Congress separated out the old Post Office Department in 1971, creating the current USPS, a quasi-public/private agency that is supposed to pay its own way.
Since then, the USPS has struggled to operate like a private business while continuing to answer to the whims of Congress.
As one former postmaster told me, it's like trying to run a business with 500 CEO's.
Postmaster Donahoe can expect a fight, but he's on the right track. Cutting Saturday service will save about $2 billion a year. That doesn't solve all the financial problems, but it's a start.
Donahoe should also take a hard look at the employee costs, which make up 80 percent of the Postal Service's budget. The agency may be able to close some post offices. And Congress should review the amortization schedule for the retirement benefits.
But changes are necessary if we want to keep this vital service.
The Saturday cut will upset a lot of folks, but as Donahoe accurately said, "It's a reasonable business action and common sense; when revenue drops, you have to make changes. You can't run away from it."
Washington could use more of that kind of thinking.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.