Welcome to my everything-is-backward, “through-the-looking-glass,” what-are-we-coming-to, bizarro blog this week. Ever since the Senate passed the postal reform bill that delays elimination of Saturday delivery by two years and slows the shutdown of mail processing facilities, it seems like everything is the exact opposite of what I would think.

First, the USPS—that bureaucratic, drag-your-feet, labor-first, pseudo-governmental entity—came out with a statement strongly opposed to the bill as was passed. Its board of governors stressed the need to return to financial viability, objecting to the slowing down of facility shutdowns and movement to five-day delivery.

I spoke with multiple postal representatives who consistently called for the removal of the handcuffs that are preventing the Postal Service from taking these next steps and impairing its ability to operate as a private enterprise would. The representatives I spoke with couldn’t have been more clear about their commitment to returning the enterprise to its former vitality– if only we’d (read: our elected representatives) let it.

Next, I spoke with representatives from some of the print and direct marketing groups that have come out in support of the legislation. These are the groups that many of us, as printers, support with our membership fees. The mood of this group was much more bullish on the bill.

The people I spoke with were excited that a bill had passed. They saw it as better than a pragmatic compromise; it was described as a good bill that does some cutting now and forces the House to act on the topic.

So in this bizarro world, the entity that some think of as a slow-moving bureaucracy is advocating for market-driven reform and pushing for the ability to be nimbler, more responsive and responsible. And the private-sector trade groups that one would expect to be backing changes that clearly will benefit the most constituents over the long run, are settling for legislation that only postpones the day or reckoning, while ignoring the fundamental issues that bedevil the USPS.

A third-generation printer, Dustin LeFebvre delivers his vision for Specialty Print Communications as EVP, Marketing through strategy, planning and new product development. With a rich background ranging from sales and marketing to operations, quality control and procurement, Dustin takes a wide-angle approach to SPC

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    Plenty of good points here. Especially that the USPS is the ONLY Federal agency (and folks, let’s get real, it answers tot he Congress so is for all practical purposes a Fed agency) being required to prefund its retirement fund. However folks, what the USPS is trying to do is itself just a short-term band-aid placed on a gushing artery. In the longer term – and I mean a few years, not a decade or more – the only answers are either: huge increases in "standard" mail postage rates; elimination of door-to-door delivery (you go to a post box to pick up your mail); or a return to a subsidized postal system. Reason: the bottom line is that it costs nearly the same for the carrier to deliver one piece to a home, or thirty pieces, and that – all those carrers and their carrier routes – is the millstone on the postal systems’ budget.