By PAUL N. CARLIN, Chairman of the Board, Business Mail Express
Delivered to the Joint Postal Customer Council Seminar, Lansing, Michigan, April 4, 1995
Thank you for that very warm introduction. I only hope I can live up to the advance billing! Ladies and gentlemen, I have been asked to speak to you about what the future holds for the Postal Service, how your businesses can adapt to a changing postal environment and what you can do to remain competitive.
That's a tall order, but I can think of no subject more important to those of us whose livelihoods rely so much on a universal mail system that is secure, timely and affordable.
One needs only to read or listen to the news to know that, for the American postal system as we know it, the winds of change are not just blowing - they have reached gale force!
The direction in which that force will take us remains to be seen. Several alternatives are now being discussed by members of Congress and among many non-government opinion leaders.
House Majority Leader Richard Armey and House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasick have both promised that legislation to privatize the Postal Service will be taken up during the present Congress.
Congressman Phillip Crane is advocating an employee-owned Postal Service. This same sentiment is echoed by former Delaware Governor Pete du Pont, who now chairs the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Others talk of a for-profit stock corporation, in which voting would be limited to those who invest in the postal system.
And some would have the Postal Service revert to its pre-1970 status as a tax-supported, Congressionally subsidized public service institution.
Even the Postmaster General, himself, has said he is willing to talk about some form of privatization, as long as it does not involve outright sale of the system to the private sector.
He speaks of "commercializing" the Postal Service - empowering it to set its own postage rates, so long as they don't exceed the rate of inflation; allowing it to unilaterally test-market new products; and permitting employees to buy into the system.
Furthermore, a coalition of mail-using organizations headed by Phil Miller, president and CEO of Alternate Postal Delivery, Inc., has petitioned the Postmaster General to initiate an administrative role-making that would result in suspension …