It is all over the headlines. The United States Post Office will stop Saturday delivery in August. Back in 2011, the Post Office ended what many Americans depended on, the end of first class mail that was delivered in one day.
It is true that with the advent of email and electronic communication, that much less people to people letters, bills, etc. and other first class mail is being processed by the postal service. The US Post Office like any private company has the ability to downsize the portion of its business where volume has declined even as it increases the portion that is increasing, package delivery, as e-commerce continues to expand.
What the US Post Office cannot handle is politically contrived inflicted wounds as stated by Al Griffin, the president of Letter Carriers Branch 377.
Griffin said despite popular belief, the post office is not broke because of mail delivery, but it is struggling because of the huge fees it faces every fall. These fees pay for retirement funds of some people that are not born yet and do not work at the post office yet, he said.
Griffin warned that unless changes are made thousands of post offices could close, Saturday delivery could be eliminated, and 120,000 employees could be laid off.
His statements were prescient. In 2006 Congress passed a bill that requires the postal service to pay a 75 year pension liability in 10 years, a feat not required not even by private companies who can ultimately be bailed out by the government. This bill, H.R. 6407: Postal Accountability Act is nothing more than a bill designed to kill most of the postal service. Congress cannot just kill it all because the postal clause in the constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 9) demands its existence.
Anyone wanting to know why the postal service cannot readily innovate to change with the times and make it completely sustainable for the foreseeable future, must read the bill. Other than forcing pension/retirement liability funding at crushing levels, the bill prevents the postal services from creating “modern” postal products that may compete with the private sector. They are allowed to experiment with new products for 24 months with a 12 month extension. One reading the bill will understand that this is yet another form of socializing losses and privatizing profits. Any successful new postal product could be taken away from the postal service as private companies take them. Of course every successful and unsuccessful product was paid for by the postal service, we the people. Additionally, the postal service is not giving the complete wherewithal to subsidize regions as would make business sense when its national service is viewed in totality.
The video below is a bit dated but illustrates the problem. Most of the information within is still applicable.
Most corporatists advertising would have you believe that the postal service is a drag on the government; that is false. The postal service is self-sustaining. Moreover, if the postal service operated like any other union based corporation it would be doing fine.
Inasmuch as the post office for the most part handles the least profitable portion of the delivery business, it is still standing. Inasmuch as it is a union shop with good middle class wages, it is still standing. It is a positive to our economy by ensuring a class of well-paid and mostly hardworking employees (though some clerks are as lousy as many grocery clerks or hardware store assistant in the private sector).
One must not be fooled by the false propaganda. The post office is very efficient. No other service, private or public, can get a letter to most parts of the United States for forty nine cents in a day or so.
Private companies and their cronies in Congress want to deplete the US Post Office to provide the services they do not want, standard mail and hard to reach places. They want the elimination of efficient first class mail that gets to most destinations in one day. They want to ensure the postal service cannot get into any business they may want to extract a profit out of. After-all, an inefficient postal service that cannot deliver a piece of first class mail in a day or that cannot offer innovative products means that they can build their own monopolies and in effect apply a tax to all Americans by having to use their service at an increased cost.