Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post Office Reform

I've often said I'd never complain about spam email again if I could guarantee that I'd never receive another piece of paper junk mail. Last night I took that one step further and started debating with my wife why the US Post Office continues to exist today.

It seems to primarily deliver junk mail. "Direct mail" has a typical response rate of 1-2%, and 5% or above is both phenomenal and unheard of. This means that 95% of all "direct mail" requires employees to sort it plus trucks (and fuel) to cart it around so it can immediately be thrown in the trash upon receipt. And that makes sense how?

Did a little research and found some cool articles and studies on post office privatization and the challenges in getting such a project going. This quote about summed up my perspective:

Don't Bail Out The Mail
"And they certainly won't address the Postal Service's underlying problem, which is that only grandparents, banks and junk-mailers actually send letters anymore. If U.S. autoworkers are hard-pressed to compete, it's a thousand times worse for mailmen, who sell the epistolary equivalent of an overpriced horse-and-buggy."

I haven't fully thought this out, but wouldn't it make more sense to outlaw junk mail, sell off USPS assets to UPS or FedEx, and use the money saved to subsidize Internet access (with low cost computers as needed) for all Americans so they can have access to email and online bill pay, eliminating the majority of day to day practical mail service needs?

More: Postal Chief Warns of Service Cuts

No comments: