Chances are that you’re reading this editorial after having retrieved this newspaper from your mailbox. The majority of our readers are those who faithfully subscribe so that means the U.S. Postal Service plays a major role in us being able to keep you informed every week. We value the work and services they provide.
Like so many other organizations, the U.S. Postal Service is experiencing a financial crisis due, in part, to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s been a drop in business demand compounded by increased operating expenses to keep their employees and customers safe. Without some kind of funding boost, the agency could be insolvent by September.
U.S. Mail serves as a lifeline for populations that often get overlooked, including senior citizens, rural communities and small businesses. During times such as these, when physical contact with others is limited, mail provides us another avenue for connecting with family and friends–all for just 55 cents a letter or card. The agency employs more than 7.3 million people and serves as one of the largest employers of military veterans, with more than 97,000 on their roster.
The U.S. Postal Service is rather unique when it comes to federal agencies. It both competes and collaborates with the private sector. Companies like UPS and FedEx pay the Postal service to deliver some of their ground packages and, the Postal Service utilizes the private companies for air transportation of their mail and packages. It’s also unique in that the Postal Service doesn’t currently receive any tax dollars for operating expenses. Instead, sales of stamps, products and services are what keeps the lights on and the mail trucks running.
A shutdown of the Postal Service needs to be avoided. We hope that Congress can work in a bipartisan fashion to maintain this critical service in the near future and chart a sustainable path for the years to come.