What happened to the US Post Office debate?

This is a rather fancy post office.

There was a time when the demise of the US Postal system was all but certain. Typically criticized for being poorly run and expensive, it was thought that private competitors like UPS and FedEx would take over transporting packages, and electronic means would replace printed letters. Surely there has been a reduction in the number of personal letters (which is truly a shame) but advertisers still choose the postal service as a way to get into consumers’ households.

When I’ve gone into our local branch to purchase stamps or mail a package there are more frequently than not a few people in line. Some are clearly running a business from home and have a stack of packages needing attention. I suppose people stop in for items needing to be tracked. And then there are passport services too. I personally like the custom stamps. (Perhaps this is a hangover from stamp collecting as a child.)

Back when there was talk of starting to close down some of the branch locations, contention flared at the suggestion that their post office would be the one to close. Buildings of all shapes, sizes and styles dot the entire US. In a way, the structures reflect the character of the neighborhood. The only compromise that was reached, that I can think of nearby, was a reduction in the overall space that zipcode’s branch occupied in the building. A religious community took over the back of that structure. They administered Covid shots during the pandemic.

As I’ve proposed here at home-economic, some goods are more naturally considered public and some private. Postal delivery service appears to fall in the first category. Whether people feel the public should have access to reliable and secure delivery of letters and parcels, or- they are nostalgic for the discovery of a crisp white envelope in their post box, for the time being, the US Postal Service is still a going concern.