by John Palatiello
In its quarterly report earlier this month, the Postal Service posted a loss of $754 million dollar loss, continuing a trend of incurred billion dollar losses each year as it continues operations in the face of many challenges.
Despite its troubles, the majority of Americans find that the delivery agency remains a cornerstone of our functioning society and economy. Most also believe that it must adapt in order to provide the most benefit to our citizens nationwide. The concept of formulating changes to meet consumers’ needs is relatively non-controversial, but it is worth exploring its entire meaning.
For the indebted Postal Service, which has also maxed out its $15 billion line of credit with the Treasury, it means working on two tracks. The first is to shutter 82 letter processing facilities across the country, and ending local overnight delivery of first class mail; the second, to scour the private sector delivery market in search of areas in which to insert themselves. Both are worthy of scrutiny.
I call these measures into question in part because of their inability to adequately address the agency’s financial troubles, but also in that they break our foundational assumptions about the organization. In truth, the agency was founded for the purpose of reliably delivering letters anywhere in the country at a reasonable rate.