Letter: The post office issue
There has been much comment, with opposing views, on the U.S. Postal Service. What is missing on both sides of the debate is the importance of the last word in the name of the agency — service.
Like a fire service or an ambulance service or a mountain rescue service, the post pffice is intended to serve the public and is not intended as a profit-making agency.
A letter is delivered from Key West, Florida, to Cutbank, Montana, for 50 cents. Moreover, the post office is often the only means of written and package communication to hundreds of small communities throughout the nation, which FedEx, DHL and UPS do not serve at all or will charge you a small fortune for the exception.
The USPS management’s calls for more efficiency, like no Saturday home delivery or closing excess offices that are close to others, are met with refusal by the Congress. Indeed, the USPS regularly asks for such relief and is rebuffed for political reasons.
The USPS handles one billion pieces of mail every day. If it operated at an efficiency of 99.5%, which no private company does, that would equate to error on 5 million pieces of mail every day. Since both sender and receiver are impacted, that means 10 million people a day would be affected. That translates to offending everyone in the country at least once a year at 99.5% efficiency.
Privatization is not the solution to all ills. The post office is a service and a very good one and deserves our support.
And it is critical in times of emergency, such as now, and in facilitating maximum participation in voting.
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