When the U.S. Postal Service announced in February that it would end Saturday mail delivery this summer, most Americans reacted with a mixture of wistfulness and resignation. Yes, it was sad that the mail carrier wouldn't be dropping off letters on Saturday anymore, but scaling back to five days was a necessary concession to the agency's financial problems and a reflection of changes in communication wrought by the Internet.
But not everyone saw it that way: The unions representing postal employees and their champions on Capitol Hill were especially determined to block the change, and a continuing resolution passed by Congress last month prohibited the USPS from curtailing service. On Wednesday, the Board of Governors of the Postal Service bowed to Congress' will, while warning that it will be impossible for the agency to meet its cost-reduction goals without changes in the delivery schedule.
Unless Congress is willing to approve an infusion of government funds for the service which receives no taxpayer support for its day-to-day operations it should back off and allow the Postal Service to introduce sensible efficiencies. By moving to five-day delivery of mail (while continuing parcel delivery six days a week), the Postal Service hoped to save $2 billion a year. That would be a significant contribution to the service's solvency.