The U.S. Postal Service seems hell-bent on degrading and destroying itself as it paves the way for what some hope will become its eventual privatization.
In so doing the USPS appears tone-deaf to fulfilling its constitutionally mandated obligation to provide universal service to everybody in the country no matter where they live.
In one of the latest cases, postal officials temporary closed the post office in Wainwright, Alaska, a remote town of less than 600 residents on the state’s North Slope, according to radio station KTTU http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/postal-service-resumes-uncertainty-remains-in-wainwright/27847420.
And this is a town where people depend totally on the postal service to deliver food, medicine and other basics of life. Without the USPS Wainwright could conceivably become a ghost town like many in the Old West during the 19th Century. Interestingly, the town’s population is more than 90% Native American.
As recently as this past summer, some people in Washington, DC complained that delivery to such places in prohibitively expensive.
Let’s see how they’d feel if they were cut off from the ability to survive because it “cost too much?”
If the USPS continues to close small post offices it thinks are redundant, it risks losing the credibility and power it’s built up over more than 250 years as the only large public agency everybody trusts.
Closer to home, the USPS continues to bull ahead with its plans to close and sell off to land developer large, historically important post offices in large cities, heedless of public opinion and the needs of the poor as it’s doing in the Bronx, NY, a borough populated largely with poor and minority residents, as reported by the New York Daily News http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/usps-bronx-post-office-sold-manhattan-developer-article-1.1926971.
But there may be some hope. For example, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is one of the few in Congress prepared to stand up to the closure of post offices and earlier this month received support from his colleague Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), according to politicsusa.com http://www.politicususa.com/2014/09/04/harry-reid-stands-bernie-sanders-cuts-postal-service.html.
As always, the long term fate of the postal service will rest with Congress and who knows what that will entail next year and beyond. Could another postal reform law pass both houses if political party control shifts in either chamber?
This could well become moot if the postal service continues on with its campaign of self-immolation.