A $45 billion bailout of the Postal Service?
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe appeared before a Senate committee this week, pleading for permission to cut costs.
After all, the U.S. Postal Service ran a $15.9 billion deficit in the last fiscal year alone.
Members of Congress, afraid both of Postal Service unions and Postal Service customers, have refused for decades to give the Postal Service permission to make economic sense.
But the situation has changed. Now there's something worse to be afraid of:
Donahoe, in asking for permission to end mail delivery on Saturday, issued a warning:
Unless Congress allows him to drop Saturday mail delivery, taxpayers could face a $45 billion bailout of the Postal Service in four years.
Oh. If there's anything members of Congress like less than getting on the wrong side of postal unions, it's getting crosswise with an electorate that is mad as hell about multibillion-dollar bailouts.
Congress would dump $45 billion on taxpayers? It would be best not to go there.
Diehards remain, of course.
Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., said on the House floor Wednesday that eliminating Saturday mail delivery would result in the layoff of more than 50,000 letter carriers. Postal Service officials say it would not have that effect because of attrition and reduced overtime.
Saturday mail delivery is not required by law, but since 1983 members of Congress have precluded an end to it by including a ban in spending bills.
Donahoe says ending Saturday mail delivery would save the Postal Service $2 billion a year.
Americans love their mail carriers, but they hate what congressionally mandated nonsense has done to the nation's finances and to their children's future.
It would be smarter for members of the House and Senate to let Donahoe save the money.