"Fifty senators on Thursday joined forces to try to halt for one year a U.S. Postal Service plan to close 82 mail sorting centers, cut 15,000 jobs and slow delivery speed for some letters.

Since the Postal Service revised its service standards more than two years ago, "it has been more difficult for the American public and small businesses to receive mail in a timely manner," the senators wrote in a letter. "Slowing down mail delivery even further will hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes, small businesses and the entire economy."

The senators sent the letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and asked them to include a one-year ban on these cuts as part of any spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. While the majority of those asking for the changes were Democrats, it was signed by seven Republicans and one independent. . . .

The Postal Service argues the changes are necessary as it adjusts its business model to compete with the Internet. The agency, which employs more than 600,000, reached its credit limit of $15 billion with the Treasury Department in 2012 and generally has only enough cash on hand to fund a couple of weeks of operations. First-class mail volume has fallen about 30% over the past decade to about 66.7 billion pieces in 2013, although it still accounts for nearly half of revenues each quarter....

Earlier this week, the Postal Service posted a third-quarter loss of $1.96 billion, although its revenues increased due in part to higher postage rates and its booming package business. . . .

In December 2011, after a similar initiative, senators won a voluntary agreement from the Postal Service to place a five-month moratorium on closing facilities while they worked on enacting comprehensive postal reform legislation. None was passed.

The facility closings would affect primarily the handling of first-class mail and periodicals. Currently, most first-class mail is delivered within a one- to three-day window. The proposed changes would reduce the amount of that mail delivered in the one-day time frame and shift more into the two-day time frame, the Postal Service said, saving the agency $750 million each year. . . .

Closing additional facilities would allow it "to invest in new package sorting equipment and other upgrades," the Postal Service said in June. Over the past five years, its package business grew about 20% to 3.7 billion packages last year.

Its network, however, was built for letters, not packages. The Postal Service's executives say it needs to spend $10 billion over the next four years to upgrade delivery trucks and other infrastructure.

The biggest financial hurdle for financial success for the agency has been an approximately $5.5 billion annual pre-funding requirement for its retiree health benefits, established by Congress. It is likely to default on the payment for the fourth time in a row this year.

Excluding that requirement and some workers' compensation items, it would have made $1 billion so far this year.

The president of the National Association of Letter Carriers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but the organization has previously called for removing the pre-funding requirement and leaving the network in place.

In the letter, the senators say that the one-year moratorium will give it "the time it needs to enact comprehensive postal reforms that are necessary for the Postal Service to function effectively in the future.""

Summing Up

As I recall, the postal service was established in or about 1789.

And the politicians say they need more time to sort things out and allow the "Postal Service to function effectively in the future."

The only viable solutions are to either discontinue the post office as we know it or raise taxes sufficiently to pay for the losses, or to enact a combination of both tax increases and a drastic curtailment of services, including home deliveries.

But We the People don't like the idea of a service reduction, nor do we like tax increases.

So the elected politicians vote to put off any meaningful solution and instead vote to put it on the tab of future taxpayers, aka our kids and grandkids.

And we 'adults' allow them to do so.

The sad fact is that we probably would vote them out of office if they started doing their job of managing our nation's financial affairs as responsible fiduciaries.

Unfortunately and sadly, that's my take.

Thanks. Bob.