Post Office

Rep. Issa Proposes Essentially Ruralizing Mail Delivery


We can't cut government jobs, anywhere, ever!

We've all seen those packs of mailboxes all together on the side of some rural or semi-rural road where the postal carrier delivers mail to a group of neighbors. In attempt to try to handle the U.S. Postal Service's fiscal collapse, Rep. Darrell Issa is proposing using this system everywhere. According to USA Today:

First, it was doing away with Saturday delivery. Now, door-to-door service could be coming to an end.

In an effort designed to cut costs at the cash-strapped agency by up to $4.5 billion a year, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is proposing the U.S Postal Service phase out door-to-door delivery and shift service curbside and to neighborhood cluster boxes.

The proposal — due for vote by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday — would affect about 37 million residences and businesses.

Given they weren't even able to make the Saturday cut happen, I can't imagine this actually going anywhere. The Hill reported that Issa's proposed reforms don't have Democratic support.

Follow this story and more at Reason 24/7.

Spice up your blog or Website with Reason 24/7 news and Reason articles. You can get the widgets here. If you have a story that would be of interest to Reason's readers please let us know by emailing the 24/7 crew at, or tweet us stories at @reason247.

NEXT: Caroline Kennedy to Be Chosen as Ambassador to Japan

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. As a compromise, Democrats are willing to allow IRS to run postal service, and stop delivering Republican mail

  2. We’ve all seen those packs of mailboxes all together on the side of some rural or semi-rural road where the postal carrier delivers mail to a group of neighbors. In attempt to try to handle the U.S. Postal Service’s fiscal collapse, Rep. Darrell Issa is proposing using this system everywhere.

    No, that’s not exactly what he’s talking about. He’s talking about the big square clusters of metal boxes that you see in apartment buildings or townhouse neighborhoods.

    1. Yeah, my (short) street in El Paso has this set up for about a dozen addresses. Two duplexes, the rest straight houses. Not sure how we ended up with this setup but since it’s almost directly across from my house I don’t mind.

      1. New developments have been putting them in for a while. They’re called NDCBU (neighborhood delivery and collection box unit) or gang boxes. They’ve been at business parks, condos and apartment complexes for quite a while.

        They’d be very helpful at ending certain specific kinds of letter carrier injuries. The supervisors force carriers to “cut the lawns” to improve delivery metrics which exposes carriers to a lot of trip and fall risks and tax payers to therapy and treatment costs. These also eliminate USPS employees from having to interact with dogs. I think I sensible compromise would be to put people’s post boxes back on the edge of the property.

        1. Yeah, pretty much every house in southern Nevada is set up that way. I was under the impression that most newer developments were using that system. I was also under the impression that the proposed policy would only affect new installations, so it seems like a solution in search of a problem that’s already taken care of itself.

        2. My development has them, and it was built in the late 80s.

        3. “The supervisors force carriers to “cut the lawns” to improve delivery metrics…”

          I can remember when the only time the Mailman did not walk across our front yard was when the supervisor was with him to be sure he did not “cut the lawn” and stayed on the sidewalk between houses,

      2. We’ve had one at our condo complex for a couple of years, now; it replaced a 70’s era multi-unit box that was falling apart. To be honest, I like the thing. It is very sturdy, and includes a more-or-less secure outgoing mail slot, which our old mailbox cluster didn’t have, as well as two big, lockable package bins that save us from having to take parcel claim receipts to the main post office and wait forever in line to get our packages. That is to say, our mail service is now much more convenient than it was before the Gang Box went in. I thought putting them in was Postal Service and housing construction industry S.O.P. already, so I am surprised that Issa has to float a “proposal” at this late date.

        1. It’s S.O.P. most places for new development; Issa is proposing phasing them in in older neighborhoods as well.

  3. I can already hear the postal workers’ union crying rivers over this.

    Yeah, it’s going nowhere.

  4. I don’t have a mailbox at my residence. I get my mail at a post office box. It’s a pain in the arse, but I prefer it to getting my mailbox smashed by hooligans and ne’er-do-wells. I basically just get my mail once a week.

