Rethinking the Role of the Postal Service

Karl L Hughes
May 29, 2017 · 2 min read

I realize that getting rid of or scaling down government services is hard, but sometimes it really has to happen. The USPS is one of those cases.

Since fiscal 2012, the postal service has drained its $15 billion line of credit with Treasury and defaulted on $34 billion in retiree benefit prepayments. “If nothing changes, the Postal Service will continue to default on payments at significant levels,” — White House budget spokesman Coalter Baker

Most of what’s killing USPS is its benefits commitments. Unlike most private competitors, the post office offers generous retirement pensions in addition to a TSP. Very few non-government workers get this kind of treatment anymore.

While it’s great that the USPS is able to provide benefits to workers without college degrees, it hasn’t provided a needed service or even held up a level of quality that makes this good deed worth it. If you’ve stepped into a post office lately, you’ve probably seen the waste and poor customer service first-hand.

Trump’s budget proposal cuts out Saturday delivery for the USPS, but what we really need is a significant draw down of their services if not a complete transformation. Why aren’t they scanning and emailing mail to people like Earth Class Mail? Why aren’t they researching technology like drones to automate delivery and cut down on workers?

They don’t have an incentive to cut back, but it’s time we gave them one.

Karl L Hughes

Technology team builder, software engineer, and startup enthusiast. CTO at @GraideNetwork and helping technology speakers succeed at @cfp_land.

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