Wednesday April 22, 2020 |Notes

USPS is vital - and magical in a digital age

The USPS is in a dire predicament again. It's a vital service that should not be lost. Esquire recently republished an article on the history and importance of the US Postal Service from 2013 and it reads just as relevant today.

The Esquire article mentions Benjamin Franklin and his role as the Postmaster General when referring to the historic role the USPS played in uniting the colonies. This reminded me of the Walter Isaascson biography on Franklin, which included many details regarding his time from the junior ranks of the Philadelphia postmaster until he was dismissed for siding too heavily with the colonies in 1774. Of course, Franklin went on to help lead the country's independence - after he helped sow the seeds by connecting the colonies via the postal service.

More recently, on Tuesday, April 14th the NYTimes published an editorial by the board on the essentialism of the USPS. The article cites many of the saw legislative issues presented in the 2013 article, including Congressional requirements for prepaying healthcare benefits at $5.5 billion annually.

In an age when communicating digitally requires each character be exactly correct (i.e. email addresses, phone numbers, twitter handles, etc) it seemes magical that for the price of a stamp (can you name it without looking it up?), you can handwrite an address on an envelope, get it picked up from your home, sorted, send across the city/state/country, and delivered to another home address. The cost of doing the same thing with a private service is at least $12 - including to the address across the street.

Delivery is more vital than ever and provides a way of connecting otherwise physically disconnected people. Losing the USPS would be a huge detriment to the country. Support the USPS - and send someone a letter today. It's still like magic.

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