Author: Sarah_Wor_Debater

The US Postal Service Should Continue Saturday Mail Deliveries


PRO (4 arguments)

Grabbers:

1) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – “Cutting down mail delivery to five days per week will not save the Postal Service from insolvency. This short sighted measure will deal a crippling blow to the millions of Americans and small businesses who rely on the timely and reliable delivery to every community in our nation.”

2) According to a poll done by Mail Print, 86% of businesses stated that they would not be able to function as efficiently as normal if Saturday mail deliveries were eliminated.


 

Definitions:

US Postal Service: an independent federal agency that provides mail processing and delivery service for individuals and businesses in the United States

 

1. If the US postal service discontinues Saturday mail deliveries, many jobs will be lost.
Warrant:

“The Postal Service is the linchpin of a $1 trillion mailing and mail-related industry that employs more than 8 million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mail, printing, catalog companies, magazine and newspaper publishing and paper manufacturing," Maine senator Susan Collins said. "A healthy Postal Service is not just important to postal customers but also to our national economy." This quote shows that by cutting jobs, we will be hurting our economy farther.

Whatever savings do materialize will come primarily from cutting jobs  — a lot of them. Joann Weiner, an economist, says roughly 35,000 to 40,000 letter carrier jobs may have to be cut to make up for the projected but over-estimated $2 billion a year in savings. Richard Gallegos, vice president of the Fresno Area American Postal Workers Union and author of the Los Angeles Times article “The Truth About Saturday mail”, also agrees with Weiner, stating that 30,000-40,000 carriers will lose their jobs because of the cut. So many jobs are being cut, which hurts our economy. This in turn doesn’t help us in this recession but just puts us deeper into it.

Sources:

Maine senator Susan Collins, Los Angeles Times

 

2. Contrary to popular belief, cutting Saturday mail actually loses money.
Warrant:

A 2011 Postal Regulatory Commission study indicates many of the alleged savings of five-day delivery are illusory—that, as all the political bluster suggests, cutting Saturday mail is a better bargaining chip than it is an actual budget measure. This study indicated that the savings are not actually reflected. In fact, they showed that the “supposed” savings will not occur and in fact will lose money.

Representative Gerry O’Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the House bill to preserve Saturday delivery, said in an interview that the Postal Service has not substantiated its projected $2 billion in annual savings from ending Saturday delivery.

In addition, financial experts, Jennifer Karls and Mark Giordio, analyzed the statistics concerning the amount of money saved. The amount saved, which they projected to be $2 billion, is actually much lower. A more recent and accurate study that the two experts conducted has proven that the total savings was only 20% of the projected amount. This is easily outweighed by the money that would be used to pay post office workers for overtime as a result of cutting Saturday mail service.  

Sources:

2011 Postal Regulatory Commission

3. Discontinuing Saturday mail deliveries is an illogical plan.
Warrant:

The postmaster general proposes trading 17% of service for 2% in savings — an irrational business plan. Indeed, when the USPS asked the agency's overseer, the Postal Regulatory Commission, in 2011 to support ending six-day delivery, this illogic was one of the factors cited by the commission in declining to endorse the plan. "I am disappointed by the Postal Service's announcement today regarding its plans to transition to a five-day mail delivery schedule in August. This plan is completely illogical, because it doesn’t work! We are already in a depression and we need to focus on getting out of it, and this plan is not the way we will succeed," said Senator Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, who has been working on a plan to save the postal service with Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican.

Sources:

Senator Tom Carper and Darrell Issa

4. USPS lacks the authority to discontinue Saturday mail.
Warrant:

Postal Service began to question whether it even technically fell under Congress's appropriation bill, because the service is an independent agency that doesn't receive an annual taxpayer subsidy, but instead is reimbursed by Congress for certain relatively small areas, including delivering mail to the blind and overseas voters.The agency's reimbursement for those services is between $80 million and $100 million a year, he said, while the Postal Service's annual operating budget is about $73 billion—most of it raised through sales of stamps and other postal products.

Sen. Tom Carper (D., Del.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, which oversees postal operations, expressed disapproval Wednesday of ending Saturday service."I am disappointed by the Postal Service's announcement today," he said. "For nearly three decades, it has been the clear intent of Congress that the Postal Service provide most communities with six days of mail delivery."Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) said Mr. Donahoe lacked the constitutional authority to eliminate Saturday delivery and asked the Postal Service to provide legal justification for the action.The Association of Magazine Media, which represents consumer magazines, said it was taken by surprise. "While we have actively participated in conversations around postal reform, and in particular, five-day delivery, we did not expect the USPS would act unilaterally, without congressional approval, and we await Washington's reaction and more details," said its president, Mary Berner, in a statement

 

Sources:

Wall Street Journal article “Saturday Mail Delivery nears end.”


CON (4 arguments)

Grabbers:

1) According to a new CBS News poll, 71 percent of Americans say they favor ending mail service delivery on Saturdays to solve the post office’s financial problems. This statistic easily proves that the majority of people in the US approve of cancelling Saturday delivery.

