The latest financial report is out from the U.S. Postal Service, which is forecasting two massive defaults on employee health benefits in the very near future. One totaling more than $5 billion that is due this Wednesday and one due in September that is over $5.6B. Don’t get me started on how the government has made ridiculous promises to its workers, who regularly retire far earlier than private sector employees and with absurd retirement packages. That’s just beating a dead, financially toxic horse and it’s common knowledge at this point.
What you’d think would also fall under common knowledge, or more likely “common sense,” would be that keeping a bloated, antiquated branch of government open in its current state, despite its continued bleeding out financially, is a horrible idea for a country that is already setting records for national debt. The still-terrible plan to bail out the banking industry was due to their being deemed “Too big to fail.” They had their sticky fingers in so many pots and employed so many people that politicians couldn’t stomach the economic earthquake that letting the market right itself would have caused. The Post Office does employ a large number of Americans itself – the USPS website numbers the total at 546000. However, with annual budget shortages ($5B loss last year) and an additional projected 30% loss in revenue through 2016 (where it will get even worse) mean that this is a sinking ship with zero chance of righting itself.
Even if certain measures were taken into account, such as reducing the number of mail delivery days (Saturday delivery is already on the block…however, really it should be condensed to M,W,F in this writer’s opinion), the organization cannot exist and be anything but a drain on our tax dollars. The number of dependable private delivery companies continues to expand – obviously Fed Ex, DHL and UPS are well known, and should the postal service go tits-up, numerous local and national delivery companies would spring up to take the place of the lost national system. If there MUST be a national service to some extent (so as to avoid a particular Kevin Costner movie from becoming reality) let it cater solely to the junk mail industry, or for personal correspondence, delivered once a week.
I check my mail at most once weekly, and sometimes less than that – I throw out 95% of what I receive. I pay all of my bills electronically, and I correspond with people electronically, as almost anyone under the age of 60 does. In 15 years, when the last dependents on traditional mail literally die out, the only market left for the USPS is junk mail and solicitations. It’s time to effectively kill the USPS and allow private companies to take up the slack.
Hopefully Congress will decide that they are done swallowing this poison pill and cut the cord on a historically relevant but currently obsolete organization.