Postal myths: #2 The USPS isn’t part of the federal government

Earlier this week we dealt with the popular belief that because the US Constitution mentions post offices, it would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate or privatize the USPS. Today we have the flip side of that myth- the belief that the US Postal Service isn’t part of the federal government. You see this in news stories often- FedSmith ran a column just a week ago referring to the USPS as a “quasi-governmental entity”, that had been privatized in 1971! The Gallup Organization, which was responsible for the poll we reported earlier today naming the USPS the best-liked government service, referred to “the quasi-governmental U.S. Postal Service” in an earlier poll report. A recent story in the Atlantic claims that “Postal services were quasi-privatized in the US decades ago”. Just to make things interesting, the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe once referred to the USPS as “a quasi-federal outfit”– whatever that means! Continue reading

Postal myths: #1 “It would take a constitutional amendment to eliminate (or privatize) the postal service”.

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I got into a discussion on Facebook the other day with a reader who had repeated one of the most popular myths involving the US Postal Service- the idea that the USPS is established in the Constitution, and could only be dismantled (or sold off) by a constitutional amendment. It’s a comforting thought- unfortunately, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says so.

The postal service is one of the very few government agencies specifically mentioned (and authorized) in the document- that much is true- and that fact has given a great deal of agita over the years to free marketeers and tea party types. But if you actually read the specific article in question, you won’t find anything that establishes a postal service, or that requires Congress to establish one. Continue reading