Letter to the Editor: Eliminating the USPO

Following up on the poorly thought-out column mentioned here previously, I wrote a letter to the editor of the SJ Mercury News Personal Technology section in response to David Plotnikoff’s column:

To the Editor,

In in this week’s Personal Technology section David Plotnikoff ponders whether, given current circumstances and his own highly-connected lifestyle, the federal government ought to jump on the technology bandwagon and eliminate the US Post Office. I’ve been reading the Mercury News for about five years now and am sad to see the decline in writing that this column evinces. Plotnikoff completely fails to consider the larger issues involved in such a transition, economic, social, and political, which ought to be part of any serious discussion.

First, not everyone can afford a PC and an internet connection or perhaps feels there are better uses for those dollars (and since your paper consistently comes down on the side of personal freedom of choice, one would think this is a valid objection). Second, not everyone is willing to turn their life interactions over to technology; just because Plotnikoff no longer writes letters doesn’t mean everyone has to give up that pleasure. A sub-argument here is that some of us actually still receive magazines and other publications through the mail and I am not yet ready to read them on a computer screen. Third, there are 900,000 people directly working for the USPO and I daresay that no one has the political capital to eliminate all these jobs, especially in today’s poor job climate.

Plotnikoff, after suggesting we can eliminate paper mail and replace it with online banking, then goes on to diminish his own argument by complaining about the poor implementation of his bank’s software. David, maybe you need to change banks because the one I use for 90+% of my payments does not suffer from quite so many usability problems.

Bill