USPS Bailout: Crucial Lifeline or Pointless Boondoggle?

Posted by Eric Welch on March 6th, 2012

In his 2013 Budget, President Obama has promised “bold” action to prop up the ailing and venerable USPS with a $25 billion injection. Among other things, this proposal would put an end to Saturday delivery and, if you trust the math, generate a savings of $25 billion over the next 11 years. As most of us are well aware, the rapid development and expansion of electronic delivery systems have resulted in a significant decrease in traditional mail volume, and there are no indications this will slow down or stop anytime soon… at least not in the lifetime of anyone reading this post.

This begs the question: Is the USPS worth saving at all? For direct mail providers and their customers, the obvious answer would seem to be a resounding ‘yes!’ But is it really that simple? And are these electronic delivery systems entirely to blame for the problem? Or is it, as Ralph Nader points out, a manufactured crisis resulting from “bad management, corporate barracudas and a bevy of editors and reporters enamored with the supremacy of the Internet?” Should we do everything possible to keep the USPS afloat, or do we bow our heads in reverence as this once-mighty American icon sinks into the murky depths of crushing debt and irrelevance? Give us your thoughts!

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