CAN BEER AND WINE SAVE THE US POSTAL SERVICE?
For several years the US Postal Service has been facing an ever-growing financial crisis. So dire is it that there has been talk of eliminating Saturday delivery service. US senators think the agency can solve some of its problems by turning to alcohol. In an effort to boost revenue, lawmakers recently introduced a bipartisan reform plan that would, among other things, allow postal workers to deliver wine and beer. The proposal on alcoholic beverages would allow the Postal Service to do what FedEx and UPS already do now – handle packages sent by licensed wine and beer manufacturers in accordance with state laws. Consumers would not be able to mail alcohol to one another. According to the senators’ plan, the Postal Service would first have to issue new regulations to ensure beer and wine are sent only to recipients who are at least 21-years-old and have a valid ID. The plan would also keep six-day mail delivery for at least two more years. It would also encourage the Postal Service to negotiate a new health care system with union employees, seek cuts in post office staffing and refund postal overpayments of nearly $7 million to the federal retirement system. The Postal Service lost $8 billion last year – mail volume is down 22 percent since 2OO7 – largely because of the combination of people switching to the internet to communicate and pay bills. Additionally, the recession has discouraged advertising mail. The Postal Service is at the center of a $1.1 trillion mailing industry that employs 8.7 million people in direct mail, printing, paper-making, catalog sales, fundraising, and other businesses.