With modern technology and many private companies performing similar services, it’s time for the federal government to privatize the Postal Service.
The post office is one of the few federal agencies explicitly authorized by the Constitution. Why was it so important to expressly permit the federal government to deliver mail?
At the time of the American Revolution, most political discussion happened through newspapers, which had to be physically delivered to readers. The Founders authorized a post office because a representative republic requires an informed citizenry. James Madison noted at the Constitutional Convention that the primary purpose of the post office was to secure easy communication between the states. That objective made sense in a nascent nation that was pulling 13 independent colonies into a united federation. Before radio, telephone, television, the internet, and social media, there would have been very little national conversation without a post office.
Nearly 250 years later, the post office is no longer necessary for informed political debate with the abundance of information we have today. News no longer comes through the mail. Bills are paid online. Most of my mail is junk and unwanted advertising.
While the benefit of the post office has fallen, its costs have grown. The post office has generally operated at a deficit since 1970, meaning taxpayers cover its losses. Yet congressional restrictions have hampered the postal service management’s ability to turn a profit by modifying delivery rates or labor costs.
The government should sell off the post office and allow it to run as a private business. In the year 2023, we are flooded with news and information. FedEx, UPS, and other companies deliver packages and remain profitable. The country no longer needs the government to be involved in mail delivery
This piece originally appeared in UpFront Magaizine by The New York Times