It is a metaphor for what is apparently happening at all levels of our country and our culture. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced that it will slow down service for first-class mail and periodicals while “temporarily” increasing the prices of all “commercial and domestic retail” packages… due to vacation. It’s probably a good thing the ad didn’t arrive in the mail, or maybe it was delayed.
The delay will depend on our postal codes, which seems a bit discriminatory. A card developed by the Washington Post allows you to enter your zip code and then you are notified of how many extra days you can expect to wait for your bills, advertisements, catalogs, and personal letters, assuming anyone , but maybe grandma is writing letters these days.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy showed a gift for the obvious when he said: “The problems of the postal service are serious”, but he is optimistic that they can be solved. He said he had a “ten-year plan,” which looks a bit like the old Soviet and Chinese centralized planning systems, which failed.
Part of the problem has been the huge amount of money the USPS is setting aside for pensions and other benefits for postal workers. DeJoy believes one way to save money is to allow retirees to switch to Medicare, a program that is already living on borrowed financial time and is expected to run out of money in the not-so-distant future.
What a difference a few decades make. I remember getting letters from my parents when I was a child in a camp with a three-cent stamp on it. They were delivered quickly. In the days leading up to Christmas we received morning and afternoon delivery. La Poste, as it was called then, united the nation and opened up the world (some children had “penpals” in other countries) before there were Internet and Facebook “friends”, including most of us don’t know.
Going to the mailbox and seeing what was in it was a daily adventure. You would raise a red flag on the side of the box to let the postman know you had something to send. If you peeked into the mail car of a train, you would see many bags and know they were on their way to their intended destination in a timely manner.
DeJoy says airlines are no longer reliable in delivering mail and wants to rely more on ground services. It worked for the Pony Express!
The Postal Reorganization Act 1970 states: “The basic function of the postal service is to provide postal services to unite the nation through the personal, educational, literary and commercial correspondence of the people. It must provide fast and reliable services. , and efficient services to customers in all areas and must provide postal services to all communities. “
Then there is the unofficial but familiar Postal Service “motto”: “Neither snow, rain, heat, nor darkness of the night protects these couriers from the speedy completion of their designated tours.”
The law and currency will need to be updated to reflect the new delays. Maybe it’s time to find a replacement for the US Postal Service and let it become a completely private business.
If only we could resurrect the original Postmaster Benjamin Franklin, who created an affordable and fast system for his time. Franklin would probably be appalled at what we have today. He might even recommend eliminating it and starting over.
The Cal Thomas column is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.