Video screenshot, KABC-TV

Having done such a great job of wrecking the US Postal Service over the summer, Donald Trump's pet postmaster Louis DeJoy today plans to unveil a new 10-year plan to wreck it further by imposing strict austerity measures, slowing first-class mail delivery, reducing Post Office hours, raising prices, and generally encrappening the USPS to "save" it. Since first-class mail has made up a declining percentage of the volume of mail the USPS delivers, the logic, such as it is, involves devoting fewer resources to delivering letters quickly, while hoping to improve reliability of package delivery, which is where most of the new business has been in the past few years. (First-class mail, being most parcels that weigh under a pound, also includes many of those packages, like say if you were buying shirts from the Wonkette Bazaar. Those packages have already become more expensive to ship, now they can be slower too!)

Or maybe the goal is to just make the Postal Service so shitty that no one will care much if it's privatized, in an attempt to "rescue" it, not that we're cynical or anything. The Washington Post reports the new arrangement is "part of DeJoy's strategic vision for the agency," which isn't especially reassuring, either, is it?


Honestly, DeJoy told the House Oversight and Reform Committee back in February, you people have got to let go of your nostalgic attachment to "good" mail service:

Does it make a difference if it's an extra day to get a letter? [...] Because something has to change. We cannot keep doing the same thing we're doing.

There, at least, he has a point. For starters, we could get rid of DeJoy, who took the USPS's precarious financial situation, which was imposed on it by Congress in 2006 and made it worse last summer with what he called "reforms." Now, DeJoy appears to want to finally burn down the Post Office by instituting slower delivery standards. Currently, local first-class mail is supposed to be delivered within two days, and non-local mail within three to five days. The DeJoy plan would add a day to those goals, which admittedly haven't been met for years — but the delays got significantly worse under DeJoy.

During the holiday rush (thanks to Joe Biden, we can say "holidays" again!), on-time delivery rates plummeted to just

71 percent on-time delivery for two-day mail and 38 percent for three-day mail during the last week of December. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) compared those scores to unfavorable odds in a Las Vegas casino.

That's improved a little since then; 83.7 percent of first-class mail was on time for the week of March 12. Funny, though, that's still way down from the service levels before DeJoy took the job:

The metrics remain well short of the agency's marks from before DeJoy's arrival last June. The week before DeJoy implemented his midsummer changes, the Postal Service delivered 90.6 percent of first-class mail on time. It hasn't reached 90 percent in the eight months since.

Clearly, the answer is to slash service even more to save money, and redefine what "on time" means. Time, after all, is relative, and to be competitive, the USPS needs to slow down?

DeJoy also plans to bring back one of his service innovations from last summer, reducing the hours that post offices are open, because if it's less convenient to use, that will save lots of money. Finally, DeJoy wants to increase the cost of postage; first-class stamps (for letters weighing an ounce or under) have stayed at 55 cents since the start of 2019, so that may not be a surprise, but paying more for crappier service seems like a bad idea.

In addition, DeJoy apparently wants to eliminate shipping domestic letters by airplane, but would keep sending packages by air, which is likely to slow down first-class mail, but may save some money. Maybe, according to the Post's earlier reporting on DeJoy's plans to embugger the mail:

A former Postal Service executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they still work in the mailing industry, said it was unclear how much the agency could recoup by eliminating air transport for first-class mail, because the savings would depend on how much additional volume its trucking operation could handle without additional cost. [...]

"The savings they're going to get out of this isn't a lot compared to what they're going to do to customers," the person said, "and that's assuming they implement everything right, which they never do."

As we've noted before, DeJoy can't be fired by Joe Biden because of rules that are supposed to insulate the Postal Service from presidential whims. The postmaster can only be hired or fired by the USPS Board of Governors, which currently has a majority of Trump appointees, none of whom has ever worked at the Postal Service. (Also, there's certainly evidence that the rules didn't stop Trump from engineering DeJoy's hiring in the first place.) Biden has nominated three Democrats to fill vacancies on the USPS board; once the Senate confirms them, they could then shitcan DeJoy. Additionally, WaPo notes that "More than 50 House Democrats last week asked President Biden to fire the board's six sitting members for cause — citing 'gross mismanagement,' 'self-inflicted' nationwide mail delays and 'rampant conflicts of interest'" — so that's a possibility, too.

As for the Postal Service's financial troubles, those mostly result from that 2006 requirement that the USPS fund up to 75 years of pension liability, plus healthcare for retirees, up front, which is a huge burden that no other government agency faces. Happily, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), the chair of the Oversight Committee, has introduced a bill that would significantly reform the Postal Service, eliminate that healthcare pre-funding mandate, and shift USPS retirees to Medicare, which the Post reports would "immediately save the USPS $35 billion in liabilities" for pre-funding; the switch to Medicare would save another $10 billion over 10 years. DeJoy supports the Maloney plan, but claims his slash-and-burn cuts to service are also an absolute necessity.

Seems to us the real solution is to slash and burn the current postmaster, in a purely metaphorical sense, of course. Let him go wreck some private sector company instead.

[CNN / WaPo / NYT / WaPo / Image: Video screenshot, KABC-TV]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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