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America’s Postal Service: Still needed to medicate, vote and pay bills

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America’s Postmaster General Louis Dejoy introduced a new plan to reform the United States Postal Service and critics have called for privatization. The local mailman’s employer has managed to lose more than $90 billion since 2006.

Even today, millions of Americans count on the Postal Service to receive prescription medication, vote and pay bills. If deliveries stopped tomorrow, millions of prescriptions–some of them life-saving–would go undelivered. And some municipalities are so small that voting by mail is residents’ only option.

Ian Toner: ALL DAY LONG, DELIVERY TRUCKS PARADE PAST OUR FRONT DOORS. FEDEX. U-P-S. AMAZON…IT MAKES YOU WONDER…WITH SO MANY DELIVERY OPTIONS, WHY DO WE EVEN NEED THE U-S POSTAL SERVICE?

YOUR MAILMAN’S EMPLOYER HAS MANAGED TO LOSE MORE THAN NINETY BILLION DOLLARS SINCE TWO THOUSAND SIX. THAT HAS SOME EXPERTS AND LAWMAKERS, INCLUDING THE FORMER PRESIDENT, CALLING FOR PRIVATIZATION…THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PRIVATE COMPANY RUNS A GOVERNMENT ENTITY.

AFTER ALL, CANADA, GERMANY AND EVEN GREAT BRITAIN HAVE PRIVATIZED THEIR MAIL SYSTEMS.

Louis Dejoy: “There is difficult work that is ahead of us to fix the systemic problems that have plagued the Postal Service, but I am confident that together those problems can be solved.”

TONER: AMERICA’S POSTMASTER GENERAL HAS PROPOSED MAJOR CHANGES TO TRY TO BALANCE HIS BUDGET, LIKE RAISING POSTAGE RATES AND SLOWING SOME DELIVERY TIMES. THIS WHOLE CONVERSATION GOT US THINKING…WITH SO MANY WAYS TO COMMUNICATE AND SHIP THINGS IN TWENTY TWENTY ONE…DOES AMERICA STILL *NEED* A POSTAL SERVICE?

IF DELIVERIES STOPPED TOMORROW, ROUGHLY TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY MILLION PRESCRIPTIONS–SOME OF THEM LIFESAVING–WOULD GO UNDELIVERED OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR.

AMERICANS WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO VOTE BY MAIL, EITHER. SOME TOWNS ARE SO SMALL THAT THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE ANY IN PERSON VOTING. JUST ASK THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND MINNESOTANS WHO HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO VOTE BY MAIL.

AND, YES, EVEN TODAY, TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS DON’T HAVE RELIABLE INTERNET. SO WHILE MORE BANKS AND UTILITIES OFFER ONLINE BILL PAY THAN EVER BEFORE…WITHOUT THE POSTAL SERVICE, HOW WOULD THOSE AMERICANS WITH NO INTERNET PAY THEIR BILLS?

AND THEN THERE’S FEDEX AND U-P-S…BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THOSE COMPANIES PAY THE POSTAL SERVICE TO DELIVER PACKAGES TO RURAL AREAS. FEDERAL LAW REQUIRES THE POSTAL SERVICE TO DELIVER ALL MAIL AT REASONABLE RATES…SO IF IT WASN’T THERE TO HANDLE THOSE “LAST MILE” DELIVERIES, EXPERTS SAY FEDEX AND U-P-S WOULD RAISE THEIR PRICES, NOT DELIVER TO SOME REMOTE ADDRESSES…OR BOTH.

UNTIL WE HAVE ALTERNATIVES FOR THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO COUNT ON THE POSTAL SERVICE FOR MEDICINE, VOTING AND PAYING THEIR BILLS, WE STILL NEED IT IN SOME FORM.

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America’s Postmaster General Louis Dejoy introduced a new plan to reform the United States Postal Service and critics have called for privatization. The local mailman’s employer has managed to lose more than $90 billion since 2006.

Even today, millions of Americans count on the Postal Service to receive prescription medication, vote and pay bills. If deliveries stopped tomorrow, millions of prescriptions–some of them life-saving–would go undelivered. And some municipalities are so small that voting by mail is residents’ only option.

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