Op Ed: Time to Reconsider the Post Office

In light of an Amazon purchase shipped by the United States Postal Service that got sent to Florida instead of Fordham, I have decided to vent my frustration in this column by arguing that the USPS should be made defunct or restructured. 

In researching this column, I learned that the USPS does not receive tax dollars. They are a self-sufficient government entity that operates on sales of postage services and products. However, last year, the post office lost $2.7 billion, with a 30 percent decline in the volume of postage. The loss in money is because the business model of the USPS is flawed; their shipping prices are too low to stay afloat, which leads them to lose money and get bailed out by the federal government. 

What I immediately begin to notice is that there are so many mailing/shipping companies that compete with the USPS: UPS, FedEx, and even Amazon with their delivery service. With all of these private companies competing against one another, it leaves little room for other players. The fact is, these private companies can innovate their business model and infrastructure so much more fluidly than the USPS, which gets bogged down by ineffective government regulation and law

There are some counterarguments to this idea of eliminating the United States Postal Service. One is that the cost of shipping will grow too high, which makes sense because the USPS has been charging low prices. However, this is the exact reason they’re losing money. They may have low shipping prices, but it all comes around when the federal government has to offset the money they lose from these bad business practices. The shipping prices will remain low since multiple mailing companies already compete against one another, naturally lowering the price due to basic economic rules. 

Another argument is that by eliminating the USPS you would kill jobs, which is correct. People would lose their job if the USPS were to be eliminated. However, the private mailing companies would grow to account for the increased business that gets created by removing the USPS. When these companies grow, they have to hire more workers, and this means they will have a pool of highly qualified applicants to choose from. 

With the passing election, there becomes the question of what to do with mail-in ballots each election cycle. Understandably, you wouldn’t want a private mailing company in charge of ballots that can determine an elected official. A possible compromise to this issue would be to have a federal ballot collection service for every election, so there’s no evidence of corporate ballot tampering. 

The question of if the federal government should continue to have a postal service has long been a debate. With the growing sophistication of private mailing companies and e-commerce giants like Amazon, I think it’s time to realize that the private sector can do it better.


Thanks for reading,

Brian Inguanti