Yesterday our airwaves were filled with near frantic stories that our U. S. Postal Service was deep in debt and projected to lose $7 billion dollars this year. There is a list of post offices suggested to be closed and a trial balloon is being floated to reduce delivery from six days to five days per week. Today you cannot find one story in any of the major newspapers, and I have yet to hear one news flash on the 24 hour cable news channels.
In order to address this topic I have read at least fifty pages of information, generated by searching Google, concerning our Postal Service’s financial health. First of all, I was surprised to see a familiar name from our early history was the very first Postmaster General. Yes, Benjamin Franklin was named to that important post in July of 1775 with an annual salary of $1,000 and his secretary was paid $340. That was big money back in those days, and it is no wonder that Franklin could afford to chase the ladies. Most of our early mail service was carrying communications between Congress and the armies.
As long as I can remember the Postal Service has always been crying the financial blues and asking Congress permission to continue to raise postal rates. One of the newscasts yesterday said that the Postal Service has never laid off an employee. That’s 1775 until 2009! I find that fact to be amazing and arrogant.
Our mail service has a similar problem as that confronting our newspapers and television stations across the country. The INTERNET has changed many older business models. In the case of the postal service this has caused dramatically reduced mail volume sent by individuals and businesses alike. Anyone who thinks something can be done to significantly increase the amount of snail-mail being sent in the foreseeable future is just plain dumb.
It is your Commander’s opinion that the current Postmaster General, John Potter, and both Committees of Congress who have been providing oversight should be fired as irresponsible and inept. Remember the individuals providing over-sight have FREE franking privileges (sending mail to constituents in their home district or state), so they do not have to worry about increased costs. A bi-partisan cross section of CITIZENS (urban, rural, etc.) should be formed immediately to study the situation, and report back to Congress within 120 days with their suggestions.
It is my further opinion that bids should be requested from private business to assume our national postal service operation. I am certain that companies such as Federal Express or United Parcel would be interested in bidding and could perform an acceptable job that would save the American taxpayers money and provide a product that would be attractive to private citizens and business alike.
I doubt that this proposal will receive any traction in the Halls of Congress, because the Postal Service employee’s all-powerful union will exert its fullest influence on our susceptible elected officials. One of the articles that I read on the internet stated that applicants for starting positions (no experience necesssary) are paid $20.00 per hour! There is the start of the problem, because you and I know that the unions prop up excessive salaries and benefits.
The size of the staff is unwarranted when you recognize that the amount of mail has been steadily decreasing. Additionally, there are far too many postal outlets, and changes must take place in rural areas. Rural delivery is one of the most expensive areas of postal service. Perhaps rural delivery could take place twice a week, while pick up at the rural post office would be available during daily business hours, without having to rent a PO box.
I would also bet that the Postal Service employees will be exempt from the proposed Health Care Reform (just like Congress) and the rest of us will have it forced down our throats. They won’t have to go for counseling every five years once they reach age 65 and be instructed about declining services for age related illnesses.
Our Postal Service has long been over-staffed, and over-paid for a service and a product that has a shrinking value or need. Cutting back mail delivery on Saturdays should obviously be done immediately, but it will not solve the systemic financial decay of a dying product (think telegrams).
Postal rates are just like death, and taxes, because they are inevitable to only increase. Before long, we, the taxpaying employers, won’t have anything left financially, so why will we need the post office? Do you suspect our government officials will make a good business decision relative to the U.S. Postal Service? Hell no…they only want the Postal Union’s campaign contributions, the postal service employees’ votes, and our tax dollars…nothing else.