At a time when it’s hemorrhaging billions of dollars per year the U.S. Postal Service should be on the lookout for unnecessary expenditures that can end up costing it dearly when somebody in its management is asleep at the switch.
For instance, it came to light recently that, when choosing artwork for new stamps commemorating the Statue of Liberty back in 2010 the USPS used not the actual statue in New York Harbor but a replica displayed in a Las Vegas casino, according to USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/07/06/postal-service-misidentifies-statue-liberty-stamp-million-mistake/762306002/.
The postal service had to fork over about $3.5 million because the designer of the casino statue sued the USPS for copyright infringement and a federal judge ordered the agency to pay up. The USPS has not yet decided whether to appeal this decision.
Agreed this was an avoidable gaffe and the USPS has most likely made a lot of doozies over the years. Such behavior as this is likely to prompt some people to call the immediate privatization of the postal service, heedless of its importance as a public institution and how it has more than profited businesses of all sizes.
We particularly need the USPS, especially in rural areas that overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump to be President in the 2016 election http://www.ttnews.com/articles/trump-pushes-privatize-troubled-us-postal-service-others-push-back. It’s debatable whether the GOP will have such support in this November’s Congressional elections but that’s another story.
Even before the U.S. was a country the post office always served as a central meeting and business place in far-flung rural communities and indeed provided the necessary network for the expansion of the nation. Yeah rural post offices are expensive to run and maintain but could things really work out for the better for the public at large if the postal service’s only motivation was to generate profits for its shareholders and cut out serving remote areas and abdicate its responsibilities laid out in the U.S. Constitution?
For about the past 10 or 11 years the USPS has been obligated to pay more than $5.8 billion per year to the U.S. Treasury to pay for the healthcare expenses of future retirees for 75 years. This provision was part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 which could not have passed Congress without a small group of Republican members of Congress insisting on it.
Largely because of this provision the postal service has had to reduce services and personnel. In one recent example the USPS just began closing about 260 mail processing facilities around the country and shedding about 35,000 jobs, according to the Amarillo TX Globe-News http://www.amarillo.com/news/local-news/2012-02-23/usps-cuts-will-send-more-mail-amarillo.
With no financial relief in the offing the postal service will most assuredly keep making these cuts and whittling itself down. Let’s hope the USPS can avoid further costly idiocy like the Statue of Liberty mix-up