You’ve probably heard that in the age of e-mail, FedEx and UPS the U.S. Postal Service has been losing money. A lot, and for a long time now. According to the Washington Post, on Thursday, Senator Tom Carper (Democrat-DE) introduced legislation to save the post office, the Postal Operations Sustainment and Transformation (POST) Act of 2010. The bill includes a laundry list of changes designed to help stop the fiscal bleeding and turn things around. It would eliminate Saturday deliveries, for example, and as Postmaster General John E. Potter explains it, “it alleviates our retiree health benefit burden while bringing resolution to the pension overpayment dilemma we’ve faced.” I don’t know what that means, but it’s not important for my purposes.
The most important part of the POST Act is that it would also “revise current prohibitions against USPS shipping wine and beer.” Opening up the post office to shipping beer seems like a great idea to me, especially given the problems with UPS and FedEx in that regard. The Postmaster General is in favor of the bill, as many of the items contained in it are apparently ideas that have been suggested before. Curiously, William Burrus, president of the American Postal Workers Union, is against allowing beer and wine shipments, but I can’t really understand why. He just wonders aloud if “allowing the Postal Service to ship beer and wine and closing small post offices while the organization is losing billions really the answer?” To which I can only answer yes, why not? What can it hurt, and it would most certainly give the post office a competitive advantage. Why would he be against trying anything reasonable? The Postmaster General stated the bill seeks “to more closely align our costs and the needs of our customers.” Well speaking as one of their customers, I need to get beer so it would make my life simpler if beer could be legally and reliably shipped through the USPS. I’m certainly willing to give up Saturday deliveries in exchange for the potential to have my mailman bring beer the other five days of the work week.