Do Not Mail Initiatives — Truth Outweighs Hype

The USPS is looking at a loss of $6 billion for 2009, according to Postmaster General John Potter.

How dire is the USPS’ situation? Potter proposes reducing the number of delivery days to five, which would save an estimated $3.5 billion a year. This action is largely opposed in printing circles.

Still, rationalization will rear its head in some form or another. Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia in March, Potter urged lawmakers to provide the USPS with flexibility in regard to mandated retiree health benefit payments. The H.R. 22 bill reversing the mandatory retiree funding requirement would save the USPS $2 billion.

“Mr. ZIP” is definitely in a tight spot. The recession has visited a terrible toll on the USPS, as mail volume, which stood at 212 billion pieces as recently as 2007, is expected to plummet to 180 billion pieces—a 15 percent decline.

Looking after the interests of the USPS, mailers, printers, etc., is the Mail Moves America (MMA) coalition, led by Ben Cooper. A principal of Washington, DC-based government affairs firm Williams & Jensen, he notes that 19 Do Not Mail bills were considered at the state level over the past two years. Three more bills came around in the first three months of 2009; at press time, an effort in Florida was squashed.

“The appetite for pure Do Not Mail legislation seems a little less hearty in 2009, probably due to the focus on the larger issues of jobs, the economy and healthcare,” notes Jim Andersen, president and CEO of Chanhassen, MN-based IWCO Direct, a direct mail solutions provider. “Mail Moves America is keeping the industry alerted to other legislation such as ‘Do Not Offer’ bills that would impact the printing and mailing industries.”

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