The End of the Post Office?

August 26th, 2011 by Bob Bly

Lately we’ve been hearing about proposals to abolish the United States Postal Service (USPS). Is this a good idea?

Proponents of getting rid of the USPS point out that (1) bills can more cost-effectively be paid electronically, (2) correspondence is sent today via e-mail, not letter, (3) packages can be sent by alternative delivery services including FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS).

Those who favor keeping the USPS operating point out that not everybody has a PC and an Internet connection. Some people don’t want them and others can’t afford them. Does the federal government have a right to force everyone to buy them?

My Uncle Paul is in? his late 80s and loves to send us letters with newspaper clippings; he doesn’t use a PC. Should he be shut out of communicating with us because he is low tech?

What about greeting cards? Yes, there are electronic greeting cards. But these are difficult to place on the mantel.

Many advertisers depend on direct mail for their business; they cannot get the same response or reach as broad an audience with e-mail marketing.

If it were up to you, would you keep the Post Office operational? Would you downsize it? Or would you close its doors forever?

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 9:58 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 responses about “The End of the Post Office?”

  1. Greg said:

    Privatize it. It would then optimize itself to provide the level of service at a price the marketplace will accept.

    I’d rather subsidize your Uncle with a few more SS dollars so he can afford increased postal rates than a completely inefficient and dysfunctional organization.

  2. Jason said:

    I think some changes need to come to the post office. I don’t know exactly what, as I have not studied the issue, but I’m betting (like with most government agencies) there’s a lot to be done to make things more efficient.

    I don’t think the post office should go away at all. In all honesty, though I’m normally against higher taxes, the postal service is one government agency I would like to see some tax dollars diverted to… after it’s been made more efficient, of course.

  3. Joseph Ratliff said:

    USPS needs to evolve further to survive, make it cost effective to pay bills for example by partnering with or creating an online bill pay service or something (off the top of my head).

    They need to innovate…or perhaps they will not survive. But again, it is a government office. :)

  4. Jean said:

    I agree with Joseph. USPS could definitely use some innovation to catch up with the times. Removing it all together wouldn’t work right now, but I can see it being downsized or completely overhauled within my lifetime. That’d be.. the next 60 years if I’m lucky. :)

  5. Scott Martin said:

    I think the USPS should be sold–with the caveat that the acquiring company guarantees at least weekly service to some remote locations that might not be economical to serve.

    A privatized PO would actually WANT more direct mail business. A privatized company would streamline mail rates and make it easier for direct mail companies to send mail.

    This would be excellent for those of us in direct response as email becomes less effective and PPC becomes increasingly expensive.

    I once attended a seminar where a USPS ‘expert’ detailed all the direct mail restrictions. The message was ‘we want to make this as difficult as possible for you so we don’t have to do too much.’ The people who have to deal with the USPS on a regular basis must feel like they’re stuffing barbed wire up their nostrils.

    But let’s not forget, the USPS exists today to provide jobs and pensions for people who will then vote for politicians who will guarantee the existence of these jobs and pensions.

  6. The Low-Tech Times › Weekend Links said:

    [...] Bob Bly’s The End of the Post Office? My Uncle Paul is in his late 80s and loves to send us letters with newspaper clippings; he [...]

  7. Riley said:

    The USPS is guaranteed in the Constitution. It’s one of the things that binds the country and its citizens. If you want to abolish the post office or privatize it, then you’ll want the same for the Military. Some things are more important than “profit.” The USPS rates are just about the lowest in the world. Raise them and modify services until the right price/performance ratio is achieved.

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