USPS Not Meant To Be A Revenue Generator But A 'Public Asset,' Says Historian (audio)Historians in the News
tags: Postal Service, USPS, public sector
Postal historian says increasing difficulty of voting by mail would be“antithetical to the norms and values” of the U.S. Post Office
(4:46 — 13:47)
The Postal Service has always been an integral part of American democracy, says Richard John, a professor of history and journalism at Columbia University and author of “Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse.” The agency wasn’t intended to be run like a business, he says, but rather a public asset.
The Post Office Act of 1792 was “a new mandate for the Post Office not simply to facilitate commercial correspondence that would generate revenue for the central government, but to make it possible for ordinary Americans to remain in touch with affairs of state,” says John.
He says while he can’t make an assessment on how recent changes to the Postal Service will help or hurt, making it more difficult to conduct the election would be “antithetical to the norms and values” the Post Office.
The Trump administration is attempting to walk back a statement President Trump made on Fox Business last week. He indicated he opposed a Democratic proposal to provide additional funding to the USPS and support mail-in voting.
“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work, so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” President Trump said. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.”
This statement led to intense backlash from Democrats and Republican lawmakers.
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