A Senate report has deemed six day snail mail delivery as at the top of the list of the federal government’s responsibilities. Really? If daily snail mail is so critical, then why isn’t there seven day delivery? Why not twice a day?
Six-day delivery “is one of the most important services provided by the federal government to its citizens,” the Senate Appropriations Committee wrote in an explanatory report accompanying its version of the bill. “Especially in rural and small-town America, this critical postal service is the linchpin that serves to bind the nation together.”
The Senate bill would also put new restrictions on the Postal Service’s freedom to close mail processing plants, raising alarms from the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, a mailers’ group. Although individual members have different views on the potential benefits of cutting mail service, “we are united in our conviction that the Postal Service must reduce its operational capacity,” the coalition said in a letter to top members of the appropriations committees this week. “Bringing in additional issues can only generate additional uncertainty and potential delay in the passage of reform legislation that is so critical to returning the Postal Service to financial stability.”
Meantime, the USPS has been bleeding cash in a changing marketplace. From a March CNN story:
The U.S. Postal Service is, by law, an “independent establishment” of the executive branch. The agency doesn’t normally use tax dollars for operations, but it has a $12.1 billion loan from Treasury, as of Jan. 31.
Without help from Congress, the U.S. Postal Service will hit its $15 billion legal cap on the amount it can borrow from Treasury in coming months, postal service officials have warned.
Very soon we must face the reality that daily snail mail is a declining industry. Without cutbacks, this will never be viable. My view is that the service should be opened up to competition from the private sector. Only then will we see what the real demand for the service is, at what cost it can be delivered at a profit, and which companies want to compete in the marketplace.
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