May 23, 2019 | 66° F

USPS must take steps to save itself

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is one of those institutions we Americans take entirely for granted, and why wouldn't we? For as long as any of us can remember, the USPS has been there, responsibly handling and delivering all of our mail and packages. It may come as a shock to some, then, to learn the USPS is on the brink of total financial disaster, which may lead to a total shutdown of services this winter. While the end of the USPS may not be the end of the world, especially in the age of email, it is still something we don't want to see: The USPS is a valuable federal service.

There are steps the USPS could take to save itself, especially in the area of labor. Labor expenses make up 80 percent of the USPS's operating costs and, unfortunately, mail volume is so small these days the USPS cannot keep paying as many employees as much money as it currently does. The agency is imploring Congress to overturn a no layoffs clause in union contracts, which would allow the USPS to significantly cut their workforce. Though we certainly do not like the idea of seeing around 120,000 people lose their jobs, we also don't like the idea of seeing the USPS come to an end. Desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures.

Some people point out that, if the USPS does shut down service, there will always be companies like FedEx and UPS to fill the void and offer shipping services. However, the increased privatization of traditionally government-provided services is a frightening thought for too many reasons to list here, and, therefore, we'd rather not have to rely on private companies for all of our mail needs. Also, one must remember that there are post offices in every town, but are there FedEx or UPS offices in all of those towns as well? We think not, and we think people should not be barred from a basic service such as shipping because private companies are not setting up shop in their towns.

The Daily Targum

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