Last weekend, USPS workers across the country used their day off from work to protest a recent privatization proposal for the United States Post Office. Privatizing USPS would not just be a disaster for rural citizens and workers, it would also dramatically hurt small business owners across the country and would hurt consumers with an increase in prices.
Here why I explain why USPS must stay public and some myths by pro privatization people.
Myth #1: The Private Sector Can Provide These Services
From anyone who has not run a business and relied on the post office to ship across the country at a reasonable rate, they may just think the private sector can provide these services. But that cannot be further from the truth. On the consumer side, the great thing about USPS is that everyone is guaranteed to receive mail, whether they live in the city or in a rural area. The truth is, it is not profitable to ship packages and deliver mail to areas that are rural so the private sector would effectively shut out people or not do mail delivery to them. On the business side, small online businesses flourish only because of the post office. The USPS sends businesses free priority boxes and envelopes. Additionally, a 2lb box going from Atlanta to Seattle that costs $10.80 to ship with USPS would cost $18.66 with a private company like FedEx. And the great thing about USPS is that they offer businesses free package pickups at their location of choice so they can focus on their business and they will ship that day, not take extra time.
My business uses Regional Rate A Boxes a lot. To ship a package from California to New York with a regional box, which is about medium sized, it would take two days and cost my company $10.80 which is wholesale pricing. If I wanted to ship with UPS and use a Medium Express Box which also takes two days, wholesale pricing would be $32.24. If I wanted to use a small box it would still be $28.84 with express boxes. Again, this is wholesale pricing with our shipping provider. I charge my customers $7 for shipping, so if it goes across the country, I take the hit. I could not imaging paying these crazy prices.
Myth #2: USPS Is Unsustainable
The Post Office had a deficit of $5.1 Billion Deficit in 2011 while in 2016 the deficit slightly increased to $5.6 Billion. In 2011 the US Economy was $15.5 Trillion while in 2016 the US Economy was $18.6 Trillion. So while the economy drastically increased and expanded, the USPS deficit barely ticked up even with all the new economic activity. Additionally, a budget deficit of $5.6 Billion is very sustainable, it is barely anything. But in 2017, the USPS had a great year and only had a budget deficit of $2.7 Billion. In 2017, the US Budget deficit was $665 Billion. So the US Post Office contributed to just 0.4% of the US Budget Deficit. That is it. And think about that great investment as a country we made by allowing the Post Office do that, e commerce websites are flourishing, more people are being hired, and inflation has been low. Our economy relies on good investments like the USPS.
Myth #3: Inflation?
Many people say if we don’t get this fiscal problem under control, inflation will increase. Besides inflation being low since the recovery, privatizing USPS would be a huge inflation for consumers. Prices would have to increase to make up for all the new costs and small businesses will close. Consumers hate paying for shipping so small businesses will have no choice but to close if they can’t ship out at reasonable rates. So besides the value of your dollar buying less, small online businesses, a growing sector of the economy and our future, will be hurt. The thing about small businesses is that they don’t have time or the money to negotiate million dollar shipping deals, they get the wholesale price and don’t get these low negotiated rates big business gets.
Hands Off Our Post Office
In the Constitution it is written, “Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress “To establish Post Offices and post Roads”.”
The founders guaranteed a right to our post office. A post office owned by the people. Privatizing the post office will hurt workers, business, and rural communities. If this proposal goes through, it will not go through silently. Millions of workers and small business leaders will rise up and demand change. Don’t fix something that is not broken, and although many people may repeat the same nonsense over and over expecting people to believe them, the hard data is here. No matter how many times it is repeated that Post Office is unsustainable, we have the hard data. We know what is going on behind the scenes.
Congress should immediately pass a bill to reaffirm workers and businesses their support for a public post office so this wave of uncertainty about the future will be gone, because small business owners like me are worried. We can’t keep up with the USPS price hikes, if the private sector monopolized the post office raising rates, I could not imagine what would happen to people like me and our businesses. For all the people cheering on this proposal my only words are, be careful for what you wish for.
This article is a response to the Office of Management and Budget’s Proposal
Please call your senator to support this bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-resolution/633/cosponsors?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22mccaskill%22%5D%7D&r=3