Journalism

The one essential service

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On the eve of World Post Day, it’s interesting to note that during this government shutdown debacle there has been no discussion about shutting down the U.S. Postal Service: it’s just assumed that it will continue to run as usual. This appears to be so taken for granted that there are very few news articles even answering the question about whether mail delivery will continue, despite the fact that this is the federal service with which people have most frequent contact. In part this is because USPS runs almost entirely on customer fees, so it can continue to operate for the foreseeable future; but it’s also because the post, despite our shift toward e-mail in recent years, is such a fundamental fact of life that we can barely imagine it shutting down. Maybe if mail delivery were in the same danger as the rest of the government, this whole mess would be resolved a lot sooner.

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