An Open Letter to Congress

If you are reading this blog, you are probably aware of the United States Postal Service’s current financial struggle. This is something I’ve been concerned about for a while, and I’m pleased that more people are taking notice. While I respect differing opinions, I truly believe that the Post Office is an essential part of America’s infrastructure and I won’t shy away from defending it.

As I finished writing a letter to my representatives in the US House and Senate, I realized that I wanted to be a little louder in expressing my opinion than just mailing letters to my two Senators and House Representative. So I’m publishing my letter here for anyone to read, to help understand why I feel that the Post Office is worth saving.

Dear Representative,

                I am writing to express my support of the United States Postal Service, and to ask that you request funding for the service in any and all relief or stimulus packages passed by the Senate.

                The USPS is an essential service.  Many Americans depend on the USPS to deliver letters, paychecks, notices, groceries, medicine, and other goods.  This is especially true in rural areas, where internet access is expensive and slow.  The ability to provide direct access to nearly every US citizen is an important and irreplaceable service.  It is a system that connects the entire country.

Did you know:

  • The USPS employs more than 500,000 citizens[i] and is one of the largest employers of veterans in the US.[ii]
  • The USPS provides fast, affordable shipping to many small and medium business, who would be hurt by its loss.[iii]
  • The Post Office was an important part of a Cold War plan in the event of nuclear attack, assigned to contact and count all citizens, since they best knew where everyone lived.[iv]  Today, the USPS is an important part of disaster response.[v]
  • More than 20 million Americans do not have access to reliable internet, making the USPS the most reliable way for them to pay bills and taxes, or fill out the Census.[vi]
  • The Postal Inspection Service helps protect citizens from scams and fraud – this is especially important for vulnerable portions of the population such as the elderly and mentally ill.[vii]
  • Much of the USPS’s debt is a result of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, requiring the service to prefund retirement in a way that no other delivery service is required.[viii]  This act also gave the Postal Regulatory Commission, assigned by the federal government, control over the service’s pricing.[ix]

               Importantly, if the USPS were to fail, would the government ever be able to rebuild it if necessary?  The postal service, in some form or another, has been part of the US infrastructure since the founding of the country.  Could the US repurchase the property (buildings, trucks, software, and supplies) to ever reopen in areas where the service was closed?

               Instead of denying the USPS relief funding and allowing the service to break down, I encourage you to instead support and invest in it.  The US currently has access to a network of offices that could do even more for their communities.  An easy example is allowing simple banking services through the post office, which would allow low income citizens to build savings.  Installing broadband internet or computer kiosks in offices would allow rural citizens to visit their local post office to download documents or browse the internet (something especially important as public schools require more online learning, and as more jobs require online applications.)

               I hope this letter helps you understand the importance of the USPS, both as a service and a part of our national identity.  Please support the USPS, and vote for adequate funding in any and all COVID-19 relief and stimulus legislation.

Sincerely,



Although this letter touches on the practical reasons that the USPS is important to the country, before I conclude this blog post I want to touch on the emotional importance of the mail. You may have seen this recent story about an 11-year-old girl’s adventure with the USPS. Or you may know that you can brighten a sick child’s day by sending a card. Or maybe you realize that through the USPS, letter carriers host one of the largest food drives, helping to supply food banks in their communities. But one thing you almost definitely know is that when you open your mailbox and find a card or letter or package from a friend, it brings joy to your life.

Stay safe, collect stamps, and send more letters!

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