United States Postal Service: More than a letter delivered
The U.S. Postal Service has been a huge focus of national attention lately. Whether or not the USPS will receive proper funding to keep it alive as we know it is a big if, and the USPS does more than most people know.
The United States Postal Service began in 1775, with none other than Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. In 1860, the USPS started the Pony Express to deliver important packages and letters as quickly as it could.
The USPS does not let mail trail to and fro, and nor does mail go unchecked. The USPS’s website states, “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement, crime prevention, and security arm of the U.S. Postal Service. Founded by Benjamin Franklin and established on Aug. 7, 1775, the Inspection Service is one of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies.”
The United States mail service is not taken lightly, and is not a joke or something to be played with.
The Postal Service is more involved in the nation than just mail from place to place. The Postal Inspection Service, part of the USPS, plays a sizable role in U.S. criminal justice.
The “security” section on facts.usps.com states, “Forensic scientists and specialists examined 125,000 physical evidence items at the Postal Inspection Service’s state-of-the-art National Forensic Laboratory, leading to 999 suspects identified.”
The USPS is behind some serious arrests and drug busts, too.
“The Postal Inspection Service seized 2,252 assets worth $143 million, with 63% of seizures from illegal narcotics and related proceeds. It made 2,562 arrests for illegal-narcotics related cases,” they said.
In 2019 alone, Postal inspectors responded to and investigated 3,289 suspicious mail incidents and “recovered misappropriated or stolen mail transport equipment worth $1,700,000.”
When the USPS says “We protect you and your mail,” they mean it.
“In 2019, Postal Inspectors reported 5,759 arrests and 4,995 convictions related to postal crimes, primarily those involving mail theft, mail fraud, and prohibited mailings,” according to their website.
U.S. mail is protected by over 200 federal laws and enforced by the Postal Inspection Service.
The Postal Service is also one of the country’s largest employers for U.S. veterans, with over 97,000 hard working vets. The USPS partners with AARP for Operation Protect Veterans, which raises awareness about scams that are targeted toward military veterans. The USPS also is behind the Military Postal Service, which provides service in 67 countries.
Including those vets, the USPS employs 7.3 million Americans.
Every two weeks, the Postal Service pays $2 billion in salaries and benefits.
There’s more than just a few letters going around. The USPS processes and delivers 48% of the world’s mail, not just the U.S.’s.
FedEx and UPS may be competitors to the U.S. Mail, but both companies pay the USPS to “deliver hundreds of millions of their ground packages,” and both pay the USPS for air transportation.
It only costs the average American $.55 to send a letter from where they are to anywhere in the country, and this includes birthday and Christmas cards.
“The Postal Service is the only organization in the country that has the resources, network infrastructure and logistical capability to regularly deliver to every residential and business address in the nation,” the USPS said.
This includes rural dirt roads far from the city.
The USPS is self-sustaining through the services it offers.
“The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operation,” the USPS said.
The USPS is a government “essential public service” and is in the U.S. Constitution.
The Postal Service provides a vital public service that is a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The statute that created the Postal Service begins with the following sentence: “The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by an Act of Congress, and supported by the people.” 39 U.S.C. §101(a).”
The Postal Service is not a business, but a government service guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
While not being a business, the USPS does what it can to produce its own revenue so as not to feed off our tax dollars.
In 2019, The Postal Service received $291.8 million in revenue from just 2,733 postal self-service kiosks. The USPS also handles the country’s passport applications, 6.6 million in 2019. Passport applications account produce $298 million in revenue.
If the USPS was in the private sector, it would have made 44th in the 2019 Fortune 500, and 136th in the Global 500.
The USPS does a lot more than deliver a few letters.