Editorial: And a footnote…is it good to be rural?
It must be hard for Postmaster General Patrick Donahue to sleep at night with all the problems he must manage. But his attitude to rural service is worrying.
Publisher’s Auxiliary, a newsletter of the National Newspaper Association, reports that Donahue recently spoke with community publishers. A Minnesota publisher said the proposed loss of Saturday mail and consolidation of service centers (as is happening in our region, as Norfolk’s mail processing plant is being merged into Sandston’s) "not only will hurt our newspapers but our communities as a whole. It will make economic development more difficult when it takes two or three days to turn mail around."
Donahue more or less shrugged off rural problems. "The fact that rural America is suffering to some extent, that is something I really can’t answer for you," PubAux reports him as saying. "It is an issue that when you look at the postal service, we have tried our best between what we have done … to change costs of the rural delivery structure to keep it as affordable as possible."
So…rural service is sacrificed, essentially, as USPS must strive to make a profit. Roads don’t have to make a profit. Schools do not have to show profit. Law enforcement does not have to pay for itself. But postal service does? We think it’s just as essential. Somewhere, the priorities set for USPS are wrong.