Can We Save The USPS? Ctd

Sep 10 2011 @ 7:24am

A reader writes:

I know you’ve covered this subject extensively, but have you read this article in the Washington Post?

In addition to structural reforms, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) suggested that USPS should mount a national advertising campaign promoting the value of printed mail. "You cannot get money by text message," McCaskill said. “I really think that there is a longing out there right now, especially in these uncertain times, for some of the things that have provided stability over the years." … Lieberman voiced his support, suggesting, "We should be writing more passionate letters to those we love."

How idiotic are these people? First class mail is DEAD. I’ve been paying bills online for a decade, and I can send money through email to anyone with a PayPal account. Does McCaskill live in 2011, or in 1950?

And don’t get me started on Lieberman’s stunningly stupid statement. The personal letter is DEAD. Everyone calls, texts or emails the ones they love, or they Skype. It’s like saying that cars and gasoline are too expensive, so let’s start a campaign to get more people to ride horses.

Yes, the USPS is a venerable institution steeped in tradition and part of our national heritage, but they are operating under basically the same business model that they did 100 years ago -inconvenient counter hours, rude and uncaring employees (not all, surely), six-days-a-week delivery to every known address in the United States, and a reliance on first-class mail as the backbone of their survival.

Years ago the USPS surrendered much of its parcel service to UPS and FedEx. Time to get that back. Run a campaign that says something like "If Brown cannot do it for you, come back to the red, white and blue." They are on the right track with the flat-rate box campaign, but as a heavy user of the USPS, I find that it’s actually cheaper in most cases to ship at regular calculated rates. Scrap it all and make it simple: you need a computer to figure out how much it costs to send a package because the rates are based on volume, weight and zone. In addition, there’s regular Priority Mail, flat-rate Priority Mail, and even Priority Mail Regional rates. Or do you want parcel post, or media mail, express mail, or first class? Is your mailing piece a letter, a flat, or a parcel?

The USPS needs to learn to compete in today’s market. The entire business model needs to be overhauled. It will take a visionary, but Senators like McCaskill and Lieberman are too out of touch and rooted in the past that they cannot see what should be so obvious.

Another summarizes the other side:

The post office exists by Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which means its establishment is constitutional, not legislative. The post office is not a business but a constitutional agency providing a means of communication between the country’s citizens. The post office will always have trouble being financially feasible because they deliver to that last house on the road, to the Indian reservation in in the Grand Canyon, to the wide-open prairies of the Midwest that the private businesses won’t find profitable. The post office is not a profit-driven business but a constitutionally-driven social service, established in the document the Tea Party says they love so much, and put in the Constitution by the Founders, whose words the Tea Party says need to be revered.