Thursday, April 26, 2018
Editorials

Mailboxes to have that empty feeling on Saturdays

The U.S. Postal Service creed about punctually completing its appointed rounds regardless of rain, heat or gloom of night is about to have an asterisk. Starting in August, the Postal Service plans to stop Saturday delivery of first-class mail. That would mark the end of an era when that unexpected letter or new magazine falling through the mail slot could be the highlight of an easygoing day off.

In the age of instant messages and tweets, email and online bill payments, post offices would remain open on Saturdays and package delivery will continue six days a week. But the reduced first-class mail delivery schedule is presented as the agency struggles with a staggering $15.9 billion loss last year. The failure of Congress to permit the Postal Service to adjust its obligation to overpay billions of dollars into its pension and retiree health benefit funds has only exacerbated the financial crisis. It is unrealistic to demand that the Postal Service operate like a private sector business while Congress imposes such bureaucratic constraints on its management.

While the Internet and private sector delivery services like FedEx and UPS pose considerable market share challenges, Congress has prevented the Postal Service from being able to compete for business on a level playing field. Unlike any other public sector agency, the Postal Service alone is required to make an annual $5.5 billion prepayment into the retiree pension and health funds. At the moment the prefunding requirement has resulted in an estimated $11 billion in overpayments, money the Postal Service could use to fund its operations and compete for business.

Since 1775, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general, the U.S. Postal Service has remained true to its oath in serving the public in the face of all manner of obstacles. It plans to continue to provide reliable home delivery — except on Saturdays.

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‘Happy hour’ tax cuts may result in hangovers

Evidence is mounting that the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package enacted in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump was a bad idea, not only for the long-run health of the economy but for the short-term political prospects of the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

Editorial: St. Petersburg’s waste-to-energy to wastefulness project

A St. Petersburg waste-to-energy plant now under construction has been billed for years as an environmentally friendly money saver. Now it looks more like a boondoggle, with the cost and mission changing on the fly. It’s yet another example of a city...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/25/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18