The recent editorial in The Post-Journal bashing the Postal Service also comes as no surprise. What these bashers don't seem to know or don't want the public to know are the real facts.
First of all, comparing the Postal Service to other delivery companies is like comparing apples and oranges. The Postal Service runs like the government because it is controlled by the government. Despite the fact that the Postal Service has not received one cent of government or taxpayer funding since 1984, they are not allowed to run like a business. In fact, the government actually takes about $5 billion from the Postal Service each year, supposedly to cover future retiree health care costs. No other federal agency is required to do so.
Between Congress and the politically appointed Postal Rate Commission and Board of Governors, the Postal Services' hands are tied. Need to raise rates due to increased costs - that's up to the Postal Rate commission. Try to close tiny, money losing offices - go see Congress and the Board of Governors. Also, the Postal Service is required, by law, to deliver to every address in the country despite the cost. Other delivery companies have no such requirement. In fact, they often drop off packages at the post office for delivery if its better financially for them to do so.
A couple of examples illustrating what the Postal Service faces follow. For every penny increase in fuel costs, operating costs increase by millions of dollars a day. While other businesses can simple raise prices or add a fuel surcharge immediately, the Postal Service is stuck. No price increases without the Postal Rate commission's approval - a process that can take up to a year or longer. Imagine if the price of paper rose dramatically and The Post-Journal had to ask the city council to approve the increase. Then, maybe a year later, the council would approve an increase of half of what they asked for to remain profitable.
We saw what happened when the Postal Service wanted to close the Buffalo mail processing facility - one they no longer need. Here comes Congressman Higgins, along with the head of the Postal Workers Union to force the Postal Service to keep the facility open. Decisions like those show why the Postal Service and the country are drowning in red ink. Of course, the electronic age had a profound effect on the Postal Service. It also has caused several major newspapers to cease producing the printed copy of their paper. However, to somehow blame the Postal Service for texting and emailing is laughable at best.
Randy Jacobs is a resident of Jamestown.