The Campaign Spot

Senator McCaskill, the Postal Service’s Financial Strategist

Ah, that Sen. Claire McCaskill. Missouri Democrats can be proud with such an innovative problem-solver, staring down the U.S. Postal Service’s $10 billion loss for the current fiscal year:

In addition to structural reforms, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) suggested that USPS should mount a national advertising campaign promoting the value of printed mail.

“You cannot get money by text message,” McCaskill said. “I really think that there is a longing out there right now, especially in these uncertain times, for some of the things that have provided stability over the years.”

Donahoe said such a campaign is in the works. Aides said it will debut for the holiday shopping season.

First, even the best advertising campaign isn’t going to generate enough new mail activity to generate enough revenue to offset losses in the billions. For example, to knock $1 billion off the current annual loss, the advertising campaign would have to spur Americans to buy 2,272,727,273 more stamps (2.2 billion) than they ordinarily would. In other words, if every man, woman, and child in America bought eight stamps, the Postal Service would shave off one-tenth of this year’s operating loss. Alternatively, the campaign could spur Americans to ship 54,644,809 more Express Mail envelopes than they ordinarily would.

Second, you cannot get money by “text message,” but you can wire money and transfer money through most banks’ web sites and PayPal.

Having said that, hers wasn’t even the silliest recommendation at the hearing:

[Sen. Joe] Lieberman voiced his support, suggesting, “We should be writing more passionate letters to those we love.”

Coming soon: The National Federal Love Letter Promotion Interagency Working Group.

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