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The Post Office Can Deliver Mail, Maybe

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has put out another of its regular bulletins about how fast it delivers the mail. Between October 1 and October 10, the average time to deliver a letter or package was 2.6 days. Averages are tricky and not a good indication of performance. Median numbers are better. However, without question, USPS is delivering things over many days, and perhaps a week or more. That is poor performance for an organization that has a post office in almost every town in America. It also begs the question why USPS needs to be so large.

USPS takes perverse pride in the fact that it has over 630,000 employees, which makes it one of the largest employers in the country. That is about the size of the world’s largest car company, Volkswagen. USPS also brags that it has 34,000 locations. That is a testament to how oversized the agency is.

The amount USPS wastes, particularly because of its modest delivery times, is extraordinary. So are many of its practices. For example, no one needs to have mail delivered six days a week. Towns with a few thousand residents do not need a local post office. Perhaps they did at the start of the past century.


There are a number of reasons USPS does not need to exist in its current form. In the 1980s, there was no email. Now, nearly every American has an email address, which they also can use to send large attachments. FedEx and UPS are viable alternatives for fast package delivery.

What can the government do to USPS? It can handle it like any other overstaffed business. Cut its size to fit the businesses it has to be in.

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