The forces of destruction continue their relentless assault on the U.S. Postal Service and may be gaining some unwarranted traction.
In his just-proposed measure, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), outgoing chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee calls for stopping delivery to the front doors of about 1.5 million people and instead put their mail in centralized cluster boxes in communities.
By the way, this is how mail is delivered in remote locations in places like Pakistan.
Under Issa’s proposal, people could still receive mail at their front doors if they paid extra for it. In other words, people would have to pay for service that has been free as long as anybody can remember and should remain so.
Some say universal delivery would still be guaranteed under this plan but certainly it’s hard to see how the USPS could maintain the sacred privacy of mail under this plan.
But some commercial mailer groups that should know better are backing this bill http://postalnews.com/blog/2014/05/21/mailers-back-issa-bill/.
It should be pointed out that direct mail is largely sent to people on the basis of their buying patterns and demographic profiles. It doesn’t really matter if you or somebody else receives it. How many times have you gotten a mailing from a store saying it’s treating you as a special exclusive customer but the label also says “or current resident?”
Also, commercial mailers have historically touted the benefits of a rigorous postal service and why not? That’s how they make their living.
Issa also quite disingenuously says this bill will save the USPS about $2 billion a year. But he ignores how Congress imposed an annual $5.8 billion on the postal service to fund the healthcare costs of future retirees. This provision was part of the 2006 postal reform law that stabilized postal rate increases with minimal hikes each year based on the Consumer Price Index.
Likemost of Issa’s previous proposals, this one likely won’t go much further than the House panel. But it may set the stage for new postal reform proposals next year and beyond in a House and Senate that might become even more conservative.
Meanwhile, the USPS has already started doing this in some new suburban developments around the country at least one of which is in North Carolina http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/05/18/3649800/new-developments-say-goodbye-to.html.
And reports continue to surface about deteriorating service at individual post offices http://nypost.com/2014/05/21/post-office-opens-late-with-no-clerks-while-customers-wait-in-line/\.
Yes, it’s hard to get postal reform legislation passed in Washington. Efforts leading up to the 2006 reform law began in 1995.
But let’s make sure the USPS doesn’t chip away at its services under the radar.