•Press Release Budget Government United States
The benefits of a public service are not measured by revenues
Washington DC — Recent changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS) imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy prompted reports of potential sabotage, lawsuits, and emergency Congressional hearings. A new report, released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) challenges long-standing misconceptions about and unrealistic expectations for the postal service’s fundamental function as a public service. This report proposes a clear alternative to calls for privatization or running the postal service “as a business.”
The US Postal Service Is a National Asset: Don’t Trash It, by CEPR Senior Research Fellow Max B. Sawicky outlines the economic principles that illustrate how notions of privatization and self-financing of the USPS are bad for the economy and undermine the federally mandated universal service obligation.
“It is common to declare the post office obsolete based on the decline in first-class mail,” says Sawicky. “Rather than ruminate on ways to carve up the service until revenues cover costs, consider its unique assets and ask what more could the USPS do in the national interest.”
Sawicky frames the public postal services’ unique assets in a series of economic principles.
“A strong public sector and postal service are essential under the current threats of a pandemic and an economic recession,” says Sawicky. “As a public service, the United States Postal Service has provided a significant boost to the nation’s prosperity and well-being. Privatization for the sake of self-financing is a move in the wrong direction. The service should be returned to a department of the federal government proper, expansion opportunities explored, and regular budget appropriations should cover any shortfalls in operating costs or promised benefits to postal workers.”
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