So, the United States Postal Service is in trouble. It should come as no surprise that I have some ideas as to how to fix that. Excerpts, with my comments:
About $8.8 billion — that is how much the U.S. Postal Service lost in the past year. That is an eye-popping number. The agency is also carrying $11 billion in debt and has more than $120 billion in funded pension and health liabilities.
To be sure, some of that deficit is due to actuarial factor. For example, USPS’s workers’ compensation charge was $3.5 billion last year — much higher than usual due to a change in the way this expense is computed. But even if one wipes away this expense and other “uncontrollable costs,” the U.S. Postal Service still lost $3.4 billion.
And if Fauxcohantas Warren and the daffy old Bolshevik from Vermont get their way, our nation’s health care system could be in the same shape! But, back to the post office:
The USPS’s plight is existential. Mail volume has dropped nearly 30% since 2008. The demand for paper mail has plunged, and the private sector is eating the postal worker’s lunch. As USPS notes in its latest financial filing:
“We compete for our business in many different market segments. A wide variety of communications media compete for the same types of transactions and communications that are conducted using our services. These channels include, but are not limited to, newspapers, telecommunications, television, email, social networking and electronic funds transfers. The package and express delivery businesses are highly competitive, with both national and local competitors. The most significant competitive factor for First-Class Mail is digital communication, including electronic mail, as well as other digital technologies such as online bill payment and presentment.
In other words, technology has gone on and left the USPS behind. That’s inevitable and, honestly, a favorable development. The rise of electronic communications in the various forms has greatly reduced the need for first-class mail as well as mailed advertising, most of which quickly ends up in landfills.
So what’s my solution: Simple. Make a change in the Imperial laws that will allow private companies like FedEx and UPS to carry first-class mail and shut the Post Office down. Save the taxpayers a lot of money, eliminate an outdated and inefficient Imperial structure that has outlived its usefulness and, for once, make a tiny, tiny, tiny step towards addressing an Imperial spending crisis run amok.