As the U.S. Postal Service struggles to stay afloat, two congress senators released a bill on Thursday proposing the release of a pre-prohibition era mandate that banned the U.S. Postal Service from shipping and delivering alcoholic beverages. Supporters of post office reform calls the current system “outdated” as the U.S. Postal Service must compete with the United Postal Service and Federal Express. As simple as it would seem to suggest a merger to eliminate the crisis, two Congress members have considered alcohol delivery by the U.S. Postal Service as the answer.
Last year, nearly $16 billion was lost by the U.S. Postal Service, and if this problem is not addressed, it could run out of money by October. The shipment of alcohol would bring in $50 million annually. A decision can be ruled on as early as September after congress returns from recess, but fear that it will not be a point of major discussion does exist. A major concern by consumers is to why has this issue been delayed until this extremity is proposed. Republican, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, one of the sponsors of the bill, recommends that the bill will “protect taxpayers” in order to keep the U. S. Postal Service “economically viable” as it is a “viable service.” Threatening to put the problem on the backs of America’s citizens will not rally support for the bill that was initially caused by a previous mandate enacted by congress in 2006 that agreed to pre-fund up to 75 years of future retiree healthcare over 10 years. The plan, which has already defaulted, will default again by $5.6 billion at the end of September. The U. S. Postal Service needs to save $20 billion by 2017 or a taxpayer bailout will probably be initiated. Government’s answer to saving the U.S. Postal Service from crisis is the consideration of the reckless decision of alcohol delivery at the expense of the safety of taxpayers or either on their dime.
The House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, who supports the alcohol bill proposed a bill of his own last month that included ending Saturday delivery and door to door delivery. Much concern comes from the income that has dwindled due to internet and email conversation. In an interview with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, done by the Associated Press, he revealed that blue box mail by his agency was down 60% causing a huge effect on revenue. Progress has been made over the change of times, but not all houses have computers, and not all consumers have access to them. Also, it is much more convenient to leave mail at the door instead of a blue box if the carrier must stop by anyway. This is where the idea of a merger comes into play—not inconvenience of the masses. In the past, lawmakers have complained about cluster boxes and curbside service, which were proposed, by saying that it would inconvenience the elderly and those living in rural areas. Taking away mail delivery on Saturday would also present a problem for those who depend on medical prescriptions by mail that arrives on a certain day. The rebuttal to this is that if a hardship exemption was put into place, along with a 6 to 12 month phase time before implementation, the ideas proposed may work. Social Security deleted mailed checks and opted for debit cards, but allowed consumers the needed time to switch over, and the process went rather smoothly. Also, they have always had checks delivered and posted on particular days (or earlier) to avoid weekend delivery, and prescription companies can consider doing the same. As for alcohol delivery by the U.S. Postal Service to reach an end to this crisis, an answer is to create provisions, such as considering recipients be 21 years or older and required to show government picture identification before delivery. This has been proposed. The bottom line is when change is drastically needed, it will occur, and maybe the threat to the end of the U.S. Postal Service, a much needed amenity, will allot for the talk and discussion required to facilitate an inevitable change.
Written by: Kimberly Scott