The news is reporting that the United States Post Service (USPS) might have to permanently close down due to debts it may not be able to pay off¹. The Postal Service was created by the U.S. Constitution in 1787, making it 225 years old, and one of the oldest services in our country’s history.
The USPS was started as a way to increase communication and trade among the 13 colonies. The country grew as fast at the Postal Service did, and for over two centuries, it remained one of the more successful government programs.
However, there has been a revolution in how we communicate, with the emphasis being on “faster.” People have been using e-mail to stay connected with friends and relatives for nearly 20 years. Smart phones allow us to e-mail and text whenever we want. There has also been a rise in private companies who specialize in sending packages, leaving the USPS as the last source for sending standard mail.
Yet, even with the USPS being the only option for envelope-based mail, the numbers are discouraging. The Postal Service is billions in debt, both for loans it cannot pay off, and to its own employees in the form of health and retirement benefits. This is likely due to the decrease in people using the USPS. First-class mail volume, which has fallen 25 percent since 2006, is projected to drop another 30 percent by 2016.
So what’s the solution? Buy stamps and use the mail more! Getting a hand-written letter from a friend or relative will make you much happier than a poorly written e-mail full of spelling mistakes. Not to mention, writing them is fun, and will actually improve your communications skills in the process. Also, while paying bills through the web is convenient, it can be easier to keep track of what you send if you have a paper system, and sometimes online error messages leave you confused as to whether your payment went through.
Also, in using the Postal System, you’re helping to keep alive one of the country’s oldest institutions. The American Revolution was partially started as a way to rebel against having stamps taxed without colonialists having voice in government. The Postal System was established as a response, so by using it, you’re supporting a living symbol of 250 of years of American history.
Post offices typically close at 5:00 or 6:00 pm, and many are open on weekends. So pick up some stamps and envelopes, write a letter to a spouse, significant other, friend, or relative, and help save the USPS today!