Congress Is The Post Office’s Biggest Problem

If you watched any television this weekend you probably saw the National Association of Letter Carriers ad extolling the virtues of the US Postal service while spreading the fear of the diminished service Americans can expect from reduced hours and staff.

Many Republicans conveniently place the blame for the USPS’s financial troubles at the feet of unions using cleverly manipulated statistics, yet when comparing apples to apples the cost of employees for USPS are similar to that of USP and FedEx. Additionally it should be noted that the employees at UPS are also unionized and FedEx claims that the wages and benefits they offer are competitive with UPS.

Given this, it seems like a stretch to place the blame for the postal service’s troubles at the feet of unions. While the cost of employees tends to be similar across these organizations there is one thing holding back the USPS that doesn’t affect UPS and FedEx – their management.

If UPS or FedEx wants to raise the rates on their services they simply raise their rates without any government involvement. The USPS on the other hand can only raise rates if Congress gives them the green light to do so.

If you take a look at the costs to ship the USPS wins hands down. It doesn’t matter is you ship overnight or standard ground, USPS wins – often times charging half of what it would take to ship using their competitors.

So perhaps the real problem here is Congress. While the Post Office should certainly be examining changes they can make to streamline their service and cut costs, it will all be for naught unless Congress lets the USPS compete in the free market. Otherwise the blood for the death of the post office falls squarely on the hands of our elected officials not postal employees.

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