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Mail Delivery Slowdown Speaks to Bigger Problems for the U.S. Postal Service

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Mail trucks are seen as rally goers gather at a post office to protest the Trump administration's handling of the US Postal System at the Rally to Save the Post Office on August 22, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for MoveOn)

Despite more and more Americans having stuff delivered during the pandemic, the USPS is in deep financial trouble. In order to save money, the USPS has made a few operational changes. One of the big ones: The U.S. Postal Service began slowing down delivery of some letters and packages starting Oct. 1. But economists say that’s a vicious cycle — if you make a product worse, fewer people will buy it, and that will only exacerbate the postal service’s problems. This is not new — the postal service has been in trouble for years, facing massive losses. The Postmaster General told Congress that there’s “no end in sight,” in particular because the agency is on the hook for billions in employee pensions. We talk about the problems plaguing the postal service, how to make the agency viable for the future and what that means for you.

Guests:

Christopher Shaw, author, historian, and policy analyst. His new book is, "First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat." He previously published, "Preserving the People's Post Office"

Jesus Salas, associate professor of finance, Lehigh University College of Business

Jacob Bogage, business and technology reporter, The Washington Post<br />

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