Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business News

Senator lodges odd argument to save the USPS as cities opt out of junk mail

The postal service has long been a part of business, but its existence is in question and being debated as the prevalence of email rises and the USPS loses billions every year. The case for preservation and against it are extreme polar opposites.

The case for saving the USPS

The postal service in America is 237 years old and remains the second largest civilian employer in America, but its existence continues to be questioned as e-mail and electronic billing continues to threaten the need for physical delivery of print materials. Some argue that commerce continues to find success with direct mailers, but others argue it is damaging to the environment to kill trees to print and use gas to carry that print across the nation in bulk.

What no one expected was for a Senator to defend the USPS by making elderly Americans look like Steve Martin from The Jerk when he gets his phone book. But that is exactly what Senator Harry Reid did this week when he said, “Elderly Americans rely on the United States Postal Service… I’ll come home to my home here in Washington and there will be some mail there. A lot of it is what some people refer to as junk mail. But for the people that are sending that mail, it’s very important. And, talking about seniors — seniors love to get junk mail. It’s sometimes their only way of communicating or feeling they’re part of the real world.”

Really? Pizza coupons solve elderly peoples’ loneliness and that is worth preserving a government service that loses $3 billion per quarter?

The case against the USPS

Besides reduction of mail because of the digital era, many claim it has an adverse environmental impact on our nation and is a financial drain. One solution being used by cities is to push for the elimination of junk mail.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The City of Austin this week announced a new plan that would allow its residents to opt out of any or all junk mail, using a service called “Catalog Choice” which is also offered to residents of Cambridge (MA), Chicago, Santa Fe, Berkeley, Seattle, and San Jose.

“The first step to recycling is to reduce what we have,” said Bob Gerdert, Austin Resource Recovery director. “It will also reduce the cost the city pays to recycle this waste.”

Gerdert tells KXAN-TV that the money saved by this initiative could someday result in cost savings to Austin residents. “When it comes time to look at possible increases for solid waste services we may not have to increase it for residents because we have this cost savings.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.



  1. John McCormick

    April 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    What effect will this have on the tree farmers in Wisconsin and Minnesota? Is it not true that trees are grown as a crop for the paper industry? How will this affect the paper production industry?
    Is it true that the Postal service is a cash cow for congress? Do they receive 5 billion a year from its operation marked for “retirement funding” that actually goes into the general fund? Is it true that no tax dollars are used for the service?
    What private corporations gain by the Postal Services’ demise? What will a stamp cost through a private vendor? Is the Postal Service written into the US Constitution?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Business News

It was introduced as purely an April Fool’s joke, and a good one at that. But sadly, it has become a reality. What is...


The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.