The United States Postal Service is an essential public service that almost every American citizen utilizes. 48% of the world's mail is handled by the Postal Service. However, they're running out of money. Back in April, the USPS announced they were running out of money and requested $75 billion in emergency funds. Later on, $25 billion of the coronavirus stimulus package was designated to assist the USPS. The Trump administration blocked that federal assistance and instead offered $10 billion in loans in exchange for cost-cutting reforms.
Due to the conditions of these reforms, that money still remains unused. As stated byThe Washington Post, Trump even went as far as to threaten to veto the entire stimulus package if any of the funds aided the USPS.
Why are they running out of money?
Due to a combination of insufficient funding and the COVID-19 pandemic, they are low on funding. According to the New York Times, mail volume has decreased by almost a third since the pandemic began. This decline in volume has resulted in the loss of money coming in. Since they are not a private company, they cannot file for bankruptcy and they are forced to rely on public support. I was surprised to learn that the Postal Service gets no tax dollars and solely relies on their personal sales of postage, products, and services for funding.
How does this affect me?
The USPS processes and delivers 472.1 million mail pieces of mail each day...the loss of them would be detrimental.
Whether you buy from or own a small business, the loss of the USPS will affect you. The USPS provides a cost-effective and convenient way for small businesses to ship products out to their customers. Small businesses cannot afford to utilize private shipping companies due to their insane prices. One Twitter user compared USPS' prices to those of private shipping companies and the prices were significantly different. A domestic package that would cost $3.25 to ship through USPS would be $8.12 for the same services through UPS. Meanwhile, an international package that would cost $13.54 to ship ranges from $57.00-60.00 to ship through DHL or UPS. These businesses will be forced to raise their shipping prices, which will deter customers from buying their products.
USPS employees themselves are warning that new cost-cutting procedures put in place by the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, could delay the delivery of mail-in ballots. These new cost-cutting procedures include eliminating overtime, making carriers leave behind late-arriving mail to deliver it the next day, and telling them to leave behind mail at distribution centers if it delayed their routes. DeJoy has made it known that he would like to privatize the United States Postal Service. It is believed that the Trump administration is not supporting the aid of the United States Postal Service so that mail-in ballots would not be counted. The President himself tweeted:
There has been no evidence of voter fraud correlating with mail-in ballots. Five states have been reported to be voting entirely by mail this upcoming election: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, in an attempt to protect their residents from the virus. The slowing down of mail delivery could threaten the loss of millions of citizens' votes and voices. Make sure your vote is counted and mail your ballot 14-days before the deadline to make sure it arrives by the deadline.
Loss of jobs
The USPS employs more than 7.3 million people, 40% of whom are minorities. With upcoming cost-cutting solutions such as closing post offices across the nation, a lot of people will lose their jobs. Not only will minority groups be greatly affected, but also military veterans. More than 97,000 veterans make up the USPS staff and are one of the largest employers of veterans.
How to Help
1) Contact your local representatives
This is the most direct and effective way you can help support the USPS. Push your local representatives to support the Heroes Act, which will provide $25 billion to aid the USPS. To contact them go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr6800 and click on "Call or Write Congress." From there you can enter your address and the page will show you your local senators and you can follow the prompt on the website for how to call or email them. However, it is recommended to call due to emails and petitions being ignored.
2) Sign Petitions
The easiest way to access the petition is by texting "USPS" to 50409. Resistbot will then prompt you by asking questions to help sign and send the petition for you. You can also sign petitions with the White House, Change.org, and Action Network.
3) Buy their Products
The USPS sells items ranging from stamps to cute crop tops. Most importantly, stamps are the best item to buy since they depend on those sales the most. If you've been looking for a new hobby during quarantine, stamp collecting is a great option! On the USPS website, there are a variety of different stamp designs you can choose from. Find excuses to mail your friends and family using your new stamps. It would be a great surprise for them while helping USPS stamp sales! According to one Twitter user, "If just half of the adults in the US bought a sheet of 20 stamps it would raise about $1.5 Billion." Since they do not benefit from US tax dollars, they depend a lot on the sales of their products. However, sales are only a short-term solution and ultimately government support would be the best way to save USPS.