Postal service, bleeding money, could stop by June, some warn
Some lawmakers are warning that U.S. Postal Service operations could shut down as early as June.
Over the weekend, the The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump was prepared to reject the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill if it contained a bailout for the USPS. Instead, the Postal Service secured a $10 billion loan, which awaits Treasury Department approval.
This could cause problems for Americans living in rural areas. People like John Tsitrian, from the small town of Wall, South Dakota, known by locals as the “geographic center of nowhere.”
He receives his medication from the Veterans Administration hospital, through the USPS.
He fears that if postal services stop “it would take a 100 mile round trip. It would be quite expensive and time consuming.
Companies like Amazon rely heavily on USPS. In rural areas, it supports the so-called “last mile” delivery. Tsitrian said for many Wall residents, courier services like FedEx and UPS might be too expensive.
USPS has been struggling financially for decades, thanks to emails, e-bills, and e-invitations.
Now, the USPS said, the coronavirus pandemic has caused another sharp drop in activity. And Romina Boccia, a Heritage Foundation economist, said there was also the cost of keeping around 600,000 postal workers safe at the moment. “It’s about providing them with masks and gloves, cleaning their vehicles more, all to reduce the likelihood of spread.”
Lawmakers have raised concerns about the USPS shutting down as it loses money. Richard Geddes, professor at Cornell University doubts it will come to that, but he thinks the Postal Service needs to seize the moment to make major changes. “Listen, the Postal Service tax model was unsustainable before the virus. Now it’s just collapsed. So let’s bring it into the 21st century. Make it more commercial.
Back in South Dakota, Tsitrian says he thought about the family memories he has: letters sent to the town of Wall during World War I, the same time the town itself was born.
He fears that, like these letters, the post will become a relic of a bygone era.
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