No post on… Saturday?

Neither sleet nor snow nor heat nor gloom will keep postal carriers from their appointed rounds – but an $8.4 billion revenue deficit will. President Obama announced this week a plan to make the United States Postal Service more financially sound, proposing layoffs, office closures and an end to Saturday delivered. Jon Stewart pointed out that the business model of the USPS is inherently flawed — noting that “someone comes to your house, takes something you’ve written, and takes it anywhere in the world for like fifty cents.” So it should come as no surprise that the postal service isn’t taking in tons of dough. The postal service has lived through its golden years — things started looking downhill when the postmaster general was demoted from the cabinet in 1971 — but it shouldn’t be allowed to become extinct. Getting rid of Saturday post only accelerates the post office’s slide into irrelevancy — no one wants to wait an extra two days to mail or receive something. Instead, Congress should permit the USPS to raise rates. Currently, it is prohibited from raising post above the rate of inflation. I only hope that the postal service won’t disappear altogether. If we get rid of the USPS, what civil servants’ violent tendencies will we make fun of? It’s not called “going postal” for nothing. And who will we cast as comical antagonists and barfly know-it-alls on sitcoms? You can’t get rid of the postal service – it’s unconstitutional, dammit! But really, it is – the postal service is one of the few agencies specifically mentioned in the document. The Postal Service is an American institution, and we should hold onto it, for ourselves and our posterity. The report the White House submitted recommended the closure of as many as 3,700 offices nationwide, many of them in rural areas — but it is in communities like these that they are most vital. For many small towns in Vermont, post offices are at the heart of civic life. These closures would accompany a reduction of the workforce by as many as 200,000 jobs. Currently, the USPS employs half a million people and is the second-largest civilian employer in the country, behind Wal-Mart.  If the government is shedding this many jobs, how can it encourage private businesses to hire? And you can an all do your part. Send a letter once in a while. What’s that? Yes, with pen and paper. Licking the envelope is optional. And go ahead and pull a Mrs. Weasley and put fifty stamps on that sucker. And you know what the easiest way to tell someone you don’t care about them? Send them an e-card for their birthday. This is what everyone thinks of that: “Really, pal? You can’t spare 46 cents to write me a half-hearted message inside a card depicting a cute animal/crass fart joke on the front. Instead, I get this e-card with a video of my head pasted over a mariachi band. ” So show a little compassion for grandma and send her a nice letter once in a while, and show a little love for the folks who suffer through bad weather, unruly dogs and atrocious uniforms to get you your mail six days a week. After all, is our Netflix going to deliver itself?