Urgent need exists for post office changes
Prior to July 26, 1775, most of our mail need was for that going from our colonies to Great Britain. However, with good foresight, on that date, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, named Benjamin Franklin the first Postmaster General at a salary of $1,000 a year.
The United States was a weak confederation of colonies scattered along the eastern seaboard. The postal system that the Congress created helped bind the new nation together, support the growth of commerce, and ensure a free flow of ideas and information.
In the more than two centuries since, the United States and the Postal Service have grown and changed together.
Today, the Postal Service fuels the nation’s economy and delivers hundreds of millions of messages and billions of dollars in financial transactions each day to 8 million businesses and 250 million Americans.
However, for the past five years it has constantly overspent its revenue despite increases in postal rates. Last year it overspent income by $15.9 billion and is seeking taxpayer help as it continues to fail to act to meet competition.
Many individuals who pay full price for first-class letters find their mail boxes filled with unwanted mail sent at first-class timeliness but at a considerably cheaper rate.
While we favor better rates for tax-exempt organizations, mass national mailings have virtually driven this to a flood of mail which goes unopened.
Much of it is far from personal, addressed to a street number, address name, or “current occupant,” relegating it to junk mail.
Try to deal with only one, or at most two, mail-order companies for items not available locally and your mail box is flooded for months with scores of unwanted catalogs from companies never heard of which one trashes without breaking the seal.
During the pre-Christmas mailing rush, some local residents were receiving 5 to 10 pounds of such unwanted junk mail daily.
The mail rate for such catalogs isn’t close to the first-class rate yet receives virtually guaranteed on-time delivery.
Think of the lost revenue and unwanted cost in trees killed and landfills stuffed at considerable inconvenience to the resident.
Of course, many businesses seeking to sell via mail, trade your mailing address so when you meet a need by purchasing from one, you are immediately flooded with unwanted mail from scores of unknown companies.
Despite this flood of unwanted mail, that volume was down 3.8 million pieces in a recent quarter, blamed on the economy.
Several years ago, The Daily Times, like the majority of today’s morning newspapers, moved from afternoon to morning publication. It wasn’t because employees preferred working at night but because the lifestyle of most Americans had changed and it was needed to be more competitive.
Most newspapers have added web sites to better compete with the electronic media. Whether private or government agencies, it is necessary to change with the times or become irrelevant.
Night delivery has the potential to boost the volume and revenue of the post office. We imagine that many of the nation’s morning newspapers might switch to the post office delivery again. Many people still prefer to read the printed word on paper.
At the local level many postal employees do an outstanding job but because of poor national management they are having to compete in a jet age in a horse and buggy organization.
The post office lost $15.9 billion last year. Such losses have been predictable for the past five years. They know what’s wrong: too many post offices, not enough mail, too many workers making too much money.
What the post office has not done in five years, FedEx or UPS would have done to solve the problem in five months or five weeks or been bankrupt!