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USPS: A Vital Lifeline in America

This letter was submitted to the Citrus County Chronicle on August 19, 2020 and was ghost written for the CItrus County Democratic Executive Committee

The authors of the United States Constitution recognized even in the beginning days of our great nation the importance of the United States Postal Service. The USPS is one of very few institutions enshrined in the document that is at the core of our Democratic Republic. Over the past 244 years, this institution has grown to serve millions of Americans, including our brave men and women in uniform serving overseas, and the often unsung heroes of our diplomatic corps serving in posts all over the world.

The installation of a postmaster general with alleged financial interests in competing logistics companies and a board of governors member who holds board seats at other logistics companies would be troublesome at the best of times, and these are far from the best of times. In the midst of a global pandemic, where for many Americans the simple act of going to a store or pharmacy could result in sickness or death, the administration should be working to bolster the USPS rather than dismantling it. USPS whistleblowers have been reporting to multiple news outlets the directives they’ve received to delay the mail citing the removal of bar code sorting machines, mandates disallowing overtime, and directives to slow down the mail. An attempt to remove the iconic blue postal boxes has only been thwarted by Congressmen from both sides of the aisle in Montana intervening.

While the internet has been revolutionary in changing how the world does business, the USPS remains a necessary institution for millions of Americans who rely upon the service for their mail. Although the Social Security Administration has mostly converted to electronic payments, recipients with a mental in!rmity, those living in certain rural areas and the very elderly can still receive paper checks. The Veterans Administration reports on their website that over 330,000 veterans receive prescriptions daily via the mail. These medicines are vital to the health of our men and women who served our country. The advances in modern banking technology have reduced the number of checks people write, however ACI, an online payment clearinghouse reports that 44% of bills are still paid via the mail or in person, many of whom are senior citizens. Small businesses rely upon the USPS to ship packages, especially those involved with e-commerce.

Why is this of consequence? Systematic delays instituted in the USPS by this administration result in some of the most vulnerable Americans receiving their Social Security Payments late. Our Veterans are receiving their prescriptions late, potentially leading to worsening health conditions. Consumers may experience late fees and negative credit marks, as their payments take additional time to reach credit card companies, landlords and utilities. Shipping delays small business face may lead to a customer cancelling their order and turning to big business that may use a company like Fedex or UPS to handle their packages.

The efficient operation of the USPS should be beyond partisanship. As the pandemic continues to rage across our nation, the preservation of this institution is of vital consequence in ensuring millions of Americans receive packages and letters in a timely fashion.

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