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Cuts to First-Class Mail to Slow Delivery in 2012

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WASHINGTON (AP) – A U.S. Postal Service facing possible bankruptcy plans to more broadly outline an estimated $3 billion in cuts today and fast delivery of first class mail is likely to be a casualty.

The cuts could slow everything from check payments to Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carriers.

One analyst suggests the changes will only increase the shift away from mail to alternatives like the Internet.

The cuts would close roughly 250 of the nearly 500 mail processing centers. The Postal Service already has announced a 1-cent increase in first-class mail to 45 cents in January.

After five years in the red, the post office faces imminent default this month on a $5.5 billion annual payment to the U.S. Treasury for retiree health benefits.

Full congressional action doesn’t appear likely anytime soon.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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