BY KEVIN YODER
Whether it brings something as special as a handwritten card or something as necessary as medication, the U.S. Postal Service is the only institution capable of going the last mile to reach, serve, and tangibly link every American—but now it needs our help.
In the shadow of COVID-19, demand for mail and appreciation for it surged. But then along came 2021, and our mail got slower, less reliable, and more expensive.
During my four terms in Congress, I advocated for a strong U.S. Postal Service. That’s because reliable mail is critical for our country. Nearly everywhere I go now, however, I hear people talking about their mail—even rent, bills, and prescription medications—being late and pricier to send.
And as we head into the Christmas holiday, people across the country are legitimately wondering if presents will get to their destinations on time. That’s because in October, the up-to-three-day service standard for First-Class Mail rose to five days, with consumers across the country reporting even higher delivery waits.
Why? The U.S. Postal Service has a 10-year plan in place not only to slow the mail but also to make it more expensive.
In fact, the cost of first-class mail and “forever stamps” are increasing at an unprecedented rate for everyone. But even more concerning, charities and other nonprofits, magazines, community newspapers, and catalogs are facing even bigger postage hikes which could even drive them out of business.
So, what can we do about it? Well, the Postal Service does have legitimate reasons to save money, but putting the squeeze on mail isn’t the right way to do it—especially if you consider that business-related mail generates 90 percent of Postal Service revenue.
One answer lies in passing bipartisan federal legislation called The Postal Service Reform Act. It would guarantee six-day mail delivery while freeing the Postal Service from a 2006 law requiring it to set aside funds for retiree health benefits 75 years in advance—a huge liability that has added more than $40 billion in losses to the Postal Service’s balance sheet
The Postal Service Reform Act not only has bipartisan support, but it has also been approved by U.S. Postal Service leadership and labor unions. The legislation presents a rare opportunity for Congress to easily make a positive difference in the lives of all Americans—every voter, every family, and every business in the nation.
Another way to fix the Postal Service is to keep massive rate increases from happening every few months. Higher postage drives more mail from the system, especially when combined with service delays and consumer complaints.
Some might claim that private couriers like FedEx and UPS could replace the U.S. Postal Service, but that’s not true. The Postal Service is obligated to serve every American, no matter how remote. Now it’s our job to fix it—and make sure it can keep delivering for all of us.
Kevin Yoder is a former Republican Congressman from Kansas who spent four terms serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is executive director of “Keep US Posted”—a campaign aimed at preserving the U.S. Postal Service. For more information, visit www.KeepUSPosted.org.