The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Delivering a Turnaround to the Postal Service

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


The United States Postal Service (USPS) is broken. It is fixable. As currently operated it attempts to survive in the unfriendly environment of 21st century communications with 18th century methods. It is time to make a change, a leap, and move to an innovative platform supported by current technology that will result not only in improved service levels but perpetual break-even operations without additional cost or taxpayer support. Definitions: A recipient receives information in electronic or traditional paper format. A sender sends information in electronic or traditional paper format. I propose the following solution to the continuing USPS survival, operations and service problems:

  • All mail Recipients will be issued a personal zip code without charge.
  • All mail Recipients may elect to (a) have all of their mail scanned and forwarded to an Recipient’s current email account or to a new email account, available without charge at the post office of the Recipient’s selection; or (b) may elect to receive all mail in paper form, as is, at a P.O. Box of the Recipient’s selection; or (c) any combination of the above.
  • P.O. Boxes will only be available on a monthly or yearly rental, equal to the full cost of their maintenance (break-even.)
  • There will be NO taxpayer subsidized postal home or office delivery.
  • There will be only one class of postage, equivalent to today’s first class.
  • Special delivery and package delivery will be available only through UPS, FedEx or a similar private service, with drop off available at any post office.
  • Senders using electronic-to-electronic delivery will have all mail forwarded through a Post Office Internet service provider (ISP) without charge.
  • Senders using the post office to open, scan and deliver paper-to-electronic mail will be charged ½ the regular First Class Mail Rate to forward mail through a Post Office ISP.
  • Senders using the post office to print and deliver electronic-to-paper mail will be charged ½ the regular First Class Mail Rate to forward and print mail through a Post Office ISP to a P.O. Box.
  • Senders using conventional mail will be charged the actual fully loaded cost of deposit, transmittal and delivery to the recipients P.O. Box.
  • The new First Class Mail Rate, to be automatically adjusted on a monthly basis, must be electronically charged by Postal swipe or credit card to the Sender.
  • In lieu of Stamps Senders will bar code their individual zipcode on the envelope of paper mail and enter their individual zip code on electronic mail.
  • Private industry will be authorized and encouraged to contract for P.O. Box-to-home or office delivery with mail Recipients. As a new public utility awardees will be granted exclusive (monopoly) rights by current zip code or a portion thereof and will be required (part of the cost of doing business) to provide free to delivery to the disabled, and the aged.
  • Private industry will be encouraged to bid and pay for the right to place P.O. Boxes on their property (in their store, Home Depot, Kroger etc, for enhanced foot traffic.).
  • These changes are estimated to reduce the employment requirement from approximately 600,000 to less than 200,000 and reduce the number of vehicles used and maintained along with fuel used by more than 2/3rds.
  • The USPS will become a GSE and will proceed through a transition allowing current employees to retire under an early buy-out pension agreement providing, at their option, immediate or deferred benefits based on the net present value.

These options would be best applied if the USPS remains as an independent organization and is not completely privatized. In either case, the Postal Service should remain solely in the business of handling and delivering mail. For example, the USPS’ foray into a clothing line, which was the subject of a press release from Citizens Against Government Waste (among others) earlier this month, is not the answer to the organization’s problems. Ronald C. Lazof is the Managing Director of Prism Advisors LLC.

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