Opinion

The United States Postal Service Must Be Saved

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has fallen into financial trouble, mostly due to President Trump, who calls the post office a joke and refuses to give it the much-needed money it requests. The United States Postal Service must be saved, because although some may believe it is obsolete in our modern world, it is still essential to our country. 

It is easy to think that everything that is sent by mail can be moved online, but that just isn’t the case. Data from Hart Research and North Star Opinion Research shows that 94 percent of voters say that the USPS and the services it provides is important to them. Many major companies, like Amazon and CVS, depend on the USPS to deliver their packages. Most smaller businesses do as well. If the USPS was unable to continue operations, hundreds of companies would have to find another service to ship their packages for them, which would be significantly more expensive. If we look at just FedEx, shipping an envelope can cost between one dollar and $6.95 more than the cost of shipping the same envelope through the USPS. Although it does depend on the type of shipping you use, the USPS is consistently cheaper. The USPS has reported that they process over 471 million pieces of mail each day, which demonstrates exactly how much people in this country rely on the postal service for everyday needs. Additionally, the USPS currently has 497 thousand employees, who would all lose their jobs if the USPS fell apart.

Being able to ship essential items like medicine is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. If the postal service has financial difficulties, vital medication may not arrive on time, or even arrive at all. Paper checks also are mailed, and although some members of younger generations may not understand the need for checks, a significant portion of our population still use them. My grandfather, who has an electric company, is only paid in checks or cash, and although services like PayPal exist, they are unfamiliar and difficult to use for many people from older generations. Finally, more people than ever are ordering items online to avoid visiting stores and being exposed to the coronavirus. This is leading to an increase in shipped products and a greater necessity for a functioning postal service. 

During COVID-19, the ability to vote by mail is also vital. Voting in person can be dangerous, especially if polling places are mishandled. It requires using shared machines and being in an enclosed space with many other people. The USPS is the only postal service that can be trusted to deliver ballots all across the country safely at this moment in time. Even in the future, when it is safe to vote at the polls, there are still many people who depend on voting by mail. They may not live close to a polling place, or they may work such long hours that they don’t have time to wait in poll booth lines. Voting by mail needs to be an option, especially considering the widespread voter suppression in our country. We need to be able to vote in every way possible.

Opponents of keeping the USPS running argue that if it were not an option, millions of trees would be saved because of how much less paper we would use. Companies would most likely switch mailing items like catalogs, bills, tax forms, and fundraising forms online instead of using another mailing service that they would have to pay more for. Another benefit of losing the USPS would be the cut in carbon output. There would be no more USPS trucks, planes, or trains, resulting in less fossil fuels being burned. These benefits, however, do not outweigh the major downsides that would occur if the USPS closed. 

The USPS has served as a cornerstone of our democracy since the first Postmaster General was appointed in 1775, and we should ensure that it can continue serving us until there is no one left who relies on it. If we lost the USPS, the responsibility they carry would be passed to private companies, leading to an expensive mess. We need the USPS to be able to vote safely, send paychecks, get medication, and a variety of other essential services. Please support your local post office. Buy stamps! As the government refuses to fund the postal service, they rely more and more on people paying for their services and products. Finally, thank your mail carrier. They are doing important work and deserve to be appreciated.

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