UPDATE: It looks like the Post Office only lost about 2.8 billion dollars in 2008, a trifle compared to the previous year, when it hemorrhaged cash to the tune of $5.1 Billion. No layoffs are in the works, but when you lose billions of dollars year after year, something’s gotta give. A simple executive order to all federal departments and agencies could create millions of new customers for the Postal Service overnight, though, and make a lot of mailmen happy.
[T]he United States Postal Service is considering cutting thousands of jobs nationwide. . . The postal service is also offering early retirement packages to workers over the age of 50 who have more than 20 years on the job.
No doubt there are many factors involved in the decline in revenue for the Postal Service: the flagging economy, rising transportation costs, increased competition, and finally, a decrease in the overall volume of mail due to the internet age.
A friend of mine recently had a good idea to help shore up the Postal Service: mandate that the entire federal government use the United States Postal Service, and the USPS alone, for sending all of its correspondence and goods. No more Fedex, no more UPS, and no more DHL (although DHL has its back against the wall now, too). You could extend this mandate a little further and require state and local governments that receive federal funds do the same thing, but that may be overreaching a bit.
Sure, it’s sort of a bailout, but it’s costs to the taxpayer are already sunk, anyway. The Postal Service is not going anywhere, right? And the government needs to communicate, order, ship and receive things as well. So order them to use registered U.S. mail, not Fedex or anyone else. And the military should ship all its equipment replacement parts through US mail, not Fedex or DHL, as long as they meet the weight standards.
Putting the screws to the federal government to send all their crap through the U.S. Mail is an easy way to save a bunch of jobs without touching the bail out money that all other types of sorry American businesses are scrambling for right now. Sure, it’s a little unfair to Fedex and Brown, but no more unfair than paying billions to dig GM, Ford and Chrysler out of the holes these pitiful corporations and their unions dug together, while leaving foreign automakers with plants here in the United States out in the cold.
Some pundits argue that the auto industry’s production base is critical not only for economic well-being, but national security as well (i.e. the Chinese are invading Taiwan, re-tool the Corvette line at Bowling Green to make F22 fuselages). Unlikely, but fair enough. On a similar note, some imaginative futurists have depicted the immense utility of the postal service to restore communications in the country during times of devastating crisis. Equally unlikely, but worth throwing out there.