Congress looking for ways to save the post office

The days of the “penny postcard” are gone forever; but, as Congress begins work this week on trying to recapitalize the US Postal Service, some Historic City News readers are asking, “Why should they?”

The US Postal Service was never intended to be a “moneymaker” but rising delivery costs, primarily fuel costs, union salaries and benefits, have caused the government department to hemorrhage millions of dollars — some insiders are saying it can never return to profitability.

Not the least of their concerns, an ever shrinking market; as individuals and businesses turn to faster, less expensive alternative methods of communication.

Direct mail marketers and credit card giants like Citigroup, are some of the postal service’s largest customers. They, and other companies and employee unions, have spent a reported $300 million in the past three years; lobbying Congress to keep the postal service running — fearing the impact that postal service cutbacks and discontinued services could have on their businesses.

Recent estimates say it takes about 574,000 people to run the postal service.

Historic City News editor Michael Gold asked, rhetorically, ”Do you think Citi Card Services would close down if the post office stopped delivering mail?” Gold noted that all of the major mailers in America today are heavily invested in technology. “My son-in-law is a manager in Citigroup’s Columbus, Ohio processing center — they have computer printers that fill a building the size of two football fields. It would be a simple matter to print those bills to an image file and e-mail them; and it would create an unimaginable environmental savings in wasted paper and ink contaminants.”

One initial, short-term option Congress will consider is to end Saturday mail delivery and to close more than 200 facilities around the country. According to recent published reports, there are about seven Florida sites among those facilities proposed for closure.

Another recent proposal has the post office working with retailers to offer its services in small grocery stores. Sam Drucker’s job at the Petticoat Junction post office in Hooterville might be safe.

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