When the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General, our nation had not yet been founded. The Bill of Rights would not be drafted for another 16 years. Yet nearly two and a half centuries later, the United States Postal Service’s ability to provide every person in America with a private, affordable, and reliable means to exchange information transformed it from a mail delivery service into a baseline for the exercise of American constitutional rights.
Recent news that the Postal Service’s financial condition is being used as a pretext for degrading its service – including allowing mail to go undelivered for days and scaling back the hours of or closing post offices – threatens to degrade that constitutional baseline as well.
In an early response to novel coronavirus, Congress allocated $10 billion to help shore up the Postal Service’s finances, but the Treasury Department has held up those funds without explanation. Instead, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is preparing to make dramatic service cuts, treating the USPS like a private business facing bankruptcy. This should draw universal condemnation.
The U.S. Postal Service was never a business. It is an essential government service guaranteed to the American people by the U.S. Constitution and it should be preserved accordingly.
To understand how the Postal Service became so central to America’s national identity and the actualization of our constitutional rights, one needs to examine its history as we do in this video.
At this critical time, Congress should do everything in its power to ensure the USPS remains vibrant and strong.