We are all cheesed that the USPS is looking for a 1.97% increase in postal rates. But before we run to our social media to complain, let’s open the envelope. What are we getting?
1. Door-to-door, pick-up and delivery. Not only does a real person come to your home to deliver mail, but they are charged to pick it up, too. Beats driving downtown. And they do this 6 days a week.
2. Equal representation. The USPS is probably the only government institution which situates an office based on population density, rather than political handouts. For sure, it’s the only federal presence in your community that isn’t there to administer laws and levy taxes.
3. Legal authority. A USPS postmark is an official seal, and when your letter is in the system, it’s a completed act.
4. Jobs. The USPS employs over 600,000 people. It’s also the network that directly supports another 1.3 million people who use the mail to make a living, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
5. The Grid. There are 142,000,000 delivery addresses in the United States which are visited daily by the mail person. The USPS grid is like a vast capillary system that beats nationwide, touching the most distant extremity.
6. Innovation. Maybe hard to believe, in the face of digital networks, but the USPS has refined and streamlined delivery to the point that it is cheaper to mail a letter today than it was 10 years ago.
7. Protection. Your mail is protected by federal law. The space inside your mailbox is federal property. The blue boxes situated across your community are safety deposit boxes, in effect. Drop your mail, and it’s secure in the system.
8. Culture. What other government body continually picks new designs to celebrate on the face of a stamp? Rock stars, writers, artists, scientists, athletes, discoverers… and they are BIG stamps too!
9. Resilience. Despite a whirlwind of communications technology advances, the USPS still has cache, delivering nearly 500 million pieces a day. When was the last time you saw a public phone booth?
10. Fiscal control. Yes, it has a $5 billion budget deficit. Works out to $8,333 per employee. The federal government has a $483 billion budget deficit. $112,013 per federal employee. In the bigger scheme of things, go figure.
Nobody likes price increases, but it is a sure thing that the USPS has done leagues more work to control costs than any of its government cousins. In light of its value, can you really complain?
By the way, the price of a first class stamp remains at 49-cents after the hike. Good anywhere in the nation. Buy a bunch, they’ll last forever.