LETTER: USPS Shouldn't Use Across-the-Board Increases to Pay for New Business Ventures

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It would seem that the primary defense offered by Deborah Willhite, vice president of government affairs at the U.S. Postal Service, in her letter to Congress was that "the postal service ... has not received federal tax subsidies ... in nearly 20 years" ("Postal Service Defends E-Commerce Activities," Nov. 27, www.dmnews.com/articles/2000-11-20/11747.html). This was to dispel the criticism that there was unfair competition with private firms concerned with the eBillPay program currently being activated by the postal service.

I would like to point out that private firms cannot rely on raising the price of postage across the board to finance their entry into a new business venture, something the USPS can do anytime they point to a projected loss (real or unreal).

One would have to be somewhat dimwitted to accept the fact that millions were spent by the USPS to try several "new business" ventures without "unfairly" using postage to foot the bill. They have their own "tax" mechanism and really don't need to rely on "federal tax subsidies" to fund their efforts to compete with private business.

I feel the fault really lies with Congress. Instead of allowing the USPS to explore new ventures and then cut them off at the pass when someone complains too loudly, why not frame exactly what the USPS should do and then hold them to it? A new income stream associated with any business that competes with private enterprise is no assurance that the USPS will solve its ills. If they cannot reduce their labor-related costs (80 percent of all postal costs) after billions of dollars to automate their legitimate production of mail delivery, what faith are we to have that they can be more cost-effective with any new business?

It simply looks like one more accounting boondoggle to cover their problems by distributing costs to a new "loss center." It would be nice to see Congress act in a responsible manner by lending a little focus to this very important part of our nation's infrastructure.

• A.F. Feldbush


A&M Direct Mail Service Inc.

San Dimas, CA

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