Members of Congress are Wrong on the Postal Monopoly

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The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), in its continuous effort to educate Congress and other postal stakeholders on the need for passing comprehensive, postal reform released an article pointing out the misconceptions some members of Congress hold on the existence and market power of the U.S. Postal Service’s statutory monopolies over the mail.

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PostCom’s President Gene Del Polito said, “[t]he Postal Service benefits today from two distinct statutory monopolies that afford it unparalleled advantages in today's marketplace.

In his article, PostCom’s President Gene Del Polito said, “[t]he Postal Service benefits today from two distinct statutory monopolies that afford it unparalleled advantages in today's marketplace. The first is that monopoly that Congress has granted over the carriage and delivery of selectively distributed mail; the second is the monopoly that gives the Postal Service exclusive authority over the deposit of mail in mail delivery receptacles. Both of these monopolies still exercise substantial power over the freedom and ability to do business by printed matter that's delivered to homes or businesses.”

He goes further to explain that, “[t]hose two monopolies exercise as much power today over the choices one can make for the delivery of their mail as they ever have. Email, the web, newspapers, radio, television, cable, Twitter, Facebook are all wonderful. But none can be perfectly substituted for the benefits and effectiveness for doing business by mail. Ask any marketer now engaged in the search for electronic marketing paradise. If they're honest, they'll tell you about the limitations and impediments electronic communication now faces and is likely to face as the nation grows tired of unsolicited electronic messages confounding their ability to communicate with ease and efficiency through media for which they must pay significant sums to use.”

Del Polito argued that “[i]f the monopolies aren't worth a hoot, and the Postal Service were to relinquish them...” He believes that business would not be affected by such a change because “ [i]f the Postal Service used its head and functioned in the manner of any competitive business, it would continue to evolve and build on its strengths and present a formidable barrier to competitive marketplace entry.”

“On the other hand,” according to Mr. Del Polito, “if the Postal Service continued to behave as a statutorily protected government monopoly, over time, it would lose its competitive advantages by enticing the entry of truly competitive alternatives into the marketplace. If that were to happen, most reasonable people would conclude that eliminating the protections of statutory monopolies and permitting private sector alternatives was a wise policy decision. The truth is, this nation doesn't need the U.S. Postal Service. What it needs is a cost-efficient, reliable universal mail delivery system. Whether that system includes the Postal Service or not should be a matter that's determined by how the Postal Service functions in a truly competitive marketplace.”

He encouraged Congress to look at the real truth here – that the monopolies over mail are real and continue to have substantial market place power.

About PostCom
The Association for Postal Commerce (PostCom), the industry leading representative of those who use mail and those who support others in the use of mail for business communication and commerce .Our membership represents the diverse industry in which we serve, consisting of direct marketing firms, businesses, printers, lettershops, suppliers, logistic companies, parcel delivery firms and others who either use or support the use of mail and parcels for business communication and commerce.

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Jessica Lowrance
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