USPS Cuts Means Snail Mail is Only Getting Slower

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow could keep your postal worker from delivering your mail on time. Cutting $3 billion to the postal service’s bottom-line? That’ll do the trick. 

With the proposed budget cuts to the U.S. postal service, the possibility of “snail mail” getting any slower is making the seemingly impossible an almost certain reality.

In the face of red ink, the Postal Service has proposed massive budget cuts in order to stay afloat, which will eliminate first class service and next-day delivery, in order to avoid filing for bankruptcy in 2012. Trimming their bottom-line by nearly $3 billion, these cuts will also bring about the layoffs of nearly 30,000 postal works, and the closing of 252 of the nation’s 461 mail processing centers. 

Among one of the few specified constitutional powers of the Federal government, the establishment of post offices and postal roads was amongst the Founder’s greatest concerns when establishing America. No longer a government-run agency, the postal service receives no funding from tax payers, and is threatened to be thrown onto the funeral pyre of businesses that have been left in the wake of one of the worst recessions in history.

Over the past five years, the volume of first-class mail has dropped 25% as electronic delivery systems, mainly e-mail and, more recently, online bill payments, have cut into postal service revenue. The nation’s largest employer, second only to Wal-Mart, the USPS is not only on the brink of becoming irrelevant in our fast-paced information age, but rather, is in danger of becoming a quaint notion of the past. As one of only institutions mandated by the Constitution, the lack of guidance from the congress begs the question, should we have a government run postal service?

The unequivocal response is yes. The fact remains, all Congress has to do is pass a simple bill to rectify the travesty that brought about the decline of the USPS, a bill put into place by a Republican-controlled Congress in 2006.

Signed into law by President George W. Bush, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act made it increasingly difficult for the USPS to raise rates, so their only option was to instead to cut costs.  The imminent collapse of the USPS could easily be avoided by Congress if they reversed or altered this decision. Will they? Not likely.

The fact of the matter is, the fate of the USPS’s financial solvency lies within the hands of Congress, but congressional action during an election year is most-likely not going to happen, especially since it pertains to layoffs and cuts to neighborhood post offices.

Thanks to congressional impasse, America is losing an institution well worth saving, but as the saying goes, you can’t fight city hall.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Deanna Gillen

Deanna graduated from Marist College in 2010 with a double major in Political Science and Journalism. Her political experiences include working in the New York State Senate, covering the 2009 New York City Mayoral Campaign while interning at NBC, and wrote her undergraduate thesis on Freedom of the Press. She is an aspiring journalist, enjoys wet cappuccinos and dry humor, and blogs in her spare time.

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