As a shop owner on Etsy, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been on my mind today. We are in the process of changing our shipping rates as we prepare for the USPS shipping rate increase to take place on Sunday, January 27th. All domestic and international rates are about to go up with rate increases for overseas packages being the biggest bummer. We sell home decor items through our Etsy shop Pig and Fish and most of our items ship through the USPS using Priority Mail, so our business is rather dependent on this service. I can only imagine how many other Etsy shop owners depend daily on the USPS for mailing out their product as well - thousands and thousands and thousands. Most likely, when someone comes to your shop to buy your product, they will receive that handmade item through the U.S. Postal Service and it will be delivered to their mailbox. It touches all of us, so can you imagine a world without the USPS? Rate increases aside, I cannot.
When I came across this video clip from The Ed Show, I had to watch it. I urge all of you to do the same. It's a short 7 min 17 sec clip, but it sparked a flame in me. Did you know that the United States Postal Service is the only service mandated in the Constitution? You can read it here; Article 1 - Section 8. The 2006 bill that they are referring to in the clip is the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), which was passed during a lame duck session in a Republican Congress. The USPS does not use any of our taxpayer money and pays for all of it's expenses from the sale of stamps. There is a prepayment provision in the 2006 PAEA that is crippling the USPS by requiring them to prefund 75 years of employee retirement accounts in a 10 year window. An unimaginable burden that is crushing them - it is costing the USPS 5.5 billion dollars a year to fund those pensions.
Much like my fellow Etsy shop owners and other small business owners, the USPS is a vital and integral aspect of my business - one that I rely on daily. I feel that it is important for all of us to be educated and aware about the current state of affairs that stand in front of the USPS as it could be detrimental to our ability to conduct business. This isn't some abstract 'thing' that would happen 'out there' - it would have a real and direct impact on many people and ALL of our businesses. I have sent an email to Representative Gerald Connolly of Virginia to ask him what I can do to help save the United States Postal Service and will also contact Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has been working to save the USPS from the massive financial crisis it faces. I will certainly keep you all posted, but tell me how this makes you feel in the comments below! This needs our attention: it is part of our history, but it is also our livelihood.