Apr
26

Senate staves off postal Armageddon with USPS reform bill – CSMonitor.com

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Senate staves off postal Armageddon with USPS reform bill – CSMonitor.com.

Well, it’s at least a start, not a solution.  One important discussion not taking place, aside from in the small towns which may be abandoned, is what “value” this network possesses beyond the obvious economic measure of cost of direct cost of maintenance and revenue realized at the location.  Some facilities cost thousands more to operate than they generate.

The entire system is losing money as a whole because Congress forces the USPS to pre-fund retirees’ health benefits, and pension payments are juicy, also. The business of capping the USPS’ senior executives’ pay is a silly symbol. If you want a business solution, you’ll have to pay business wages. Outrageous they may be, but that’s the price of the skills we need.

The network in itself has a value if it is maintained, and we need to reformulate what it will do to support itself.  Closing money-losing facilities is as blinkered a solution as would be closing various stretches of the road systems around the country because they don’t pay for themselves. Close those roads and the country withers. Businesses close, populations move away.

Find new things for those “under-utilized” post offices to do, and perhaps they still aren’t profitable, but they will maintain the health of the surrounding area and will contribute to the wider network and its total value.  Why in the name of economic health do County, State, and Federal services all get delivered by different people in different buildings? Surely there are inefficiencies that could be realized there. State hunting/fishing licenses. Motor vehicle registrations.

In a large town in Northern New York near my birthplace, in the last 3 years the State, County and USPS have each constructed new “strip mall” buildings for their operations.   They could all have been in one facility.

Valuing this or that post office is too narrow a focus. We’re not talking about a fast food franchise.  We must value the system with all its components.

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