How to Save the Postal Service

I do not favor the salvation of the U.S. Postal Service. (See this, this, and this). But it seems unlikely that USPS will go the way of the buggy whip.

The best I can hope for is a serious effort to make USPS more efficient and less needful of tax subsidies. To that end, I offer the following modest proposal:

1. Set up a “branch” closure commission, on the model of the base-closure commissions that succeeded in closing many military bases that otherwise would have been protected by their patrons in Congress.

2. Eliminate window service on Mondays.

3. Subcontract package deliveries to outfits like UPS and FedEx, and others that would arise, through regional (not national) competitions conducted at regular intervals (e.g., every three years).

4. Make regular deliveries only five days a week.

5. Consolidate routes so that every carrier is fully occupied for a full, eight-hour day (lunch breaks would not count as work time). Cover vacations and illnesses with part-timers who would be paid only for time actually performing work (i.e., eliminate featherbedding).

6. As a more drastic alternative to #5, subcontract regular deliveries through regional competitions. These would coincide with competitions for package delivery, to entice bundled offers reflecting potential efficiencies from combined package-mail delivery services. (Under this option, USPS would continue to operate regional and branch offices, and the movement of mail between them, but contractors would handle deliveries.)

7. Even more drastically, the USPS or its contractors should be allowed to establish zoned rates for the delivery of first-class mail within the United States — the farther a piece of mail must travel, the higher the postage for a given weight and shape. The rate structure should be simple (e.g., add $0.25 to send a letter across the Mississippi, across the Rockies, and across the Mason-Dixon line) and well-publicized (e.g., through notices placed in mailboxes at regular intervals).

2 thoughts on “How to Save the Postal Service

  1. The biggest problem with the postal service is that it has way, way too many in management. One in seven are in management. They just run around trying to justify their jobs that are totally
    not needed. The po is unable to change with the times. Leadership is totally lacking. We need real business leadership, not some ex clerk running the show. Fire pig supervisors that have been moved from office to office . Get rid of your problems instead of moving them.
    When is the po going to send commission paid sales reps to businesses explaining fine products of usps ? Oh I forgot, the usps has no sales reps.
    Issue stock in usps and partially pay employees in stock and watch things change.


  2. You’re probably on to something, if the objective is to save the worthwhile aspects of USPS.

    Of course, what I’d really prefer is the abolition of USPS. Let consumers choose freely among private carriers that compete for the delivery of paper messages (the volume of which will continue to dwindle) and packaged goods.


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