After years of budget meltdowns and loan defaults, the U.S. Postal Service is being placed under the microscope by the National Academy of Public Administration. On the agenda: the nonprofit think tank wants to transfer many of the USPS’s infrastructure to more efficient third-party companies.
What is envisioned is described this way in an 8-page executive summary: “Private sector consolidators compete to pickup, process and transport hundreds of millions of packages. Shippers pay the consolidators to prepare and transport the mail for ‘last mile’ delivery by USPS letter carriers. The consolidators pay USPS a delivery charge. Upstream competition among private sector providers promotes efficiencies that lead to better service and lower overall prices.”
Because that works so well in every other privatized endeavor.
It remains unclear just how much of an impact any study will have on getting Congress to tweak the quasi-governmental USPS into fiscal shape. According to NAPA, the creation of a hybrid public-private model would “foster greater private sector innovation and competition while driving costs down,” but the study seems to be one more reason to worry about the future of direct mail in this country. While grand cures are proposed for this ailing service, one can’t help but feel that it’s quietly being measured for a coffin by its competitors…and Congress.
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