Center for American Progress

Trump’s War on the Postal Service Hurts All Americans

Trump’s War on the Postal Service Hurts All Americans

Undermining the Postal Service damages our economy, health system, and democracy.

An American flag waves outside a post office, August 2020. (Getty/Alexi Rosenfeld)
An American flag waves outside a post office, August 2020. (Getty/Alexi Rosenfeld)

Donald Trump has declared war on the U.S. Postal Service in order to make it harder for people to vote by mail. The pandemic has placed financial strains on the post office—and when coupled with a 2006 law requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund retirees’ health care benefits, a requirement that exists for no other public or private entity, it is no surprise that the Postal Service is facing significant economic burdens. Yet Trump has repeatedly refused to provide it with the necessary funding to continue effective operations, noting that “they need that money in order to make the Postal Service work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.”

The Trump administration recently orchestrated the appointment of a top fundraiser for the Republican Party, Louis DeJoy, as the postmaster general. DeJoy is the first postmaster in more than 20 years to lack any experience with the Postal Service, and he has serious conflicts of interest. Dejoy has a multimillion dollar stake in a supply chain logistics company that contracts with the Postal Service. Since his appointment, DeJoy has secretly taken steps that have slowed the delivery of mail.

The U.S. Postal Service has been a part of the fabric of American life for more than 200 years. It is even more vital during a pandemic that limits in-person interactions.

  • The U.S. Postal Service touches the lives of virtually every American:
  • The U.S. Postal Service is a vital part of the U.S. economy:
  • The U.S. Postal Service is a critical part of the U.S. health system:
    • Twenty percent of adults over the age of 40 who take medication for a chronic condition receive prescriptions by mail.
    • Almost 120 million Veterans Affairs prescriptions are sent through the mail annually.
    • More than half of the people who receive medication by mail are over the age of 65.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is essential for rural areas:
    • An estimated 14.5 million people in rural areas lack broadband access, meaning they have ever greater reliance on the Postal Service.
    • Thirty-nine percent of the Postal Service’s retail locations are located in rural areas.
    • The U.S. Postal Service generates more than $150 billion in revenue in states that are heavily rural.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is an economic lifeline for small businesses:
    • Approximately 40 percent of small businesses send packages through the U.S. Postal Service monthly.
    • Small businesses spend an average of $338 per month with the Postal Service.
    • Twenty-five percent of small businesses fear that a post office closing near them would have a serious negative impact on their business.
    • Microbusinesses—which represent 75 percent of employers nationwide—spend an average of $359 per month on shipping.
  • The U.S. Postal Service is a vital part of our democracy:
    • In 2018, it sent 42 million mail ballots for the midterm elections.
    • Approximately 821,000 ballots were sent to overseas military personnel in the 2012 and 2016 general elections, and 80 percent of overseas members of the armed services who voted did so by mail in 2018.

The Postal Service is a lifeline for millions of people. Americans rely on it for medicine, jobs, their small businesses, and critical services in rural areas. Trump’s war against the post office is a threat to all Americans.

Sam Berger is vice president for Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress. Stephanie Wylie is the senior policy analyst for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress.

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Sam Berger

Former Vice President, Democracy and Government Reform

Stephanie Wylie

Former Associate Director, Courts and Legal Policy