Repairing the Flawed US Post Office Business Model, for Economic and Environmental Benefit

This year’s Postal Service deficit is approaching $9 billion, but remedial suggestions seem ineffective. Closing some post offices will make delivery more expensive, and USPS less competitive. Reducing delivery days will divert more business to the internet or other carriers. The fact is, the USPS business model is flawed. To fix it, USPS operations should not be reduced; they should be made profitable and then, if possible, increased.

I suggest dividing USPS revenue into two streams, one from mail senders and one from mail recipients. Currently, senders pay for delivery to addressees. Instead, senders should pay for delivery only to an addressee’s nearest post office. USPS would sell subscriptions for delivery to any of the 150 million addresses that USPS visits each day, thereby linking the price of delivery to associated costs of labor, vehicles, fuel, and environmental pollution.

If sending and delivery (hypothetically) are equally priced, the price of sending could be divided almost in half, thereby increasing USPS business. The reduced sending price would increase access of the poor to postal services. Those in need also could receive subsidies toward paying for delivery subscriptions. As they do now, USPS customers optionally could have post office boxes to pick up mail instead of paying for delivery. USPS is ‘too big to fail’. If it is failing, taxpayers may be on the hook to bail it out.