Save the USPS

Now is not the right time to get rid of the United States Postal Service.

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MCT Campus

A mail carrier loads a truck for delivery at a United States post office in Torrance, California, on August 26, 2020. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Morgan Herriott, Print Managing Editor

$160 billion. It’s the amount of debt the United States Postal Service currently has, according to the 2019 USPS fiscal reports. While the USPS has been in troubled waters financially for the past few years, COVID-19 has taken a massive toll on mail volume, causing a cut in revenue. While some may argue that the USPS is out of date and virtually unnecessary, this doesn’t mean we can completely get rid of it. The USPS is still vital for delivering postal mail across the United States. The question is, to what extent should we go to save the USPS?

It’s clear to see that the USPS is not as much of a fundamental service as it was a decade ago. In the modern world, the uprise of electronic billings, online mail and private companies such as United Parcel Service and Fedex have made for a complete shift in the way our country views its postal services. Yes, the USPS has caused detrimental effects on our economy. In the third fiscal quarter alone, the USPS lost $2.2 billion, and is increasingly costing American taxpayers more and more, according to the USPS’s 2020 third quarter fiscal report. But even though the USPS is increasingly beginning to cause problems, we can’t get rid of the institution or let it become another privatized company. At least not for right now.

According to the USPS, their mission is to “provide the nation with reliable, affordable, universal mail service.” And this is exactly what the USPS does. They honor their mandate to provide postal services to everyone across the country, no matter who they are, where they live, even if it might result in a financial loss for the institution. They provide a low-cost service that no other private postal company or institution is able to. They give the ability for families across the nation to connect with each other in a more personal way. We can’t yet rely on any other postal service to provide everything the USPS does with 100% accessibility and reliability.

The USPS is vital for the stability and employment of middle-class Americans, veterans, new immigrants, migrants, and African Americans. Today, the postal service is 37 percent  minority groups and 37 percent female, and African Americans are twice as likely to be employed as whites, according to the Journal of Urban Economics. If the United States were to get rid of the USPS, the nation would be losing an institution that provides an overwhelming amount of opportunities for people across the country. 

Paul Shevlin, a USPS employee, demonstrates in Pasadena, California, against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s service changes within the U.S. Postal Service before the November general election. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS) (MCT Campus)

The United States Constitution also provides a framework for the USPS to be constitutionally mandated. Article 1 Section 8 Clause 7 gives Congress the authority to “establish Post Offices and post Roads.” Whether it turns into a political issue or not, it’s clear that institutions like the USPS are necessary in multiple aspects and not an issue that can be looked at without deep consideration of all factors.

Even though the USPS is causing a significant amount of damage to the United States economy, the postal service is still necessary for people across the country. At this point in time, getting rid of such an important institution is an issue that has a clear answer: We need to save the USPS.