Arrie Solomon '21
Typically when I think about the mail, my mind is flooded by unnecessary Amazon Prime orders and spam from various colleges. However, the mail system does a lot more than deliver the ghosts of past retail therapy sessions and an increasing fear of the future beyond high school. The mail system delivers prescriptions, bills, voting ballots, and other vital parcels that Americans rely on. The importance of our mail system and how it affects our lives begs the question: Who should be in charge of making sure our mail is delivered safely and on time?
There are two serious options: privatizing the mail or allowing the government to regulate it, and currently, our country operates under both systems. Corporations like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS all make billions of dollars a year; they are more desirable shipping options for larger businesses. There is also the USPS, which has been underfunded by the government for years. Their sales have decreased to the extent that access to their services is becoming sparse. The USPS is usually responsible for the aforementioned American essentials; it is also more favorable to small businesses because the USPS charges less to ship parcels than a private corporation. If the USPS was adequately funded and everyone had access to it, a government-regulated mail system for all would not be such a bad idea. The prices of services like shipping would stay low. Small and large businesses alike could mail parcels for less and reallocate excess savings. Also, the people that rely on the mail system for essentials would always be guaranteed quality and timely mail services.
However, one could argue that since the government is corrupt, the mail system would be safer in the hands of private corporations. Private mail corporations dominate the parcel delivery industry. They all provide quality mail services and are favored by a lot of Americans, but if the mail system were fully privatized then corporations might abuse the significance of mail to increase revenue. Throughout history, we have witnessed the corruption of privatization in healthcare, private prisons, and more. For example, healthcare providers take advantage of the fact that millions of people rely on certain medicines, doctor’s appointments, etc. to stay alive. These corporations charge an unnecessarily large amount of money for these life-saving necessities to make more money, knowing the consumer will try to pay whatever price to survive. That manipulative behavior is easily transferable to the mail system. People currently rely on USPS for essentials, like their healthcare. If the mail was to be privatized, pharmaceutical companies would start paying more to ship their parcels, raising the price of healthcare essentials even more for the consumer, further exacerbating the pre-existing corruption of privatized essentials.
Nonetheless, the government is no less corrupt than a private corporation. To understand who should be in charge of our mail systems, we first have to investigate who currently holds the responsibility. Currently, a man named Louis DeJoy, the acting “CEO” of the USPS, is the Postmaster-General. DeJoy has personally donated to Trump’s wallet on many occasions, and as we know, any Trump donor has a special seat at the table of covert government corruption. The true nature of this crisis is revealed at this table. While you’d think that the government doing their constitutional duty would not be worrisome, we forget that we live in America. Neither the government nor private corporations do their jobs with the consumer’s best interest dictating their actions; both entities are corrupt in their own way. In my limited words on the subject, I can only offer my thoughts on the lack of integrity in our current capitalist society. I cannot provide a solution to this conundrum of who should be in charge of the mail. Suppose healthcare was accessible to everyone and voter suppression didn’t come in the form of stringent and confusing voting laws, especially during a pandemic. In that case, I would say the government should be in control of the mail. But alas, we live in corrupt times, regardless of who we demand to be in charge.
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