Thursday, July 19, 2012

Caught Between Assumptions 

Ever since a national post office started in the time of Benjamin Franklin, there have been two assumptions about it.  It's a business.  It's an essential service even if it loses money.  Now the clashing views are coming to a head with the post office facing default by the beginning of next month.  Unlike Franklin's time, there is less need for a national postal service, and that is the problem facing the institution.  First class mail has plunged.   The postal service now is a captive of junk mailers and news publishers, and even some of them are leaving.  Republicans in Congress want the post office to run like a business.  That would require large layoffs, closing of scores of facilities and a pullback from rural delivery.  Small towns and congressmen who represent them want service to continue even at a loss.  Someone has to give in eventually or the post office will become a skeleton.  But, then, that is what some might be wishing for.


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