Sunday, February 28, 2010

Five myths about the U.S. Postal Service

Washington Post article "Five myths about the U.S. Postal Service" (February 28th, 2010) is riddled with errors and questionable statements. The article by the Postmaster General has further convinced Corrections that the United States Postal Service should undoubtedly be privatized. No economic reason was given for the continued subsidizing of the United States Postal Service by laws banning private services from delivering mail. Below, Corrections offers responses to three of the editorial's most ludicrous points.

Otherwise, we have not received taxpayer funds to support postal operations since 1982; in fact, though we're often described as "quasi-governmental," we're required by law to cover our costs.

The Post Office is in debt by $2.8 billion dollars. It does not appear to be paying for its costs in a manner that will not explode.

Ten years ago, it took 70 employees one hour to sort 35,000 letters. Today, in that same hour, two employees process that same volume of mail. Though the number of addresses in the nation has grown by nearly 18 million in the past decade, the number of employees who handle the increased delivery load has decreased by more than 200,000.

The question is not whether or not the Post Office has become more efficient, it is whether or not it is more efficient than potential competitors like FedEx or UPS.

According to the U.N.-affiliated Universal Postal Union, we deliver nearly half of the world's mail.

It's not clear to Corrections that size is equivalent to efficiency given the fact that the Post Office is losing money. It appears that their prices are too low, and that less mail should be being spent--there is no such thing as a free lunch, and taxpayers pay for the "extra" service they're getting "free."

1 comment:

  1. I suspect the Post Office is not so much losing money in their day to day operations but rather in the form of pensions and other benefits.