Opinion: Don’t let Postal reform dismantle national infrastructure in the name of ‘business’

Mark Jamison, the recently retired postmaster of Webster, N.C. — speaking for himself, and not on behalf of the Postal Service — examines the value of the Postal system as national infrastructure. Excerpted below.

It’s been four years since the Great Recession began to take its toll on postal revenues, and we appear no closer to a resolution to the crisis than when it first arose. Of course, if one looks at it from an historical perspective, the Postal Service has faced an existential crisis since 1968, when the Kappel Commission issued its report on the future structure of the Post Office Department. …

Given that this was a time when the corporation had become the most revered of institutions, it is not surprising that the commission came up with … [t]he Post Office is a business and should be run like a business. …

While there is a case to be made that the provision of postal services is nothing more than a simple commercial activity that should be wholly subject to the vagaries of the marketplace, it is a weak and narrow argument. …

The Founders conceived of the postal network as more than simply a commercial service. They saw the network as infrastructure, a fundamental building block in our nation’s structure, a necessary element in the furtherance of the national welfare. …

How we treat and resolve the issues surrounding postal services in this country can be a very clear indicator of how we define ourselves as a nation and a people. I cannot think of a much greater goal to aspire to than binding the nation together. “E Pluribus Unum” — from the many one — is an ideal that has allowed this country to become the wealthiest and at times the fairest mankind has known. Over two and a half centuries we have confronted many horrendous national demons. Perhaps none is more challenging than the fear of decline that leads to unbridled self-interest and the cynical destruction and debasement of our national institutions.

Starting in September there will be community meetings to inform several communities in the Asheville cluster — 84 offices stretching from Nebo to Murphy — that the hours in their offices will be reduced. Closures are still a possibility.

About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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0 thoughts on “Opinion: Don’t let Postal reform dismantle national infrastructure in the name of ‘business’

  1. indy499

    The USPS is in a financial predicament because first class revenue has plummeted with changes in technology and business processes.

    Adjustments must be made. The USPS is on pace to lose $ 20 billion this year ( roughly $ 5 billion of which is related to the ongoing pension issue, which has become a smokescreen that some use to attempt to justify not taking action).

    We need to discontinue Saturday delivery, as having 6day service and a 5 day work week causes huge inefficiencies. We need to close the 10,000+ locations that produce less than $ 30,000 of revenue in a year——— obviously not enough revenue to cover one person’s compensation, much less pay for the building/utilities/etc.

    Let’s get the USPS aligned with this century.

  2. One has to wonder why this article was posted on the internet instead of typed on a typewriter and sent by mail. Think of all the jobs lost.

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