If you're a regular computer user, you've probably checked your email at least once or twice today, and in doing so you are assisting in the decline of one of the oldest government agencies — the United States Postal Service. In a time where instant messaging, texting, and email allow us to communicate across the globe in a matter of seconds, the idea of sitting down to write a letter seems foreign to many. And the USPS is feeling the heat, so much so that it is headed for default later this year unless Congress lends a helping hand.
As people around the world become more and more digitally connected, physical mail rates have steadily declined. As the New York Times reports, the last decade has been particularly harsh on the Postal Service, showing sharp declines in both first-class letters as well as junk mail. With an increasing U.S. population and more houses than ever requiring mail service, local post offices are seeing more work, but less revenue.
As postmaster general Patrick Donahoe notes, "Our situation is extremely serious. If Congress doesn't act, we will default." And the agency is considering drastic measures to keep that from happening. Options on the table include eliminating Saturday mail delivery and shutting down 3,700 post office locations across the United States.
Congress also has the option to assist the USPS during this trying time, but it remains unclear whether both sides of the isle will be able to agree on a plan. Whatever the solution, time is of the essence — the Postal Service is due to make a $5.5 billion payment later this month. If nothing is done by that deadline, you just might end up reading about the shut down of the U.S. postal system... probably in an email.
This article originally appeared on Tecca
More from Tecca: