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In the era of email, what is the purpose of the U.S. Postal Service?




A mailman for the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail in Miami, Florida. The U.S. Postal Service recently reported a record annual yearly loss of $15.9 billion. The USPS plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan intended at saving about $2 billion annually,
A mailman for the U.S. Postal Service delivers mail in Miami, Florida. The U.S. Postal Service recently reported a record annual yearly loss of $15.9 billion. The USPS plans to stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan intended at saving about $2 billion annually,
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Today the U.S. Postal Service will announce the end of Saturday mail delivery, effective in August of this year. This news  is no surprise, as the USPS has been in the red for years now, with hefty financial obligations to retirees and a business model that becomes more and more outdated as technology continues to transform how we communicate.

Billions of dollars in debt, the USPS is looking for ways to remain relevant and profitable, but the question remains: What is the role of the post office in our lives? With the reliability of email and ecommerce at all time highs, is the post office headed for extinction? Or are there ways for the massive agency to remain relevant in the post-mail era?

Guest:
Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post reporter who has followed the USPS for quite a while