Posted by Matthew Rothschild on February 06, 2013

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader and Senator Bernie Sanders condemned the U.S. Postal Service for its decision to end Saturday delivery.

‘The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) today continued its tradition under the leadership of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe of shooting itself in the foot,” Nader said. “The only question that remains is: When will the madness end? By ending Saturday letter delivery in August 2013, as the USPS has proposed, millions of customers who take advantage of its services will be harmed, mail service will be slowed, and the USPS’s current death spiral will deepen.”

Nader also called into question the legality of the move.

“In making the move to end Saturday letter delivery, Postmaster General Donahoe has not only shown his complete disregard for the good of the USPS’s consumers, but he has also ignored the will of Congress,” Nader said. “For decades, Congress has mandated six-day delivery. Congress must act to protect rural communities, small businesses, the elderly, and the disabled, among others by reasserting its authority over the U.S. Postal Service and stopping it from making such an irresponsible decision.”

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont echoed Nader. “The postmaster general cannot save the Postal Service by ending one of its major competitive advantages,” he said. “Cutting six-day delivery is not a viable plan for the future.” Sanders added that it “will harm rural America while doing very little to improve the financial condition of the Postal Service. Providing fewer services and less quality will cause more customers to seek other options. Rural Americans, businesses, senior citizens and veterans will be hurt by ending Saturday mail.”

Many disabled people, veterans, and elderly folks who sometimes get their Social Security checks or Veterans' checks on a Saturday will now have to wait until Monday to get their checks, and they are often desperately short by the end of the month already. This will make tthose last few days even more excruciating than ever. And many veterans are employed by the Postal Service and some could lose their jobs in the cutbacks that will flow from ending Saturday delivery.

Both Nader and Sanders noted that the financial burden the Postal Service faces was manufactured by Congress. In 2006, Congress required the Postal Service to “pre-fund 75 years’ worth of future retiree health benefits over a 10-year period,” said Sanders. “That pre-funding requirement is responsible for about 80 percent of the Postal Service’s financial losses since 2007. No other government agency, no other corporation in America is burdened with this mandate. This mandate must be lifted.”

Nader pointed out how silly this mandate is, saying it “effectively forces the USPS to prefund retiree health benefits for some of its future employees who haven’t even been born yet!”

Nader added: “Postmaster General Donahoe has demonstrated that he lacks the political courage to stand up to Congress and tell them that they caused this mess and they need to fix it.”

Nader called for Donahoe to resign.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Obama’s So-So Speech on Immigration."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter