First-class mail is the USPS’s most profitable product. Thus, the large – and permanent – drop in first-class mail volume has the USPS facing red ink as far as the eye can see. The U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general recently reported its findings from focus group discussions held with high-volume first-class mailers and mail service providers. The feedback is quite telling:

  • Both mailers and customers are turning to electronic alternatives for the obvious reason that it’s cheaper and more efficient than physical mail. The participants estimated that the per-piece cost of sending transactional mail (e.g., billing statements, invoices, etc) is 45 to 50 cents whereas it costs between “pennies” and 13 cents to send mail electronically. The report notes that “the most senior levels of corporate management have already made decisions to move to electronic means as quickly as possible.”
  • The uncertainty caused by congressional dithering over, and mismanagement of, the USPS has created an incentive for mailers to seek alternatives. Participants noted that the USPS “struggles to respond to business setbacks or market changes in a timely manner the way the private corporations can, in part because of legal, regulatory, and congressional constraints.” The constraints include the USPS not being “able to optimize its retail network, close plants, reduce delivery days, or control pricing, like other businesses.”
  • According to the report, “Postal Inspection Service investigations and compliance have left a ‘bad taste’ in the mouths of a large segment of high-volume mailers.” Call me crazy, but when you’re already losing customers, it’s probably not a good idea to irritate the ones that you have left.
  • On the future of first-class mail, the message is pretty clear: “While the advent of 100 percent electronic communication is not imminent, all focus group participants envisioned a point in the future when the continued use of paper communications, and thus mail, will cease to make economic sense.”

Unfortunately, Congress’s view of the future doesn’t extend beyond the next election. See, for example, the postal “reform” bill recently passed in the Senate that I discussed on Tuesday.

Postal Reform: A Telling Survey is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.