Don’t Write Off The Postal Service
By Wes Hessel
Laying Post Office
The United States Postal Service (USPS) roots are so deep, they predate the country itself. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the British Crown in 1737 as Postmaster of Philadelphia. In 1753 he was promoted to one of two Joint Postmasters General for the American colonies. On July 26th, 1775, the Second Continental Congress confirmed Ben Franklin as the first Postmaster General of the United States. In 1792 the congress created the United States Post Office through the Postal Service Act.
In 1970, postal workers went on strike. They became the first federal employees to engage in collective bargaining. In 1971, the Post Office was reorganized into an independent federal agency and was renamed the United States Postal Service. By 1983, USPS received no public service funding, except as noted by Wikipedia, “subsidies for costs associated with disabled and overseas voters”.
The United States Postal Service had surpluses in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. However, first-class mail income peaked in 2001. The agency faced intense competition from FedEx and UPS for parcel and express shipping. Furthermore, email and social media, dramatically reduced Postal income. One national crises followed by another also hurt the Postal Service income. First, 9/11, then the Great Recession and now the COVID-19 pandemic.