There was obvious frustration during a recent hearing in Chattanooga on the proposed closing of three local post offices -- in Alton Park, East Brainerd and Highland Park. The facilities could close by June as part of the Postal Service's effort to stem its huge losses of the past few years.
The agency has lost billions of dollars as more and more people have begun paying bills and sending correspondence via the Internet, and are abandoning traditional stamp-and-envelope mail. In 2011 alone, the Postal Service lost about $10 billion.
Businesses and residents who use the three post offices that are on the chopping block voiced concern about lost service, and we sympathize with them. But the area's postmaster general put in stark terms the financial struggles the Postal Service faces.
"We're in dire straits," said Betsy Yoder. "We're looking at all we can do to save money, generate revenue and keep the post offices open."
But the fiscal realities are such that keeping open the post offices slated for closing may simply be impossible.
No one wants to see the job losses and service cuts that the changes at the Postal Service may bring. But we must also, sadly, acknowledge that having the Postal Service run at huge losses is unworkable.