“How to Save the Post Office, Maybe”

That’s the headline of a Monday Wall Street Journal editorial.

In response to which I ask, why do we need to?

After all, using the Editors’ own numbers,

the USPS says in 2006 there were 5.6 daily pieces of mail per delivery point. Last year: three. By 2030 the estimate is 1.7.

Why? It’s a shrinking need; the Internet is supplanting mail delivery. In-person communication is done by telephone, Skype, Zoom, and a plethora of other applications. Written correspondence is handled, in among other ways, by a plethora of email facilities.

The Postmaster General, and the Editors, think it would be a good idea to extend the delivery time for long distance first class mail from three days to as many as five. The horror.

They also want to boost the price of using the mail system—the stamps we use.

Here’s a thought about an alternative, though, and one that has a chance of saving both our taxpayer dollars and reducing our consumer costs.

Our Constitution mandates only that the Federal government establish Post Offices and Post Roads. There’s no requirement that the Federal government—or any other level of governance—run the post office and post roads. The latter especially are everywhere, from the Interstate highway system and Federal highways to State highways, County roads, Farm to Market roads, etc, etc, etc.

Let private enterprise run the post offices, too, and handle all mail delivery.

Everything other than first class mail and junk mail and advertising fliers (but I repeat myself) already is handled competitively and efficiently (because competition) by private enterprises.

There’s no reason those private enterprises, or others that would appear in the competitive market, can’t handle first class delivery and junk mail and advertisements, also. And in the latter case, digital junk and ads already are ubiquitous. The paper needn’t be. Think of the trees.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *