The U.S. Postal Service Fights To Survive Under Stifling Government Regulations

The USPS tried to cut Saturday mail delivery in an attempt to save some money. It didn't work.

Saturday mail delivery was supposed to disappear this August—a cost-cutting measure by the U.S. Postal Service—but the Government Accountability Office said that the change would be illegal. The next time you're frustrated by regulations, just be thankful you're not the Post Office, which has long been foiled by its maker.

1775

Benjamin Franklin, the first postmaster general, is given authority to hire as many postmasters as necessary, sowing the seeds for decades of wasteful patronage appointments.

1845

Private competitors deliver mail faster and cheaper. Congress isn't yet made in Ron Paul's mold: It tightens the Post Office's monopoly, putting private services out of business.

1851

Delivery in the rural South is expensive and difficult, but the government slashes postage rates and lets the Treasury cover the costs.

1970

The USPS has become heavily subsidized and poorly managed. The fix: Congress makes it a self-financed governmental subsidiary. Good luck, guys!

1976

The USPS aims to save $100 million by closing 400 rural post offices. Outraged lawmakers react by hindering its ability to close offices, even if service won't be affected.

2011

Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, introduces a bill to save the USPS about $4 billion annually, but it means cutting Saturday delivery. The bill dies in committee.

[[i]Illustrations by David Cowles, Manila Envelope: Marilyn Volan via Shutterstock[/i]]

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