With a view to trim the size of the federal government, the Donald Trump administration in the United States is looking at a slew of measures that includes the possible privatisation of the United States Postal Service (USPS), reports The Wall Journal. Trump has said that the move would give the agency – currently facing financial trouble – the required ‘flexibility’ to adjust to the digital age.
Trump had earlier set up a task force to review the working of the agency which has been making losses due to the constantly changing nature of how Americans communicate and shop. A statement from the White House said that privatisation would allow the USPS to self-regulate prices, negotiate payments and access to private capital. It also added that a private agency could deliver mail fewer times a week and deliver consignments to centralised locations.
The USPS meanwhile has asked Congress to allow it to increase prices and also pass legislation to help with retirement benefits. The privatisation bid is also opposed by the American Postal Workers Union who feel that it would kill affordable delivery services, thus hurting smaller e-commerce firms and rural Americans.
The proposal also includes a plan to set up a Postal Regulation Commission on the lines of privatised postal services in Europe. However, prior to privatisation, USPS would have to undergo reforms in order to demonstrate its ability to generate profits.
Tracing its roots back to 1775 under Benjamin Franklin, the USPS is among the several independent agencies of the United States federal government. It does not receive any funding from taxes collected but operates solely on the sale of stamps and other services.
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