The Mail may Fail

This past week, I've heard read articles and heard news of the decline of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

I know what you're thinking: "What's a United States Postal Service?"

Yeah, I'm not sure either.

According to Wikipedia, the USPS is "a United States government-owned corporation responsible for providing postal service in the United States."

Apparently their main function is to deliver paper documents called "letters" from one address to another. I heard it's a lot like email except that the process could take days.

Days? How would I let my professor know I'm "sick" today?

I digress.

The USPS has been in serious financial trouble as of late. A weakened economy, teh interwebs, and Congress' habit of putting problems on the back burner has resulted in a very possible end to the government run postal service.

Plans to resuscitate the USPS involve closing hundreds of facilities and ending Saturday mail delivery.

Goodie! People will surely flock to their post office to use a slower and even more inconvenient service!

Instead, the government should just put the USPS out of its misery. The prevalent use of banking, paying the bills, and corresponding with one's school or job is done online. The USPS could simply become privatized or be run by services such as Fedex and the UPS.

Do people even need to use the postal service anymore?

On the other hand...

The whole point of the USPS is to provide people with a basic service at a reasonable price. Some people simply can't afford to own a personal computer and the use of a public computer for banking and other transactions isn't a good idea.

Also, if the USPS became privatized, a company could increase their prices far more drastically than the government would have dared.

Did you know that the USPS is the second largest civilian employer in the country? I haven't even talked about the projected loss of 35,000 jobs by 2013.

Simply put: our government can't afford the USPS as it stands today and its forecast is looking grim.

I honestly don't really mind one way or the other. I'm still trying to figure out what a United States Postal Service is and why I should care.

2 comments about "The Mail may Fail".
  1. katherine , September 21, 2011 at 1:37 p.m.
    "This is really sad," was my first thought when I read this. Do I have an emotional attachment to the USPS? No-that isn't it. My "snail-mail" consists of an annual birthday card or two, dental appointment reminders, and letters from my university (which are usually always emailed as well). But as I write this at the dining room table, I glance at the window and catch the USPS truck roll by as the mailman delivers glorious mail...how ironic. I wanted to read more about this situation. According to nytimes.com, cost-cutting could lay off more than 100,000 people—perhaps even the mailman that just came by my house. I'm not saying that the email and online subscriptions are bad, I use them everyday. I just researched this crisis on nytimes.com, for example. The hard thing is, industries going under do not know how to adapt to the changing market when something more efficient comes along. Nice going, internet.
  2. Ace Howard from Ball State University , September 22, 2011 at 10:46 p.m.
    Well said, Katie! I've just got mixed feelings about the whole thing. The USPS is hardly used anymore, yet hundreds of thousands of people depend on it for a pay check. I haven't thought about it until now, but what I find most saddening is how this situation represents the state of our country's economy. Excuse me while I go sulk in the corner.