DMA, MPA make case at postal commission hearing

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Washington, D.C.--The U.S. Postal Service's problems stem from short-term challenges as well as "systemic, long-term diseases," Direct Marketing Association President-CEO H. Robert Wientzen told the Presidential Commission on the Postal Service at its public meeting Thursday.

The Bush administration announced the formation of the bi-partisan commission in December. Its mandate is to study the state of the postal system and make legislative recommendations to improve efficiency and cut costs.

The USPS has slipped into fiscal crisis in recent years as mail volume has dropped sharply and rates have increased frequently. It had a $676 million net loss in fiscal 2002.

Wientzen, who made several suggestions to the commission regarding labor issues, pricing and monopoly functions, insisted the solutions require changes to existing law.

"The DMA would respectfully urge this Commission to do more than tinker with the current law," Wientzen said, adding that the postal service is "in a death spiral."

The Magazine Publishers of America made several recommendations in the areas of cost control, universal service, public/private partnerships and the collective bargaining process.

--Carol Krol

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