So how could such a uniquely American institution like the United States Postal Service be reduced to a shadow of its former glory? The answer is simple: we citizens have dropped the ball, both with the Postal Service and with each other.
The vast majority of people no longer send greeting cards, write snail mail letters, write checks and mail bill payments, and so on. Instead we are left with a world in which my 13-year-old cousin has never even sent a handwritten letter to anyone in the duration of his short lifetime.
So what would it take to revive the Postal Service? The answer to this question is equally clear and simple: send more mail! Send holiday greeting cards, write an old friend, and mail your bill payments!
To show you how little effort it would really take to make a difference for the health and vitality of the United States Postal Service, let's do a little math:
- Start with the U.S. Postal Service's $15.9 billion in losses in 2012.
- Divide $15.9 billion by the population of the United States (308,745,538 people as of the 2010 census). This yields a Postal Service deficit of approximately $51.50 per person per year.
- Divide the individual per-person Postal Service deficit of $51.50 by the cost of a first class postage stamp (currently $0.46). This yields the number of first-class items of mail, per person, in addition to whatever mail you currently send, required for the Postal Service to break even and be sustainable. $51.50 divided by $0.46 equals approximately 112 pieces of first class mail per year.
There you have it, folks. If every single person in the United States took it upon him or herself to send 112 additional pieces of first class mail per year, the Postal Service would once again be in the black.
I myself send well over 112 pieces of first class mail per year, mainly with Christmas cards and amateur radio QSL cards. To up my own personal game with the Postal Service, I am once again going retro and mailing in my bills via Postal Service.
Try to find creative ways to use the Postal Service and add a touch of class to your interpersonal communication by sending a real letter, card, or postcard. Find a pen pal in a foreign land and send some international snail mail. I recently discovered the website postcrossing.com, which is a website allowing you to exchange random postcards with people from other countries all around the world. You might make a new friend for life and maybe even learn something in the process. If you are a parent, teach your children to write letters and thank-you notes the proper way. The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination!
In conclusion, 112 additional pieces of mail, per person, per year, would save the Post Office and make it a stronger American institution than it has been in recent memory. It's up to us, folks! Don't let a few shortsighted government officials take away our core American infrastructure by chipping away at its most essential institutions. And if you are looking for a reason to send a letter, shoot me an email requesting my address, and you can write to me about the many ways you disagree with my take on the Postal Service fiasco until the proverbial cows come home.