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Late Christmas cards are least worrisome

The metered cost to mail a 1 oz. letter went up a penny this month.

Good thing.

Maybe the U.S. Postal Service will put the extra money to good use getting the mail delivered on time.

Seriously, this is not a matter to joke about.

Repeated and outrageous delays in mail delivery are leading many of us to rely less and less on the U.S. Postal Service. But that only exacerbates the problem. Like you, my family still is receiving Christmas cards. But that’s the least of my worries.

Utility bills are arriving days after they’re due. And don’t even get me started on credit card invoices.

More than once this month I’ve spent spare time that I don’t have attempting to convince credit card companies to waive the late fee stemming from slow mail delivery. Luckily, they’ve agreed, but they’ve also urged me to consider paying online from now on.

Great idea. It’ll save me 55 cents and provide some peace of mind.

The bad news is it’s just another loss for the U.S. Postal Service already struggling financially.

A family friend retired from the Post Office. I recall in years past his urging to avoid paying bills online for that very reason.

As frustrating as the U.S. Postal Service can be, nobody wants it to fail because we do still need it for many reasons. The fact is, though, the Postal Service is in dire straits. Some articles predict it could run out of cash this year, leading to layoffs, limited service and, yes, even worse delays in mail delivery.

Former President Donald Trump had considered privatizing the U.S. Postal Service, but that’s probably not likely to happen any time soon, if ever.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, last week was so frustrated he penned a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to fire the entire United States Postal Service Board of Governors.

Ryan’s staff emailed a press release to my newsroom to notify us of the congressman’s actions, and like they often do, they attached a copy of Ryan’s actual letter typed on official congressional stationery and signed with an ink pen. I couldn’t help but wonder if Ryan had mailed the letter to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

In the correspondence, Ryan, a Democrat, blamed operational changes imposed by Trump-appointee Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for negatively impacting the quality and timeliness of mail service nationally.

Somehow, I knew this would become political, even though it’s not. Undoubtedly, both Democrats and Republicans need their mail on time.

“My offices have been inundated with calls, emails and letters detailing their unfortunate experiences with the USPS,” Ryan had written. “Too many are receiving bills weeks late, which has caused them to miss car, credit card and utility payments through no fault of their own. Many are also expressing frustrations that they have not yet received their pension checks that they depend on or the holiday greetings and gifts that their family and friends sent weeks ago. The Postmaster General and the entire Board of Governors have failed the American people.

“The Postal Service should be an institution the American people unquestionably count on. It is an economic engine for many businesses in my community and my constituents, particularly in rural areas, count on their service,” Ryan wrote.

Our reporter experienced similar cries of outrage when she was assigned the story and sought residents’ comments about mail delays.

You think late Christmas cards are bad? Some people shared horror stories of mail-order prescription medicine arriving weeks past due; families waiting on pension checks needed for grocery shopping; and delayed utility bills that now are triggering shutoff notices.

It’s a big problem that needs to be solved soon. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers, but I’d love to hear your suggestions.

And if you have one, please, use email.

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