The postal picture, locally and nationally, is not pretty.
Starting May 15, local mail will be processed in Harrisburg, and postal worker representatives say that will bring dramatic delays in delivery service.
A thousand bits and pieces of convenience also will be taken away by the cuts in services. Anyone who grew up relying on the mailbox as a primary mode of progress and information daily is in for a painful shock as the poster service cutbacks take effect here and elsewhere.
Wistful sadness is our first gut reaction to the changes and cutbacks.
But Postal Service administrators claim more than $3 billion would be saved by moving to a five-day delivery service.
And they say that the Postal Service lost nearly $4 billion in 2009, even with legislation that deferred payment to the retirement health benefit fund.
We don't know many private businesses that would remain in operation following a $4 billion loss.
The answers are painful ones, the same ones that afflict private businesses, large and small, in this country on a daily basis.
The answers are to fundamentally change the elements that create a ledger sheet that consistently shows huge losses.
Something has to change in the salary and benefits package and in the efficiency of the operation to stop the annual leaking of red ink. Or the Postal Service needs to be privatized.
This is not a matter of wanting or wishing for something. It's a matter of dealing with a harsh reality.
The Senate is debating ways to save the ailing Postal Service, including delays in a move to five-day service and plans to close 252 mail processing centers.
Whatever parts of the Postal Service portfolio that can be maintained we want them, but that can't be possible if the red ink isn't reduced.