What's Happening to the Post Office?

Andy Rooney Has Gotten Wind of Potential Changes to the Postal Service and He's Not a Fan

This segment was first broadcast Oct. 4, 2009.

I got an e-mail from a friend I never heard of the other day suggesting I do a story about the trouble that our U.S. Postal Service is in - that's what the post office calls itself, the U.S. Postal Service. I don't take suggestions gracefully, but they're thinking about closing post offices to save money and I think it's crazy.

According to them, there are 37,000 post offices in the United States and if they closed 10 percent of them they could save $3 billion a year. They're also talking about reducing mail delivery from six to five days a week and naturally they thought about raising the price of stamps again, too. Most of us don't like any of these solutions to the post office's problem.

The best mail is the letter from a friend or a relative. It's sad to say that very little of what most of us get these days is that kind of mail.

The postal service is a government agency but it's supposed to operate like a business. Most people don't realize that - I know I didn't realize it - but the post office doesn't get tax money. It has to pay for itself.

In 1900, there were 77,000 post offices around the country. Today with four times as many people, there are only 37,000 post offices - 40,000 fewer post offices for 230 million more Americans. No wonder it wasn't in the mail. We have a lot of things that need cutting, but post offices are not among them.

There's something special about a letter. We all like to get one. An e-mail, on the other hand, has all the charm of a freight train. When I was growing up we all knew when the mailman was coming and we waited for him even though we hardly ever got a letter.

People actually wrote letters to each other though, which they don't do as much anymore. They e-mail each other.

I would rather have a mailman or woman deliver junk mail to me, than to get an e-mail.

Written by Andy Rooney