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Bad Idea

Delaying mail not an acceptable plan

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has an interesting plan for fixing the struggling U.S. Postal Service: lower expectations. In discussing an expected $160 billion loss for the agency over the next decade, DeJoy said he plans to slow mail delivery standards and cut hours at some post offices.

“This is about the long-term viability of the organization under the two missions that we have that are legislated, that is deliver to every house six days a week and be self-sustaining,” DeJoy said.

Reducing the number of hours worked and increasing the amount of time allowed for delivery of first-class mail (from the current standard of one to three days to a planned one to five days) seems an odd way to ensure the agency survives and accomplishes its mission. Americans who have spent the past year or so wondering what in the world is taking their mail so long to reach its destination will be forgiven for wondering whether the standards had not been relaxed long ago.

When there are already reports of utility companies unable to trust that payment from a customer who says “the check is in the mail” will arrive in a timely fashion (through no fault of the customer’s), or citizens find themselves in a bind because important legal documents arrive two or three weeks after they were put in the mail, it seems absurd to tackle the problem by trying less.

For those paying bills or handling legal matters, that may amount to confirmation that minor inconveniences are here to stay. For those who rely on the U.S. Postal Service for delivery of prescription medication, it may amount to a medical emergency.

DeJoy’s relationships with both the U.S. Postal Service and the Republican Party are long and complicated, but he’s been a private businessman long enough to know there is a better way to get the job done. He must focus now on his relationship with the American people served by his agency, and find a true solution to the postal service’s woes.

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