Posts Tagged ‘united states postal service’

The writer’s longest and most trusted companion, the USPS, is facing default. It’s the Romantic in me that thinks this an atrocity, one akin to the discontinuation of books for eReaders, the favouring of email correspondence over handwritten letters, even the replacement of postmarked bills and junk mail by eBills and spam (it’s just more fun to physically throw away/recycle the items you hate instead of clicking). Honestly, changes are long overdue for this government agency, which has served with impeccability given its mission. But as private business is the nature of the beast we call home (in the USA), I’m honestly surprised this crisis has taken so long to come to a head.

The major problem with this threatened service cut, as far as I see it, is its effect on those who have no choice but to rely on the USPS and the “death spiral” created by the collapse of the federal service in more affluent areas. After all in the USA, there still exist places without access to the internet, people who can’t afford a computer, places where the public libraries are closed. All of the above conditions restrict universal access to electronic communication, and gaps in communication will only serve to widen the divide between classes in an already highly polarized union. So if the areas which are already better off stop contributing to the federal program that enables efficient nationwide communication, what will become of the places in-between urban areas? Less information will lead to (even more) ignorance and intolerance, which is not a direction in which the USA can afford to travel.

Solutions? Perhaps UPS or Fed-Ex or any number/combination of other private carriers can be contracted to handle the mail. This seems the best solution as it would guarantee continued delivery of communication to those without access otherwise, but then affordability, reliability, credibility, and accountability come into question (as it would with any change of hand). Maybe the federal government could suffer the losses incurred by present USPS operations until current union agreements run out and then close all non-essential offices or at least make some major assessments as to which cuts would lead to the most sustainable postal system possible. That would save (some) jobs, prevent potentially budget-damaging legal action from unions, and still ensure mail can get where it is needed without placing a permanent burden on the US taxpayer for services of which they may have no need.

I’m no economist, but as a poet I am someone who values communication. Our capability for relaying thoughts and ideas over extended distances by a variety of means is essential to the growth of society as a whole and therefore our greatest asset as a species. To fully eliminate any option or allow it to fail before a replacement of equal reach/effectiveness can be found is to spite ourselves and our future. Romantic S.A.S.E. notions aside, the USPS is needed by the USA, even if only by some fraction of its population, in order to ensure progress across this expansive nation.