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What Does the Future Hold for the United States Postal Service?

Image via Flickr by David Guo’s Master

Whether you’re a business owner who relies on the United States Postal Service to send products to your customers, or you’re just a regular person who needs to pay her utilities bill, the future of the USPS matters to you. And no matter where you stand on USPS funding, it’s clear that something needs to change so the government delivery system can keep functioning.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is in charge of making that happen.

Originally, Issa took a hard line that would treat the USPS more like a business than a branch of the government. His original plan, released in 2011, would have made so many cuts to services and staffs that it could have forecasted the beginning of the end for public mail.

Now, Issa has taken a softer, more moderate approach in his most recent reform bill.

First, the bill no longer requires USPS to shut down unprofitable branches. The Postmaster General already plans to close about 200 processing centers around the country, so things will shrink some. Still, it seems better for the Postmaster General to make this decision rather than a board of people that only care about the numbers.

Try sending a package to a small town in the middle of nowhere. It quickly becomes obvious why profitability isn’t the only concern for businesses and individuals.

Second, the new bill doesn’t require USPS to pay $8.5 billion upfront to cover health benefits for employees and retirees. Instead, it will require the organization to pay the actual cost of insuring those people. It’s estimated that this will lower the bill from $8.5 billion to less than $5 billion.

While Issa’s latest bill still plans to eliminate Saturday letter delivery, businesses can rest assured that package deliver will remain intact. That’s a sigh of relief for everyone, especially struggling businesses that want to maintain good reputations for customer services.

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