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Sacred Cow

By Dianne Witte

There is a “sacred cow” in this country, and like the sacred cows in India it is so entrenched in society it’s difficult to change. At least the idea of a “sacred cow” in India is based on a religious philosophy of not eating meat. One example of a “sacred cow” I’m referring to in the US is the special privileges given to business for bulk mail at the post office. Business, we have been taught, is valuable to our whole economic system.

I’m not particularly anti-business, I’ve owned and operated a business myself for many years, and appreciate the idea of free enterprise, but not the idea of special treatment for business to “do business.” When you think about it from a common sense perspective, it makes no sense to subsidize business bulk mailings. How did this happen? I don’t know, but it’s now time to stop using valuable resources to support an inefficient system with no benefit to taxpayers. The mail system wasn’t established for junk mail.

I envision that eliminating special rates for bulk mail will result in less for the post office to process, less wasted paper, less fuel needed to transport it, better roads as a result, a leaner, meaning postal service, no junk mail for us to sort through and no need for the expense of recycling or disposal.

Business will cry out they can’t afford it and threaten to stop sending their “valuable” catalogs and solicitations for products and services. They threaten that people will have to pay higher prices for the things they sell. To that I say a simple, “OK”. Be more judicious about who gets your mailings and charge the extra expense to the people who actually buy things from you.  What a concept!

Recently, the post office has been looking at ways to be more profitable. Reports indicate the postal administrators propose to increase business volumes, products and services, in order to make themselves more financially viable. This, at a time when use of postal services is in steep decline and competition has come in the form of FedEx and UPS, seems a little short sighted. What they need to do is become a leaner, more efficient organization that meets modern day needs. First class mail, in itself, could be profitable, for a while at least. Then, perhaps, there will need to be a further, gradual decline in mail service altogether.

We have an emotional attachment of sorts to our postal system. How will I send my greeting cards without mail delivery? My newspaper subscription price will probably increase! Whoa, seems I’ve uncovered some “sacred cows” of my own. But, in the name of less paper used, less junk in my house, less fuel used, less air pollution, less recycling and trash disposal, perhaps I can consider letting go and let my mail business take a new form, like phone calls and email. How about you?

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