Reforming the postal service | Opinion
The US Postal Service has long been a bright spot in the federal government, flourishing regardless of which party is in power.
It was an institution we could count on and respect.
Most Americans took his integrity, his efficiency, and his good work for granted. He was there when we needed him to pay bills, communicate with friends and relatives, deliver parcels and publications, send mail and parcels to our troops, and perform a long list of other valuable services.
Today, the US Postal Service needs help. But Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s improvement plan appears intended to make the USPS ‘problems worse, not improve them.
This could once have been a great opportunity for bipartisan cooperation to repair a valuable federal service in order to ensure its sustainability.
While those days seem long gone, this is the type of reform that deserves broad support from members of both parties.
Since 2006, the postal service has been processing less mail year after year and losing more and more money.
In 2019, the USPS processed about a third less mail than in 2006; in 2020, he lost $ 9.2 billion.
The USPS is a government service, not a lucrative business, but such massive losses are not sustainable. Reform is obviously necessary. But DeJoy has only made matters worse since he became Postmaster General in June 2020.
Shortly after taking office, DeJoy imposed cost-cutting measures that significantly slowed down mail and made some people reluctant to send ballots. He had letter boxes removed from certain neighborhoods. Holiday mail that year was a nightmare, with some packages not reaching their destination for weeks. Some of the changes DeJoy then imposed were ultimately overturned by the courts.
Now he has launched another deliberate attempt to slow down the mail by reducing the use of airmail and limiting the distance mail can travel in a day.
At the same time, the postal service will slow down the mail, the tariffs will rise again. Under DeJoy, austere policies and neglect have already caused slowdowns and inefficiencies.
It all sounds like a recipe for trouble.
From its beginnings in 1775, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed premier of the Post Office, the post office, or postal service, has been essential to the lives of many Americans.
Even though modern technology has reduced communication to paper, the postal service is still vitally important to many people – to make payments, receive prescription drugs, deliver packages to remote locations, and send newsletters. voting, among other services.
Cutting staff, removing mailboxes, shutting down small offices, slowing down mail and increasing tariffs will disproportionately harm low-income people and those living in rural areas. The postal service is supposed to serve all Americans.
There are ways to improve things that are more creative and lasting.
For starters, Congress could pass the Postal Service Reform Act that would eliminate the reckless requirement that the agency prepay health benefits for its retirees.
This change would allow the agency to diversify its investments in pensions, as is done in most advanced countries, and would do a lot to address its financial problems.
Other suggestions include taking advantage of the postal service’s presence across the country, in otherwise isolated or depressed areas.
Possibilities include using the postal service to process hunting and fishing licenses, register voters, assist enumerators, and find contacts for health agencies.
One promising idea is to revive the postal banking system, being tested as a pilot program in four cities. This would generate income while helping underprivileged people who have little or no access to banks and often pay exorbitant fees for basic services such as check cashing.
What is clear is that there are solutions to be adopted, if lawmakers take this seriously. The postal service has been and must remain a vital part of America. To have a healthy future, it takes good leaders and the right resources to adapt to changing times.