GAO Seeks to Reimagine, Not Reform, Post Office

Having just raised the price of postage, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) should be able to deliver better quality to its customers. Or so you’d think. But, as a new government report infers, the “reforms” being considered will only make things worse.

That’s bad news for the institution and for the constitutional directives for the Post Office.

Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper notes that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the future of mail delivery sets up failure by “not encourag[ing] the USPS to be as aggressive as possible in expanding” package delivery. In this area, its current six-day-a-week service across the United States gives it “an efficiency advantage.”

As he points out in a Townhall commentary, the GAO report “doesn’t provide great guidance” on reforming the USPS as much as it presents “a progressive Postal Service wish list”:

The recommendations of the GAO go far afield from the mainstream goals of keeping the Postal Service focused on its main (and constitutionally mandated) objective: delivering mail and packages throughout the U.S. which is especially critical to rural Americans.

Among the GAO recommendations (and Horace’s concerns about them):

  • Congress should “reconsider” the USPS’s “universal service obligation” at the risk of “imperil[ing] the USPS’s broad acceptance among the American people.”
  • Possibly abandoning the “goal that the USPS be self-sustaining,” making “the pay-as-you-go model [] a thing of the past.”
  • A “re-imagined” USPS that delivers on fewer days, maintains fewer locations (cutting back in rural areas) and provides new services such as air quality monitoring and internet infrastructure such as WiFi and email and banking.

Horace suggests this fundamental transformation would further “erode public support for the continued existence of the Postal Service” and for government itself:

The USPS is a lifeline for these Americans who aren’t city dwellers – the very rationale for our founder’s decision to include the postal power in our Constitution and a key driver for Congress’ statutory framework over the years to ensure nationwide service.

“It is strange that suggesting that the Post Office do more of what it already knows how to do,” Horace writes, “isn’t at the top of the list in this report.”

To read all of Horace’s warning about progressive reforms for the Post Office – “GAO to the Rescue?” – at the Townhall website, click here. To read his previous commentary about congressional efforts at USPS reform, click here.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.