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30 January 2011 - How Do You Feel About Post Office Closings

One of my favorite growing-up memories on the farm in Wisconsin happened every Spring, when we would walk into the post office at Ontario, Wisconsin and hear the loud chirping of baby chicks. Yes, the U.S. Postal Service delivered boxes of 50 baby chicks, to farmers like us, to take home to grow into birds that would produce meat and eggs.

Well, the sound of baby chicks in post offices left us decades ago, but now that post office may also leave us. I am interested in your reaction to the announcement that the postal service, because of it’s challenging financial situation, will be closing 2,500 post offices beginning in March. How do yo feel about losing your post office? How serious is that to your community? Tell me how you feel by e-mailing me at orion@agbizweek.com, or you can support the postal service and send me a letter at WGN-Radio, 435 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

The postal service dates back to our founding fathers; the first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin. Under U.S. law, mail delivery is a “basic and fundamental” government function meant to “bind the nation together” by providing service to “all communities” at a reasonable price. This has resulted in stamp prices that are among the lowest in the industrialized world and it’s one of the reasons that more than half of the post offices lose money. The biggest reason of course, is the move to the internet and e-mail to deliver our messages.

The reaction from people who want to see post offices closed, mostly from urban areas where theirs will probably stay open, have been downright nasty when referring to rural communities. Let me share three e-mail reactions that made my blood pressure go up....

“It is funny that people want government to operate smart, but when it comes time to cut, they cry like babies. No business in their right mind should be forced to operate at a deficit.”

Another comment: “These small town folks are the first to complain about big government and subsidies, but when their post office closes, and they only have to go 12 miles to the next town, they complain.”

The third one: “Well, next up, let’s close the schools. There is no reason for tax payers to be funding schools in every town that has a few hundred people. Each county should have one regional school. If parents don’t like it, send the kids to a private one. It is time to cut off the welfare to these rural folks, where the government even pays them not to farm, and they still complain. End the rural welfare state!”

I admit I have mixed feelings about this issue. I know we must cut government spending, but I’m not sure this is the way to do it. That’s why I’m asking how you feel about it. So e-mail me at orion@agbizweek.com.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.