After endless talk of deficit reduction as the solution for an ailing economy, the public political attention has finally turned towards the issue of job creation. As many know, President Obama is scheduled to address the nation on Thursday about the crisis of mass unemployment. What sort of federal response and initiatives will come out of this ultimately remains to be seen. However, there is another equally important story that emerged this week. Apparently, the post office is broke Yes, you read that right. There is a possibility that without assistance, the post office may have to reduce pensions for its employees, end Saturday delivery, close some post offices, and layoff 120,000 people. This would be unprecedented, and would do significant damage to a job market which saw no growth last month.
Lost in the conversation about job creation is the necessity for the federal government to do what it can to preserve jobs. Yes, many people can recount horror stories about how bad USPS service can be. No one likes going to the Post Office. But should that blind you to the overall consequences that a historic reduction of this agency would have on the overall economy? Here are a couple of things to think about: If you think shipping costs are bad now, then imagine what they will be like should this come to pass.
Second, layoffs in the post office would have widespread reverberations across all industries, private, public, and non-profit. It’s almost certain that job attrition would follow in the mailrooms of large companies, as well as small ones. An effect that perhaps has not been considered widely. If President Obama is serious about job creation and reducing unemployment figures, then he will push Congress to make the best decision it can to preserve the Post Office. Saving existing jobs needs to be a part of the conversation just as much as the creation of new ones.
-Marc W. Polite