Here is proof that I can change. I am removing reverie and sentimentality from an issue and adopting reality. This institution has existed in one form or another as long as our country itself. Sadly, but necessarily, its time has come; soon I’ll be writing about the extinction of the United States Postal Service.
Poor management, lack of reliability, financial failure, and cost to the public have all contributed to the demise of a once treasured business. If any other business venture lost 47 billion dollars in a decade, they would have declared bankruptcy and the doors would be closed. Losses which average nearly 350 million dollars each quarter cannot be tolerated.
Do we need the U.S.P.S.? The truth is ‘no.’ Items delivered to your home which can actually be called ‘mail’ make up a small percentage of what is placed in your mailbox. Most of what is stuffed inside of that box on your curb is ‘junk mail.’ What about bills, birthday cards, or important notices from government agencies or businesses in which I have invested? A private contractor could perform the service, but most of it is now unnecessary in this age of electronics.
I have not received or sent a letter to anyone in years. I do send birthday cards, but occasionally they are of the electronic variety. Paperless billing is increasing in popularity, as well as any important notices requiring our attention.
We haven’t discussed packages, mostly because we know the answer. UPS and FedEx are more reliable and are comparable with the post office in fees.
I was in management for the 2010 U.S. Census. As the office was organized, shipments began to arrive from the main office located in the eastern United States. They consisted of supplies, manuals, and other items required to perform the huge task ahead. They were delivered by FedEx. My immediate response was ‘why isn’t this government agency using the post office.’ I didn’t like the answer, because it was the truth.
The United States Census Bureau had signed a multi-million dollar contract with FedEx for one principal reason. Virtually all of the information we would ship out of the office had to be received at its destination overnight. The post office would not guarantee the timely arrival of the time sensitive material we produced; and they continue to deny that promise today.
What is the solution offered by the U.S.P.S.? It’s always the same; raise the price of stamps. I am not against any increase which provides better service to the consumer; taxes are necessary in all forms. In this particular case each increase serves only a single purpose; to keep the agency in business.
This is not a new problem. Why hasn’t it been addressed seriously by the only group which has the power to change or remove the institution? Congress has but a single goal; to get reelected. The issue about the post office is real, but the majority of Americans will look at it emotionally rather than rationally. Removing a century’s old public service will likely cause a minor uproar from voters.
This is another situation where our government needs to do the right thing. So nothing is likely to be done about it.
By James Turnage