StampCan you imagine a world without the post office? Not only is the post office the second largest provider of American jobs (just behind Wal-Mart), but it is also a huge part of our history. The currently employed work force is an estimated 574,000 workers and 218,684 vehicles.

The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. In recent years the USPS has suffered revenue issues with the decline of physical mail volume and the huge increase of digital email delivery.  This year the U.S. Postal Service is projected to lose another $11 billion. How long can the USPS continue to suffer these types of revenue losses?

What has caused the decline of the USPS? As mentioned earlier the large drop in physical mail and the great efficiency of information delivery via the Internet. The second issue is similar to the GM collapse a few years ago. The Postal Service’s generous retirement benefits and ample pension funds have created a huge gap in the services’ income versus revenue.

Can the problem be fixed? If the post office was a private company such as GM the solution would be simple but painful. The first step would be to file bankruptcy, leavings thousands of workers who had planned on a great retirement looking for new jobs and sources of income. It would also leave once enthusiastic investors holding worthless stock and lost hard earned money. Next, they would do massive layoffs and organizational restructuring. They would eliminate many jobs and increase the work load of existing employees. Will the USPS do something similar to this?

Unfortunately, I think something similar to this is inevitable. There is just no way to continue to pay the generous retirement benefits to already retired employees even if new retirement plans are implemented. For any business to survive in this tough economy they must adapt to the ever changing age of technology. I don’t see how the USPS can adapt to complete with email, social media outlets and online bill pay. So those “forever” stamps we are currently buying may need to be renamed. I think the end of the USPS is near. What’s your opinion Martin County?