The Beginning of the End for the Postal Monopoly


Beginning of the End for the Postal Monopoly

The Postal Service has been a government
agency since 1775, and since 1872 it has been illegal for anyone but government
employees to deliver a letter. Because of this and many other reasons,
the USPS is a prevalent example of a government-controlled monopoly. The

United States Postal Service is the largest postal service in the world.

With over 800,000 employees (778,171 being part-time lobbyists), it is
the US’s largest employer. In the past few years, the Postal Service’s
profits have risen and productivity has declined. This essay will discuss
why this is happening, and look deeper into the government-controlled monster
that is the Postal Service.

In the 1980’s, few scholars focused on
the Postal Service, and today there are many. This is because of all of
the controversial issues that have been discovered regarding it. The USPS
handles over 43% of the world’s mail volume, and Japan is in second with

6%. The USPS is also the largest airline shipper in the United States.

The USPS delivers about 102 billion pieces of first class mail every year,
and 20% of these letters arrive late. The average household gets 24 pieces
of first-class mail every week, so almost 5 of these every week arrive
late. In New York City in 1998, only 52% of the mail were delivered on
time. Swimming champion Mary Meager had her parents send her the 2 gold
medals that she won in the Olympics; the medals vanished when her parents
sent them via USPS Express Mail. Why are these facts so appalling? Most
of it can be blamed on the unproductive postal workers.

Postal workers, who are considered unskilled,
make over $35,000 a year, and that number keeps increasing. These are very
high wages for an unskilled worker. The workers also waste a considerable
amount of time. A survey by the Postal Inspection service discovered that
the average letter carrier wasted 1½ hours every day. Basically,

23% of all postal workers time is unproductive. A GAO study found that
the average worker takes 50 days of paid leave every year. And sometimes,
mail sent with the USPS doesn’t even get delivered.

There are numerous stories of Postal employees
stealing mail. For instance, in Chicago, 2,300 lbs. of undelivered mail
were discovered at a postal worker’s home. Once in Rhode Island, 94,000
letters were found buried at a letter carrier’s home. A Colorado carrier
was arrested after 3 tons of undelivered mail was found at his home. These
are just a few of the stories of the workers keeping mail as their own.

And some undelivered mail isn’t even because of employees stealing mail.

During the 1970’s, the CIA opened mail
routinely. The reason behind this is because of the spying going on at
this time between the U.S. and Russia, but this is still unnecessary. A

Postal Inspection Service audit found properly addressed mail dumped in
the trash at 76% of the Post Offices visited. This number is completely
unnecessary and uncalled-for. At USPS headquarters, there are 11 members
of the board and 50 economists, accountants, and lawyers on the commission.

With all of these workers, you would think that the service wouldn’t be
having problems like this. The Postmaster General is the head of the service.

The current Postmaster General is Marvin T. Runyon. Former Postmaster General

William Henderson had this to say about the Postal monopoly: "...I believe
that the Postal monopoly will not last forever." Hopefully, he is right.

According to Henderson, one in every 200
letters is delayed or missorted. In 1970, the USPS created the Postal Reorganization

Act, trying to be redeemed. This was when the service officially
became the United States Postal Service. Before that, it was just the Post

Office. This Act had limited accomplishments. When the service was losing
vast amounts of money in 1979, there was talk of privatizing it, but nothing
pulled through. Many people hope that the service would once again consider
privatization. If the Postal Service did privatize, it would be the tenth
largest company in the U.S. The USPS attempted reorganization again in

1983, and once more in 1993. Both attempted reorganizations failed miserably.

The Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) codes were
introduced 1990’s; this code added 4 non-required digits, for 9 in all.

Since 1958, the price of a postage stamp has increased in 1963. In the
early by 825%, and in the last 20 years, that price has increased by 18
cents. On January 10, 1999, postage rates for non-profit organizations
increased by an average of 9.6%, while business rates only increased by

1.79%. Is there