. Postal Service’s board of directors, replacing key allies of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, including his Democratic president. … That potentially gives the liberals on the panel two crucial votes to oust the chief executive, who can only be removed by the board.

The future of the US Postal Service should not be a partisan issue. Its preservation must be our concern to all. Including our representatives in Washington, DC