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Ignorance Begets Arrogance

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Despite the obvious fact that they have no idea what the problem is, numerous people are cavalierly stating that the US Postal Service is no longer relevant, and should be cast aside.

This is shallow ‘Village’ thinking at its worst.

First off, the USPS has been making money for some time, and made money again this past year. The problem they have, and this is consistent from both the management and the letter carriers union, is the mandate to over-subscribe their pension system. Congress in its normal ignorance, is requiring the system to put more money into their retirement trust fund than is actually required to maintain it.

There was no consideration of the reality that the USPS has been gradually downsizing for years, and fewer workers means fewer retirees. This requirement was not imposed because Congress is overly concerned with the well-being of the postal workers, it was designed to break the system.

The USPS can’t introduce a truly efficient system, because their efforts are being hampered by Congress interfering with the process. One of the more obvious reforms would be to limit home delivery to five days, but that has been opposed every time it was presented.

In addition, most people are unaware that that both UPS and Fed Ex use the postal system for a significant portion of their deliveries to residences. I have seen this in the labeling on many things that my Mother orders. UPS & Fed Ex transport the packages from the business, and deliver them to the local mail sorting facility in Pensacola, for the final delivery.

This is the result of down-sizing – rather than hiring the people required to deliver to homes, they pay the post office to do it.

Another assumption is that you can ‘do everything over the ‘Net’ these days. which might be true if you are among the quarter of the population that has broadband access, but the majority of the people in the US do not have broadband access because it isn’t profitable to run the wire or fiber. US and Australia have the same level of access, and while the US is content, Australia is actually planning to make it available for almost everyone.

People who live along the coasts have no idea how limited communications are in the US. There are huge expanses where there is no infrastructure of any kind – more than half of the US is ‘off the grid’. The people who live there depend on the Postal Service to remain connected to the ‘outside world’.


1 oldwhitelady { 09.18.11 at 7:49 pm }

That’s for sure. I can’t imagine what we would do without the postal service. I certainly use it for a lot of things. The older people still need it. Not everyone is plugged into the internet.

2 Bryan { 09.18.11 at 8:06 pm }

A fair number of my relatives in New York live in small towns without home delivery. You get a PO Box and have to pick up your mail. The only way to send them a package is through the Post Office, because no one else will deliver to a Box address.

People in cities assume that everyone has the same kind of services they do, and that just isn’t the reality.

3 Badtux { 09.19.11 at 2:49 am }

When I lived in rural Louisiana we had street addresses thanks to E911 (basically, every road got a name, and our street number was how many yards from the end of the road we were with evens on one side and odds on the other, which made for some mighty big numbers towards the end of the road but so it goes!), and the brown UPS truck *would* deliver to it. But that was over a decade ago. I have no idea what UPS would do now.

The opposite however was a problem. UPS would *NOT* pick up packages from out there. No way, no how. Given that the nearest UPS facility was 90 miles away, that was a problem. Lucky there was a post office in town, eh?

Anyhow, the best mail-order parts vendor for KLR-650 motorcycles is located in Moab, Utah. Every single package that leaves his stores goes via USPS because he can just carry the package across the road and ship it. To ship any other way, he’d have to drive two hours to the nearest small city, then drive back. It’d kill his business.

But none of this matters to the nabobs in Washington, who think nothing of dialing up a courier to carry a package from point A to point B inside the Beltway, and think everybody has that option…

– Badtux the Sometimes-rural Penguin

4 Bryan { 09.19.11 at 12:36 pm }

We had the 911 renumbering down here, but it never happened in the villages of New York.

My brother mails packages all the time from his living room. He has his letter carrier pick them up. Before they opened a UPS Store franchise down here, you needed someone to ride shotgun to drop off packages at UPS. It was not exactly in a great neighborhood.

Most of the things they want to cut are services for small towns and rural areas. They keep saying that these are ‘the real America’, and they want to crush it.