Stop the Postal Service’s ‘panic selling’Within 30 days of proposing to make Americans wait longer for less mail service, the Postal Service got thousands of comments. The vast majority of people didn’t like the idea.
By: Grand Forks Herald, The Jamestown Sun
Within 30 days of proposing to make Americans wait longer for less mail service, the Postal Service got thousands of comments. The vast majority of people didn’t like the idea.
So, how has the Postal Service responded?
By moving forward with the plan anyway.
“Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day,” The Associated Press reported.
These changes are coming too fast and with too little thought being put into them. Furthermore, they’re being driven not by any sense of the public good but simply by money — namely, the Postal Service’s financial crisis.
That’s no way to run an agency that Americans have depended upon for more than 200 years, one with roots in the Constitution itself.
Congress should authorize a stopgap measure to let the Postal Service maintain its status quo for now. Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, does something like this.
Then the U.S. needs a blue-ribbon commission or equivalent body to look at the Postal Service and propose reforms — reforms potentially as far-reaching as the Postal Reorganization Act of 1971, the act that created the Postal Service as we know it today.
Is it time to privatize the agency and its functions completely, as some countries in Europe apparently have done? Or, is it time for the Postal Service to return to being the “U.S. Post Office” and once again be operated as a taxpayer-supported federal agency?
Or something in between?
Those are the kinds of decisions America needs to be making about its Postal Service.
But they’re not being made now. Monday’s confirmation of “unprecedented cuts” has an air of desperation about it. The Postal Service is pushing the panic button, as shown by the fact that it’s moving ahead with its plan despite the public and Congress’ clear opposition.
Almost certainly, the Postal Service would be happy to consider alternatives, but the service simply does not have the money to do so. Like a business that has fallen on hard times and faces an uncertain future, the Postal Service is being pressured to act by the looming threat of catastrophic loss.
But the trouble is, the Postal Service is not just another business. It may be a quasi-private organization, but it’s also one with a centuries-old public-service mission: delivering America’s mail.
“Universal postal service is an American vision that has served communities large and small since the 1700s and was a founding principle in our Constitution,” wrote Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, in an op-ed earlier this year.
“Diminishing access would break a critical communication link and create new barriers to the flow of goods and information that would significantly undermine our economic prosperity and efficiency.”
That’s why “the financial challenges faced by the USPS should not preclude the preservation of universal postal service and convenient community access,” as Snowe wrote.
And that’s also why America needs a stopgap, status-quo measure that preserves the Postal Service’s functions while the nation takes a closer and better look at what to do.