In the next few days we may decide the future of the Post Office. The signs are not auspicious. President Obama has agreed to a plan to cut Saturday delivery. The Post Service’s management wants to close 2500 post offices immediately and up to 16,000 by 2020. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) has introduced a bill that could end free door-to-door delivery.
Republicans have been railing at the government post office for many years. But for most of us, it is a “wondrous American creation”.
“Six days a week it delivers an average of 563 million pieces of mail—40 percent of the entire world’s volume”, observes BusinessWeek. “For the price of a 44¢ stamp (the lowest postal rate in the world), you can mail a letter anywhere within the nation’s borders. The service will carry it by pack mule to the Havasupai Indian reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Mailmen on snowmobiles take it to the wilds of Alaska. If your recipient can no longer be found, the USPS will return it at no extra charge. It may be the greatest bargain on earth.”
For all you Constitutionalists in the audience, the Founding Fathers considered the Post Office so important they included its creation on the short list of powers they bestowed on Congress, along with national defense, taxation, coining money, and regulating commerce.