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Sen. James Lankford: The 2020 Election won't destroy the Post Office

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the Post Office
Postal Board of Governors
The Post Office
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the Board of Governors
The Board of Governors
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The Postmaster General

Louis DeJoy
Postmaster General


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In the 90s, email quickly started taking the place of first-class mail.In 2010 the post office handled over 78 billion pieces of first-class mail, but in 2019 that number fell to just under 55 billion pieces.Fewer letters means fewer stamps, which means less revenue for USPS from its primary revenue source.The USPS still sees itself as a letter-carrier service, even though its revenue stream for packages is rising, and more needs to be done to clear out old sorting machines and restructure service around packages.In 2006 Congress added to the problem with a misguided requirement for USPS to pre-fund pensions for its employees for three-quarters of a century, which set the USPS on an even more unsustainable financial path.Seeing consistent budget and operations issues over the past 15 to 20 years, Congress has discussed—but not actually passed—real USPS reform to protect our vital mail service.In other words, there are real problems at USPS, but they were not caused by COVID-19 and are not a clandestine plot by President Trump to steal the election.At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USPS predicted it would lose over $22 billion in 18 months but that proved to not only be false but enormously so.Yes, first-class mail delivery is down, but package delivery is up. However, USPS quickly pointed out that the locks have been a security measure in place since 2016 and that the mailboxes were still operational using a mail slot on the other side.That’s just one of many false social media stories that have widely circulated and been promoted to fan this fake news into a flame.Speaker Pelosi even encouraged her members to hold press conferences around post offices to advance the false narrative, and many dutifully complied to spread panic about home medicine delivery, critical mail, and election ballots.Once again, a lie gets around the world seven times before the truth gets its boots on.We should continue to encourage voters to get their ballots in early and push the USPS to enact operational measures consistent with other spikes in first-class mail volume.The Postmaster General has already wisely agreed to suspend any previously agreed changes or operational reforms to avoid even the appearance of interfering in the election.But after the 2020 election, ongoing Postal Service reforms should continue, and we should continue looking for ways to keep our vital public mail service solvent.Politically engaged postal workers are free to share their presidential preferences off duty, but they should not use their position to influence the election.

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