Mail delivery has already slowed this month, and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s blueprint for overhauling the U.S. Postal Service in order to slash costs is partly to blame. These slower delivery standards could start undermining the public’s trust in the USPS.
According to expert Paul Steidler, 4 of 10 pieces of first-class mail will experience slower delivery. That “means mail delivery will be slower than in the 1970s,” Steidler stated, calling DeJoy’s plan “disastrous.”
Since the beginning of October, the postal service’s normal three-day delivery standard for first-class mail has fallen to delivery time ranging up to five days.
Critics of Dejoy’s plan are mostly concerned for the people in rural areas, the elderly and disabled not receiving their mail on time, which could be vital prescriptions or bills. People who pay their bills by mail or receive paper checks could experience late fees. “It’s the least fortunate who will be hurt hardest by this,” Steidler continued, “Everything in American society is getting faster, it seems, except for the mail delivery — which is now going to get slower.”
This change is reminiscent to the postal service during the 2020 election, in which delivery delays challenged the faith the public had in USPS.
So, what’s the upside to all of this? The logic behind Dejoy’s 10-year plan is to hopefully eradicate an estimated $160 billion loss over the next decade. Ultimately, it aims to boost revenue through expanded parcel delivery and postage increases.
However, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has called into question whether or not slower delivery standards would even save money.
“Reducing service will only discourage use of the U.S. Mail, which is not a formula for long-term financial health and stability,” said Christopher W. Shaw, the author of the forthcoming book “First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy and the Corporate Threat,” in a statement.
Lawmakers have already questioned this plan. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of 40 lawmakers implored Postmaster DeJoy to provide more information about the consolidation of 18 mail-processing facilities, which is also a part of his 10-year plan.
“We believe that at a minimum, these consolidations should be paused until further information about the justification and impact is made public,” representatives including Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington, and Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, wrote in the letter.
A group of 21 state attorneys general asked the PRC to reject the USPS’ plan to slow deliveries, calling it a “misguided effort”.
This controversial plan is another notch added to the belt of those calling for Dejoy’s resignation. Dejoy has been accused of conflict of interest, amongst other things. Undoubtedly, this plan is costing rural America and questioning the faith the public has in the United States Postal Service.