COLUMN: Postal Service public service or public nuisance?
Through rain, sleet or snow... unless it’s Saturday. The Postal Service recently announced it will be cutting Saturday deliveries starting in August. This change shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone after the Postal Service posted a record $15.9 billion loss last year, but it’s plan is too little too late.
It’s time to be honest with ourselves. The Postal Service, like the humble penny, is leftover waste of a bygone era. The Postal Service should be eliminated, and the parcel delivery industry should be completely privatized so we can rid ourselves of an enormous budgetary flub that, frankly, not too many people use anymore.
I’m not shocked the Postal Service is falling apart. It has a horrendous business model — I can mail a letter anywhere in the country for 46 cents. The cost of mailing a letter in France is roughly 80 cents, and France is slightly smaller than Texas. With rising gas prices and the advent of the internet how could charging 46 cents be a good idea?
The last time I used the Postal Service was over six months ago, and before that I hadn’t used the Postal Service in well over a year — back when I was applying for college. I, like many students, pay bills for school and rent online. Even the Postmaster General knows the technological realities. “It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s free. You cannot beat free,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in an article on Fox 40 about the effects the internet has on the postal service.
It’s hard to come up with any reason to keep the Postal Service around when it loses $15.9 billion a year. But don’t worry, we’re going to cut Saturday delivery to reduce our operational costs. Ending Saturday delivery will supposedly save $2 billion. How is losing $14 billion a year any better? Do we need a government agency that just seems to deliver junk mail and advertisements? No, we don’t. We don’t need more supermarket catalogs, and no, the enclosed information in that envelop is not urgent.
The Postal Service isn’t flexible enough to make the changes necessary to survive. The Postal Service is unwilling to admit the price of stamps is far too low, and should be increased from 46 cents to at least 80 cents, but I think this change is unlikely to occur anytime soon since the Postal Service rarely raises the price of stamps more than one to two cents per year. Mail delivery should be privatized to lift a large burden from our budget, the Postal Service needs to be eliminated in an effort to balance the budget.
The relevance of the Postal Service has waned in the past decade; it’s time the Postal Service drastically alter its course, or maybe it is time the Postal Service cut its losses and parked its weird vans for good, so we can finally rid ourselves of the massive anachronism that is the U.S. Postal Service.
Jeff Black is a broadcasting junior.