The US Postal Service is killing itself

I just stumbled across a Reuters article that said the US Postal Service was failing due to the internet. People sending emails instead of mailing cards and letters was what killed the postal service. There are a few problems with this argument.

Its been well documented that the the problems with the US Postal Service stem from the out of control pension system as well as the congressional mandate to provide service to every single household is what’s causing the problem. Also, the fact they USPS is trying to deliver packages is ridiculous.

If the US Postal Service thinks that a higher volume of mail would save them from disaster, they’d be crazy. Volume of mail (income) is going down, while costs are going up. Anybody with a business background would tell you that’s a recipe for disaster. Even if you marginally increase your income, you still need to reduce your costs.

My grandfather is a retired postal inspector. He retired in his 50′s… he’s nearing 90 years old now… retired for 30+ years. Last I heard his government pension was about $80,000/year. Yes, you heard me right, $80,000/year. Must be nice… but it sure as hell isn’t sustainable for the USPS to keep paying pensions like that.

This whole debacle reminds me of other industries failing to adapt. The RIAA and MPAA have fought tooth and nail to avoid the digital era… instead of adjusting their business model, they cling to the old and dig their hole deeper by attacking people. Remember when they fought VCRs? Now they’re delaying movie rentals longer in hopes of people giving up and buying the movie instead of waiting, therefore making them more money.

In the end, the US Postal Service using the argument that the internet is killing them is just ridiculous. The USPS has been around for a long time… in one way or another before it was officially run by the United States Government. I wonder if anybody ever argued that other forms of communication like phone lines would kill them? Before any electronic communication, letters were the only way to communicate across distance. Did the mail volume go down with the advent of a phone in every house? I bet it did. Its much easier to pick up the phone and call your friend.

Stop blaming the internet for your failing business model.

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