Why the Post Office matters


Nobody writes letters any more. My kids barely know what a letter is. We pay our bills online, and when we buy crap valuable consumer items from Ebay or Amazon, they arrive in a UPS truck. With direct deposit, people don't even get benefit checks in the mail.

Plus, the Post Office is so much a part of old-fashioned government, an agency that people used to relate to in a positive way. These days, it's all about bloat and pensions and crazy people. So it's not surprising that conservative politicians would just as soon shut it down, get rid of employee pensions and eliminate one more part of the public sector.

But there are times when the postal system really matters -- elections, for example.

As Brian at Calitics points out, a growing number of people in California vote by mail -- and when you shut down post offices and processing centers, the mail gets slowed down. That could be a significant factor in a close election. Secretary of State Debra Bowen:

The USPS asserts the closures won't affect your ballot, but its future best hopes do not coincide with the current reality voters and elections officials have already witnessed in California. When mail facilities closed last year in Monterey, Ventura, and Yuba counties, officials conducting small local elections there reported mail that used to take one to three days to deliver was instead taking five to seven days.

Of course, that would also apply to last-minute attack mail -- because political consultants also use the USPS to deliver their positive and negative messages, timed to arrive in the carefull targeted mailboxes just at the right moment.

Some day, we'll vote by email. But for now, this particular arm of the hated federal government has a really important role.


You might as well defend candle-makers and gaslight-lighters as postal workers.

Give it up, and move on.

Posted by Anon-y mouse on Mar. 13, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

Bulk business mail, aka (and overwhelmingly treated as) junk mail, needs to be
mentioned in every article about the current state of the "Postal Service," which
used to be and still should be called, in my opinion, the Post Office.
Junk mail has been out of control for decades. They claim they need the money
it generates, but that is absurd. Last pie chart I saw – released by the "Postal
Service" itself, a few years ago – showed that first class and priority mail fees
accounted for about 67% of income, and that junk mail accounted for about
90% of the mail by weight.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

I wonder how many jobs are lost as a result of people paying bills online. And I'm not just thinking of Postal Service jobs. If your not writing checks people are not making checks and the same thing goes for envelopes and other printed matter made by workers. How about the workers that would have opened up all of those envelopes and processed their contents. I'm thinking that there have been thousands of jobs lost due to online bill paying. I still like writing checks and sending them through the mail. Keeping people working is important. The people that I work for get mad because I didn't sign up for direct deposit. I get my pay check in the mail and then take it to the bank so I can keep those people working too.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

"I'm thinking that there have been thousands of jobs lost due to online bill paying. I still like writing checks and sending them through the mail. Keeping people working is important."

Same with buggy whips. Shame that the auto industry seems to have put whipmakers out of business except in the bondage industry.

Posted by Troll the 14th on Mar. 14, 2012 @ 8:56 am