Addressing Postal Service woes

February 11, 2013

Attempting to address all of the woes of the U.S. Postal Service would require a lot of column inches, so I will limit myself to these observations:

The USPS starts the fiscal year with the onus of a $5.5 billion payment for health benefits for future employees, which means that the agency starts the year in the red. This money is a political football for Congress and is an unfair burden to carry. No other agency of the U.S. government is required to do this. And while everyone reads that the Internet is killing mail volume, what is not mentioned is that those same people using the Internet are ordering a multitude of products, a substantial amount of which are delivered by the Postal Service. So while letter volume is down, the package service is booming. Oh, and about UPS and Fedex, as a former carrier, I can tell you with certainty that every day a brown UPS truck and a FedEx truck pull up to the loading dock of the Washington Post Office and unload parcels that these companies cannot or will not deliver. The Postal Service contracts to deliver these parcels, the “last mile.”

Also, comparing mail service in other countries to our own is very misleading. The idea of universal service is unique; other countries charge way more for mailing letters and parcels with longer delivery times.

Lastly, UPS and FedEx are not equipped, nor do they want, to take over the job that the Post Office does. Engage private enterprise and if you think 46 cents to mail a letter is expensive, wait until you try to mail that same letter to that relative who lives in Hawaii or some other distant locale. Anyone interested should take a look at an article in this month’s Esquire magazine and decide for themselves if they really want to live without the Postal Service.

David Jones



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