The nation's postal service has been the messenger of America for over 200 years. But it doesn't write the messages, it just delivers them. Over the years the service has had to adjust to changing technologies. I suppose somebody in Washington had to send lay-off notices to all those pony express riders when it was safe to ship by stage coach and then by train. I don't remember any big backlash by the union and demand the pony riders be retained even though they were no longer needed. I suppose some of them went off to fight Indians or maybe started a ranch in Wyoming. As in all Western movies the future merely consisted of riding off into the sunset.
The same went on over the years as the walking letter carrier gave way to the mail truck and telegrams and telephones took away some of the volume. The communication industry is in constant change as we now tweet and twitter our way with mobile phones, hand held computers and real time information and transactions. I don't remember the last time I wrote a letter to anyone that wasn't E-Mail or paid a bill with a paper check. Just about all of mine are through automatic withdrawals.
Accordingly, the volume of the nation's mail has fallen off sharply and billions of the precious tax dollars are lost in the effort to keep up with falling demand. What a paradox, as who keep up with falling demand? Most businesses would have made wholesale changes years ago with drastic cuts in expenses or just by filing bankruptcy. But the Post Office can't do that but they can and do run to Congress every time some administrator wants to make changes. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/06/the-post...
IMHO, the postal service is a great historical institution of the American way of life. We remember Cliff Claven of Cheers or Newman of Seinfeld with affection. I recall the beautiful post office building in my home town which is typical of most cities in America. Often the post office building was the centerpiece of local architecture. The many such buildings still erect should probably be turned into museums, while the current needs can be met by rented warehouse space or a shop at the local strip mall.
From a personal side, I want to thank the post office as it provided both of my sons with summer employment, as our neighbor, who was the post master, hired them. One son spent two years after graduation as a carrier which paid better than any offer he got as a college graduate. There are many who made careers out of delivering the nations mail.
But the time has come to shoot the messenger. We need to be kind and do it gradually to adjust the continuous dropping demands of the function. They are studies out there on how to do the job. The main hindrances seems to be unions pleading to the public and Congress listening to them and/or constituents, giving the dying institution additional life. Meanwhile, as a taxpayer, I want to be generous and not see people suffer but I had to earn my living working in private industry where efficiency meant my job. I expect no less of the government mail delivery function.