U.S. Postal Service: Too Big to Mail?
Do we need the U.S. Postal Service? Today's Washington Post editorial offers a well-researched and thoughtful wake-up call suggesting the answer may be no unless USPS can "reinvent itself for the 21st Century." The Post estimates the USPS will lose between $6 and $12 b. this fiscal year, and cutting back deliveries to five days a week seems inevitable. Mail volume has declined for seven years in a row, and it plummeted 14.9% in the first quarter alone.
If you're like me, you wonder why you have to sift through so much junk mail to find the few pieces of mail you want. I rarely mail anything anymore. Most of my payments are made electronically. On the rare occasions when I need postal service, I usually stand in line for 10 minutes or more despite all of USPS's efforts to improve customer service. When I want to mail a package, I go to the United Parcel Service (UPS) store.
The U.S. Postal Service doesn't get it - the Internet has destroyed its business model. Its technology is outmoded. The Post recommends an immediate shift to the Swiss Post model, where you check your mail online and decide whether you need physical delivery, but the postal workers union, junk mailers, and Congress won't let that happen.
One other impediment looms large: the U.S. Postal Service was established by the Constitution. I'd be interested if any constitutional lawyers think the Postal Service could be dismantled without amending the Constitution.
The USPS is another bailout waiting to happen.