Let’s Give the Post Office a Drink — NOW

The postal service needs serious reform and alcohol needs to be a part of that reform.

The number and diversity of industries that have been hurt, devastated, impacted, etc by the social shutdown that has accompanied the arrival of the COVID-19 virus is hard to factor. They seem innumerable.

Now we learn that the U.S. Postal service is, as a result of COVID-19, in jeopardy of folding. According to Carolyn B. Maloney, the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform that oversees the U.S. Postal Service:

“it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House.”

Not only has the general business shutdown severely reduced mail-based advertising, but the continued fall-off in first-class mail has also diminished ed the revenue of the postal service. Try to imagine the kind of chaos that comes with the demise of the U.S. Postal Service.

All this demands that we ask, why hasn’t the U.S. Postal Service yet been given the legal ability to ship and deliver alcohol? Since the end of Prohibition, the U.S.P.S gas been banned from shipping wine, beer, and spirits. Yet every two years since 2013 a bill has been introduced in DC that would allow the U.S.P.S. to do just that. The latest bill was introduced by Representative Jackie Speier from San Francisco. And it sits there. Unattended and dead.

Now, with the demise staring the postal service in the eye, Congress ought to include in its next COVID-19 relief bill a provision that allows the U.S.P.S to ship alcohol direct to consumers in states that allow it. This would not solve the financial problem at the Post Office, but it would be a significant step in helping the post office, modernizing the post office and demonstrating a commitment to getting the post office on firm financial footing. 

Moreover, moving past the decades-old prohibitionist mindset that keeps the post office from delivering alcohol and putting the service in a position to engage in an expanding part of the logistics sector also helps consumers, who would be given one more choice for alcohol shipments.

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  1. Jeff Swanson - April 8, 2020

    Great idea! But do the distributors have congress in their pocket?

  2. fred peterson - April 8, 2020

    Tom-
    As is usually the case, another great idea. Unfortunately, besides making too much sense, when one follows the money it puts distributors, UPS and FedEX making sure it doesn’t happen. I read some years ago that if the Post Office stopped Saturday delivery it would have made them sustainable. But Congress won’t allow that even.

  3. Tom Wark - April 8, 2020

    Fred,

    It’s just such an easy, easy fix. The PO needs revenue. Give them a new revenue stream.

  4. VVP - April 9, 2020

    There are numerous bills introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. They all die in Homeland Security Committee and have less than 1% to be passed to law. So, idea doesn’t sound that great to them.

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3412/all-actions-without-amendments?s=1&r=82

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2517/all-actions-without-amendments?s=1&r=6

    https://speier.house.gov/2019/5/congresswoman-speier-introduces-bipartisan-bill-end-ban-shipping-0

  5. Bill St. Croix - April 9, 2020

    Tom – Common Sense isn’t very common in DC. Money gets attention in DC and unfortunately the Postal Service isn’t a big contributor to any PAC’s or campaigns. Also, with the continued lack of cooperation across the aisle, doing anything with a logical argument will be blocked by one party or the other. Doing the ‘right thing’ is gravely endangered in DC.

    One can only hope that this changes in the near future…


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