2) “The USPS is $25 billion in debt, and it has to pay $5.5 billion to its employees and future retirees. If they do stop Saturday deliveries, it will save them an extra $2 billion which is is obviously a great help in this detrimental situation,” stated US Congressman Mike Thompson.

Refutations:

1) Getting rid of Saturday mail deliveries would not cut jobs.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the change to five-day mail delivery would equate to about 22,500 postal jobs, but that the agency would not resort to layoffs to make the reductions. Instead, he said it could easily meet that by eliminating overtime, through attrition and by working with unions on buyouts. The USPS currently employs about 520,000 workers. Clearly, by eliminating overtime, jobs won’t be lost.

A study done by the Economist confirms this statement. They found that the U.S. Postal Service spent a combined $717.5 million for unauthorized overtime during fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011. The researchers stated that not delivering mail on Saturdays would also make the USPS stop paying for overtime. So judge, what this means is that if we stop delivering mail on Saturdays, then the USPS will also stop allowing their workers to work overtime and get paid for it. We’re going to save $717.4 million dollars.

1. Ending Saturday mail delivery will save a lot of money.
Warrant:

In the last fiscal year, the post office lost $15.9 billion in the last year. The Postal Service has said ending a day of delivery each week would save a forecasted $3.3 billion in the first year and about $5.1 billion annually by 2020 according to the New York Times. In addition, many other countries have already switched to a 5 day delivery plan and have proven the fact that we will save money if we switch. Australia, Canada, and Sweden are just a few countries that have 5 day delivery schedules. According to a study done by the Australian Mail Services, when they had 6 day deliveries they lost an average of $1.3 billion. But, when they switched to five days, they made an average profit of $2.1 billion. Clearly, we will save money as other countries have.

Sources:

New York Times, Australian Mail Services

2. Ending Saturday mail delivery is widely supported and very beneficial.
Warrant:

A survey conducted by the New York Times found that about 7 in 10 Americans say they would favor the change as a way to help the post office deal with billions of dollars in debt. As the agency tries to adjust to the digital age, only three in 10 people under age 45 say they use it all the time. Patrick R. Donahoe, the postmaster general, said the poll confirms that Americans support the Postal Service’s plans for getting back on solid financial footing. “The results show Americans understand and accept that moving to a five-day delivery schedule is part of the solution,” Mr. Donahoe said. The telephone poll was conducted nationally from June 22 through June 25 among 990 adults, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Clearly, citizens in America all support this change because they understand how beneficial it is.

Sources:

New York Times

3. With the Internet and other faster means of delivery, Saturday mail is not needed as much and therefore a waste of money.
Warrant:

79.1% of people use email while only 29.9% use direct mail. The use of direct mail is slowly declining as our statistics show, which means that the USPS does not need to be open full time. Keeping it open on Saturdays is simply a waste of money.  As well, using email is a lot cheaper, especially for small businesses which need to ship up to thousands of items at a time. Nowadays, most people use their emails to send letters to their friends. Saturday is the lightest mail delivery day by volume and many businesses are closed on Saturdays, according to USPS.

Since 2006, overall mail circulation has decreased by 20% to 25% while first class mail is down by one-third. Judge, let’s compare the number of pieces of mail delivered during the weekdays versus Saturdays. According to United States Postal Service, more mail is delivered any during than on Saturdays. Specifically, an average of 563 million pieces of mail were delivered daily for the weekdays, and only 115 million pieces of mail were delivered on Saturdays. Approxiametely one-fifth of all mail.

 

Sources:

United States Postal Service

4. Taking out Saturday mail will decrease pollution in general.
Warrant:

Usually, the USPS works six days a week. When we take out Saturday, USPS will be mailing five days a week. We have evidence to prove the substantial difference that taking out one day helps our pollution levels.
 

Impact:

Roughly speaking, we will be reducing gas consumption by one sixth because we will not be mailing one out of the six days.

A fact that none of us can hide from is that most of our mail is advertising appeals or junk mail. In fact, according to the New York Times, 48% of all mail received is junk mail. In 2011, Americans received 84 billion pieces of junk mail. These people will not call their post office in fury because they did not receive their daily dose of ads that go directly in the trash. Cities struggling to pay recycling and landfill costs to dispose of billions of pieces of unwanted mail have a huge burden. Localities estimate that they spend about $1 billion a year to collect and dispose of it. We should stop Saturday mail delivery so we can save money in this aspect too. This will save money for landfill operators and cut down on pollution when they do not have to process so many of these useless advertisements.  The end of Saturday letter delivery would be a start in cutting fuel consumption, but will hardly bring the budget back into balance. This is sourced from the New York Times. If the USPS had completely eliminated Saturday delivery, it could reduce its annual petroleum fuel use by 20 to 25 million GGE (about 3 percent of its total fuel use) and reduce its carbon footprint by about 315,000 to 500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas equivalent per year, according to the USPS's 2011 sustainability plan. This is sourced from the Christian Science Monitor.

Sources:

New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor (David J. Unger)