Why Elon Musk should run the USPS

No offense (well, some, perhaps) Mr. DeJoy, our current Postmaster General, but I think you should step aside and let Elon Musk run the USPS. Our postal service has been in crisis mode, for what?  A couple of decades?  Well, at least as far back as my already-crowded-with-lots-of-semi-useless information brain can remember.  I mean, remember when they wanted to offer banking services?  Whatever happened with that, by the way? We all know that expression, “the check is in the mail,” right?  Well, based on my own personal experience, the USPS can’t even deliver a piece of mail in a timely fashion, let alone process one.

That’s why I think Elon Musk should take over ops at the USPS. 

Now, I know Musk is a somewhat controversial figure … for reasons I won’t go into here.  But, even his detractors must admit that he is one heck of a savvy businessman.  Which is why I truly believe (not that he would ever want the job!?) that with his entrepreneurial prowess, along with the transformative impact has had on a wide range of industries, Musk could be a pretty solid candidate for Postmaster General and lead the USPS into a new era of efficiency and, crazy as it may sound, profitability.

How did we get in this predicament in the first place, you ask yourself.  I am no expert, but it seems that much of the blame for the USPS’s misery (and subsequently, ours) can be laid at the feet of The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) of 2006, which according to the American Postal Workers Union website, “required that the Postal Service “pre-fund'' 100 percent of its retiree health benefit liabilities, 75 years into the future, at a cost of $5.5 billion a year over the first ten years. The USPS now owes the government over $35 billion of the unpaid portion of this legal obligation. The draconian pre-funding mandate is a large reason why the Postal Service slowed service and curtailed hours of operation, closed processing plants, increased subcontracting, and severely reduced staffing. It also hurt the Postal Service’s financial ability to upgrade buildings and infrastructure, and purchase a new vehicle fleet.”

Thankfully, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, H.R. 3076, was passed by the House on February 8, passed by the Senate on March 8, and signed into law by President Biden on April 6 of 2022. Back in October of last year, according to the Postal Times, “Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet urged Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to prioritize improvements to on-time delivery, service, and operations as they implement the Postal Service Reform Act (PSRA), which will save the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) $45 billion over ten years.”  Bennet went on to tell DeJoy, “as you plan for the cost savings and transparency measures from the Postal Service Reform Act, it is imperative that the USPS seize this opportunity to improve on-time deliveries, service, and operations.”

Well, have you seen any improvement in on-time deliveries, service, and operations” I certainly haven’t.  In fact, the last three times I have been away from home for an extended period, I have given my local post office my "Hold mail" information. What did I come home to? A mailbox cramped with a week’s worth of mail. I’ve also had mail stolen out of our mailbox on so many occasions that I had to install a "locked" mailbox where the mail can be pushed into a slot that feeds into the locked box. We even have a large note, reminding the mail person what they should do. I have even gone and spoken with the Postmaster in our area, but nothing seems to work. The mail is just stuffed into the unlocked area and many times can be found lying on the ground. I’ve considered setting up a PO box at my local post office, but even that can be dicey these days. Offices in my area are being closed because the homeless have discovered that a) they’re open 24 hrs/day and b) they can be a comfortable place to sleep on chilly nights.

Are these incidents rare and isolated?  Hardly. CBSNews reported, just this past June, that “the USPS last month cautioned that it has seen an increase in attacks on letter carriers and mail fraud incidents, with 305 mail carriers robbed in the first half of fiscal year 2023, on pace to exceed the previous year's 412 robberies. At the same time, fraudsters are targeting mailboxes, either stealing letters directly from residents' homes or from the blue USPS collection boxes.” Of course, check theft may be a challenge all of the time, but the next few months are particularly worrisome.  As you might imagine, tax time is high season for bad actors as US Treasury checks hit mailboxes. 

Adding insult to mail delivery injury, this storied branch of the US government, despite what seems to be the best efforts of dare I say it, congressional leaders, has STILL managed to continue running in the red. Government Executive reports that “the U.S. Postal Service lost $6.5 billion in fiscal 2023 despite initial projections it would break even for the year, and leadership cautioned the agency will once again be in the red in fiscal 2024.” 

All of which brings me back to my original suggestion: Elon Musk for Postmaster General. I mean, the guy founded Tesla and SpaceX, to name a few. He challenges the status quo. He has a keen understanding of technologies – such as AI, robotics and automation – and how they can transform a business. Of the top of my head, I would think that techs like these could go a long way in streamlining sorting processes for instance, enhancing delivery speeds, and reducing operational costs. He also knows how to make a dollar, i.e., he has the “financial acumen” that a job like Postmaster General requires and the current leader – obvious to me – sorely lacks. Lastly, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of reasons why Musk would make a great Postmaster General, he is decisive; when he sees something needs fixing, he gets it done. 

In summary, I think that if  Musk were in a position to take the reins of the USPS, he could bring about truly transformative and innovative changes to how our mail and packages are processed, delivered, secured, and tracked.

Oh, and lastly, how is this relevant to community banks? These institutions should be doing their best to “sell” their customers on using their mobile apps and online banking services – bill pay, in particular. Putting checks in the mail is simply too risky these days.  

Which is why we created campaigns, like the one above, that banks can use to create awareness of their safe, secure, mobile and online banking services.

Bank Marketing Center

Here at bankmarketingcenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers — developed by banking industry marketing professionals — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue.  

Our web-based platform puts our client partners in complete control of their marketing production process – and for a fraction of traditional marketing costs. We’re also proud of the fact that we currently work with over 300 financial institutions.

Want to learn more about what we can do for your community bank and your marketing efforts?  You can start by visiting bankmarketingcenter.com. Then, feel free to contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com. As always, I welcome your thoughts.