Bonnie Petrie and Mike Barajas

Congress’ Free-mail Ride

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No more Pony Express...no more Saturday mail this Summer

No more Pony Express…no more Saturday mail this Summer

Like the Pony Express, Saturday mail delivery is being culled to save the U.S. Postal Service about $2-billion a year.
You might be wondering, even as you cheer the clearing of the junk mail clutter from your weekend, what about all that free mail Congress gets from the USPS each year?

That’s called “franking,” and even with a greater reliance on e-mail and internet communications to do the work of the people, Bloomberg calculates Congress still churned through $45-million in essentially “free” mail in 20-10 and 20-11. Your representatives used the perk for everything from calendars  adorned with Washingtonian images, to specially-targeted mailings to  interest groups within their constituencies. If you consider such mailings to be junk mail, well, then the USPS is doing you a favor by curtailing their arrival in your mailbox on the weekend.

The General Accounting Office estimates the Post Office lost about $6.4-billion last year.
Revenue of only $67.7-billion wasn’t nearly enough to cover the $74.1-billion bill for operations.
Congress’ $45-million franking cost is but a fraction of the postal service’s deficit.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor hail can delay the U.S. Mail…” unless it’s Saturday delivery, starting in August.

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