In its December 1 report, the U.S. National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommends giving the U.S. Postal Service greater management autonomy (p. 47.) But the Postal Regulatory Commission has made it difficult for the Postal Service to experiment with new services in the market dominant and competitive areas, in part by limiting how much the Postal Service can charge for mail services.
In the past 30 years, the Postal Service has relentlessly improved its mail processing technology and reduced its mail handling costs, enabling an entire mail advertising industry to ride on this technological revolution coat tail. Yet, the Postal Service is unable to capitalize on these efforts to finance the development of new services. The Postal Rate Commission requires every single penny of savings to be passed on to the consumer, and none to be used to develop new markets and services.
Many new avenues and services are possible for the Postal Service, using intelligent mail and a mix of hard and digital media. If reforms are to succeed, they must ensure that the Postal Service has the freedom and leeway to leverage its unrivaled brand, network and technology, and invest across markets into new and promising services.