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Is U.S. Postal Service Too Popular to Privatize?

The U.S. Postal Service employs more than 500,000 Americans at 30,000 outlets across the country. Photo: USAF

by Eric Galatas

AUSTIN, Texas – President Donald Trump’s announced intention in April to reform the U.S. Postal Service landed with a thud, and now – six months later – a White House-appointed committee report on the topic has been shelved.

The Postal Service enjoys wide popularity, with a 90 percent favorable rating, and the reform package delivered to the president on Aug. 10 has not been released.

Former U.S. Rep. John McHugh of New York is a spokesman for The Package Coalition, a group that formed to highlight the importance of the Postal Service’s package delivery capabilities.

“If you look at, really, the thousands upon thousands of small businesses that have sprung up in virtually every part of this country, the Postal Service in that construct becomes an awfully important part of the current economic fabric of this country,” McHugh points out.

The Trump administration says the Postal Service needs to operate more efficiently, after reporting a net loss of $2.7 billion in fiscal 2017.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars. It has 157 billion required delivery points, six days a week, and McHugh says package delivery is one of the bright spots in its budget.

McHugh maintains if the Postal Service were privatized, the cost of package delivery would increase for individuals, especially in rural areas, but business owners would bear the brunt.

“Should this construct be artificially changed, it will by necessity change the way the Postal Service operates and not in a good way,” he stresses. “Most people take the Postal Service for granted because it’s always been there for them, six days a week, and that could be jeopardized.”

Last month, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, introduced a bipartisan resolution to ensure that the Postal Service “remains an independent establishment of the federal government,” and not subject to privatization.

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