No Mail on Saturday and the Postal Deficit

The Post Office has announced that beginning in August, it will no longer make deliveries on Saturday. There was a rumor that the mailmen will just drive down to the beach that day, watch the waves and play cards. Not true. The real situation is that the mailmen won’t be coming in at all that day. The mail they usually deliver on Saturday will just pile up in the post offices, and will get delivered on Monday.

The reason this is going to happen of course is because the postal service lost $15.9 billion last year. It’s a record loss. They have to do something. Not delivering the mail on Saturday will save about $2 billion. So it’s a start.

I’ve been thinking of other ways to reduce the postal deficit. Here are five.

1. Recycle the junk mail. Deliver it to us as you always do, let us sort it out for you, we’ll put it back in the mailbox with the flag up indicating you should do a pick-up, and the next day when you come around, you can pick up all the junk. It’s all paper, after all, and paper can be recycled. So you win that way. Then there will be more hires and new employees to handle the double load, er, almost double load back and forth. There’s big money in recycling paper.

2. Conduct a lottery. Double the price of postage and use the extra money to build up a big first prize, which will be offered up once a week to a lucky winner. How will they do this? As the mail comes in every week, postal workers steam open one envelope, put inside a note on red paper saying YOU ARE THE WINNER, then glue the envelope closed and continue on making deliveries as usual. People will be eager to win the lottery. The amount of mail will double. The income from stamps will correspondingly double. And everybody will be a good samaritan, because the one who receives the letter and opens it wins, not the sender. Wow. What an idea! And excitement will build as Friday at 4:59 p.m. approaches every week. The amount to be won will be in the millions. The winners will show off their YOU ARE THE WINNER note on TV and after that mail sent out will quadruple.

3. Raise taxes on United Parcel Service and give the extra taxes to the Postal Service. Every day, all around the country, UPS, a private service, provides a better service financially and cleans the clock of the USPS, a public service, once again proving that the public sector can build a better mousetrap than the private sector. This will level the playing field. Fair is fair.

4. Also I learned this week, in addition to the news about the postal service not delivering on Saturday, there was the announcement in Canada that Canada is abandoning the penny. They spend $11 million a year minting the pennies and the copper they are made from costs more than they are worth. Now they will stop. Pennies will be acceptable in Canada, but when they run out that is it. Maybe five years from now, there won’t be any more pennies. Merchants are advised to begin rounding the sales of things to the nearest nickel. Forget pennies. They are so old school.

This is a big opportunity for the United States Postal Service. Send our trucks up there. They’re free on Saturdays. Round up the pennies. Bring them back to America and use them to pay off the deficit. The banks love counting pennies and putting them into little sleeves. Why not?

This idea is worth a fortune. There are 35,000,000 people in Canada. If every Canadian were to look around, in dresser drawers, in their pockets, in jars, etc., I have little doubt that each person will come up with, on average, 100 pennies.

Our U. S. Postal Service trucks can go door-to-door on Saturdays in Canada (they do this in America on Mondays to Fridays) and to the Canadian mint. At the Canadian mint they round up the last $11 million in pennies being made (that’s 11 billion pennies), then go door-to-door and round up the remaining 35 billion pennies (that’s 35 million citizens times 100 pennies each.)

This is a win-win. The Canadians get rid of their pennies earlier, Canadian retail sales roar ahead (most will round things off not to the nearest nickel, but to the nickel up above), and the U. S. Postal Service brings home 46 billion pennies. Now THAT will reduce the deficit.

5. Or, alternately, when we get them home, we melt them down and make them into copper leaders and gutters. There’s good money to be made in the leader and gutter business.

What the United States Postal Service needs is someone with a fresh look at how to fix this. I’m available. For a price. But not in pennies.

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