The United States Postal Service was founded in 1792 as The Post Office Department. One of the oldest parts of America’s government has been under siege recently. Years of losses have caused some politicians to question whether the Post Office is necessary, or whether it should be a private enterprise. Most recently, there has been concern that cost cuts may make it difficult for the USPS to deliver ballots and then get those ballots back to where they need to be counted before election day on November 3.
Decisions about the fate of the Post Office are not easy. The idea that it could be replaced quickly is unrealistic, at least as long as virtually every address in America is to get mail every day, except Sunday. Even organizations like FedEx and UPS have nowhere near the number of offices, employees, and trucks to move what is over 470 million pieces of mail per day.
The Post Office is also one of the nation’s largest employers. Any decision about its future involves hundreds of thousands of jobs at a time when the job situation across the nation is already shaken, and not in a rapid recovery. And, jobs in a number of other industries rely on the regular delivery of items as diverse as retailer catalogs to magazines to bills.
Despite the fact that every American has heard of the Post Office, and think they know what it does, there are some astounding facts very few people know, and myths about the organization which are not true.