Right now the solution in the public eye is 5-day delivery. The Postal Regulatory Commission has begun its review and Congress will soon follow with its own. Each review appears to be completed independently of any other changes in the business model or regulatory framework that would be necessary to create a viable Postal Service.
Furthermore, both the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congressional processes face the risk of becoming the equivalent of a city council budget hearing that has to determine how many hours fewer hours per week libraries or recreation centers will be open when budgets have to be cut. When this occurs, patrons just have to learn to do with less service. The proposal of Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, to eliminate service on 12 days illustrates this "how much do we have to cut to balance the budget" mentality that legislative processes are designed to handle.
In his comments, Congressman Chaffetz provided a framework that makes sense. "You have got to serve your customers, or somebody else will come in and do it for you." This framework requires Congress to ask very different questions than they would as part of a budget process and it particular it forces them to look at the question of how many days the Postal Service delivers as part of a larger package of changes in the business model and regulatory framework.
Right now Congressman Chaffetz and his colleagues in Congress should be starting hearings to ask these questions:
- Who are the Postal Service's customers today and who will they be in 2020 and beyond?
- What do customers need now and what will they need in 2020?
- How is the Postal Service's ability to meet customer needs affected by the current business model and regulatory framework?
- How do the Postal Service's business model and regulatory framework affect the competitiveness of its services with digital, mobile and other hard copy delivery alternatives?
- What is the macro-economic impact of the Postal Service's current business model and regulatory framework and how do they affect the economic recovery?