Postal chief: USPS running out of money

March 25, 2009 7:04:39 PM PDT
The United States Post Office is on track to run out of money this year. The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion last year. So the postmaster general is asking Congress to cut back delivery service to five days a week.

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The year 2007 was considered decent for the Postal Service. It processed 212 billion pieces of mail. But postal officials now predict a 17 percent drop in volume this year.

"The old model was people religiously at the first of the month putting their stamp on the envelope and sent their credit card mail and all that remittance mail off. More and more people are doing that online," said Postal Service spokesman James Wigdel.

First, the Internet cut into the post office's business and now, it is being hit hard by the recession.

Postmaster General John Potter told a Congressional subcommittee that the situation is "critical."

"We're reducing positions in the postal service about 15 percent. We've put a freeze on hiring people. We've put a freeze on actually filling positions," said Potter.

The most controversial proposal is to cut mail delivery from six to five days a week. It may be Tuesday or Saturday, the slowest delivery days.

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow believes cutting a day won't have much of an impact.

"I think technology really is fulfilling some of the functions of the u-s postal service for consumers already, particularly email and electronic bill pay," said Yarrow.

Those we spoke with at a post office in the Bayview District seemed to agree.

"You know, I think it's appropriate. It's going to save money and save jobs," said Post Office customer Francine Carter.

"Usually for me, I'm just waiting for checks to come in, whether it's the fifth day or the sixth day, it really doesn't matter," said Post Office customer Sanjay Bhas.

Only a vote by Congress can change the six-day delivery schedule.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stepped into it when asked about all this. He replied, "I guess the check isn't in the mail!"

That -- while the postmaster general was on Capitol Hill calling the situation critical.

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