USPS: 'Letters Are Going Away'
The U.S. Postal Service removed all doubt Tuesday. "Letters are going away, as the 10-year trend below so clearly illustrates," writes a USPS spokeswoman, referring to the chart pictured.
Target Marketing had asked her for a response to a press release on Tuesday that took aim at the USPS for, in its words, not concentrating on delivering First Class mail. Email, rather than First Class mail, arrived at Target Marketing in the morning bearing the subject line, "Taxpayers Protection Alliance tells the U.S. Postal Service 'stick to delivering our letters' in new video."
The USPS spokeswoman says single-piece First Class mail, which includes personal correspondence and bill payments, "historically has funded the organization, since we do not receive tax dollars. Package volume is growing exponentially. This past Sunday, postal mail carriers delivered more than 4.6 million packages to customers across the country. Just yesterday, Monday, Dec. 15, we delivered more than 26 million packages. The mail mix is changing and the Postal Service welcomes that change!" [Editor's note: The exclamation point is hers.]
As for the video [see the second image in the media player], it comes from a nonprofit organization that isn't legally required to reveal its donors.
In the video, a blonde cartoon girl sends a "Happy Holidays" card to her grandmother while saying it's getting harder and harder to send First Class mail. The video follows a USPS vehicle picking up the card as the girl narrates how the USPS made "an exclusive" deal with Amazon to deliver groceries. (USPS delivers AmazonFresh groceries.) And now the postal service delivers packages on Sunday in dilapidated vehicles, the girl says, sounding alarmed. Finally, the video shows the postal vehicle breaking down before delivering the card to her sad and confused grandmother.
"Perhaps the postal service should stop cutting mail services in favor of these other costly things and stick to what we really need them to do," the girl suggests, before adopting a pleading voice, "deliver our letters."
First Class mail volume is declining rapidly, testified Mickey D. Barnett in September, when he was chairman of the USPS Board of Governors. During his testimony to Congress, in which he requested confirmation to the board that no longer has a quorum due to congressional inaction on the nominees, Barnett showed a congressional committee that mail volume dropped by 25 percent from 2007 to 2013.
He and incoming Postmaster Megan J. Brennan agree the USPS should focus on package delivery, which Brennan told The Wall Street Journal grew by 20 percent during the past five years.
Rather than being for improved First Class mail delivery, the alliance seems to be mostly against USPS grocery delivery. In October, the TPA filed a complaint with the Postal Regulatory Commission about the 2-year-long AmazonFresh delivery test.
"Expanding services into the private market is not only wrong because it undercuts private competitors," says TPA President David Williams in Tuesday's video announcement, "but because it is coming at the expense of its government-granted monopoly—mail delivery."
It's unclear who's funding the Alexandria, Va.-based 501c4, which is the Internal Revenue Service's code for civic leagues, social welfare organizations and local employee associations. USA Today points out Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove, is such a social welfare organization. Pro-President Barack Obama group Priorities USA is as well, says The Washington Post.
Should the postal service stick to delivering First Class mail?
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