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Jeff Jacoby

E-mail isn’t killing the Postal Service

The lack of genuine, head-to-head competition is hurting the post office

IT’S GROUNDHOG Day at the US Postal Service: time once again for the familiar laments about how the agency’s financial losses are surging, how demand for its services is plummeting, and how officials have no choice but to close local facilities, raise the price of stamps, and reduce delivery standards.

Last week the Postal Service announced plans to cut $3 billion in costs by slowing down first-class mail and eliminating about half of the country’s 461 mail-processing centers. That would mean an end to next-day delivery of first-class mail. Although that might not seem like much of a threat for something already thought of as “snail mail,’’ the Postal Service has insisted for decades that 95 percent or more of local first-class mail is successfully delivered overnight. When the new standards take effect next spring, two-day delivery will become the new overnight, even for mail that’s just traveling down the street.

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