    1. Why do you hate Netflix?

      1. I have it streaming to my PO box.

      2. Coincidentally, for the first time ever in our Netflix membership of many years, a disc they claimed they sent several days before has not yet arrived (and I’m thinking now that it never will). Usually, we get the disc the next postal day after receiving email notification of shipment; very rarely, the 2nd postal day afterward. I’ll give it until Friday before reporting the disc as MIA.

    2. I’m sure sloopy doesn’t live anywhere near you.

    3. I get my mail at a post office box. It’s a pain in the arse, but I prefer it to getting my mailbox smashed by hooligans and ne’er-do-wells


      1. Well, my lawn is a little less than a half mile from the road and a locked gate (not entirely my idea) so if you make it to my lawn, more power to you. I never get company, but it’s the price you pay for being prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

  5. I’d expect they’d just have the police deliver the mail door to door. Except the police union would bitch about the excess physical activity. They’d probably have to entice them with free steroids.

    1. Subjects – I mean Citizens – will have to disgorge donuts on command. I suspect that’ll fix the problem.

    2. As mail carriers, they would have plausible self-defense for the dog-shootings.

  6. Can a citizen opt out of USPS services completely? Can’t legal notices be sent to me via any other carrier?

      1. Then shouldn’t you be wearing the bucket?

  7. “…big square clusters of metal boxes that you see in apartment buildings or townhouse neighborhoods.”

    These are also used in single family home subdivisions across the land. What’s the big deal? So people will have to walk a few hundred feet from their front door to get their junk mail. So what?

    1. The Post Office will save money but cutting delivery drivers.

      Postal Workers Union will not tolerate such a crime!

      1. Yes, that’s the deal.

      2. They’ve also been shaving down their workforce and increasing efficiency. 20 years ago a carrier would spend half the day sorting and casing up mail. They recently implemented the next round of automation and casing time is down to about an 1/8th of the day.

        In 2010 they had the National Reassessment, which involved purging as many Postal workers as they could (there was a massive uptick of union grievances and work comp claims) and forced quite a few people into disability retirement. It was a mess and now they rubber room injured workers in regional customer service call centers. I talked to someone who had to drive from South Orange County to LA every day during peak traffic.

        1. I just got a “post card” in the mail, part of a mass-mailing to say that the USPS was hiring and offering great jobs! My wife does not often emit a sound I would call a “guffaw,” but she did when she saw that!

          1. don’t talk shit about Newman

          2. Think how many unemployed people could start a business delivering first class and other mail locally, since it only takes legs and basic reading comprehension, if it were legal to do so. They’d have an income, they’d charge less, and a government sector union would be defunded.

    2. One would think Michelle Obama would love the idea of the fat fucks of this country working off their EBT funded KFC meals

      1. When is she going to take some of her own advice and do something about that big fat ass of hers?


    3. “So people will have to walk a few hundred feet from their front door to get their junk mail. So what?”

      I’d say the problem is that its bad enough I’m *getting* junk mail, now I’ll have to spend more time just to get to the box and back to sort out the crap from the one or two letters I actually need (which only come one a quarter or so).

  8. Some time in the recent past, I suggested going to PO Boxes at local post office for everyone.

    Get rid of home delivery altogether.

    1. I suggested this same thing to my father, a conservative republican whom I thought would be receptive to the idea.

      He had an interesting point: a great many legal and financial documents sent through the mail have a “respond by” date, and you’d be looking at disparate impact lawsuits out the wazoo (his word) if poor people or those who rely on public transit started claiming that only having time to get their mail once or twice a week was affecting their ability to adequately respond to such notices.

      He then proceeded to find a way to blame the entire problem on illegal immigrants. And that is not hyperbole or an attempt at humor on my part.

      1. wazoo (his word)

        That reminds me that I need to start a webstie called or maybe for such words (and to make some sweet sweet interwebz passive income).

        Entry #1: America’s Funniest Home Videos: n, Youtube for old people.

        1. That would be amusing.

          An Ironic/slang – English translator would be profitable.

  9. I wonder whether FedEx or UPS would step up to the plate for home-delivery if Congress decertified the USPS monopoly on first-class mail.

    1. They already do home delivery. No doubt they’d love to eliminate the cheaper competition.

      Privatizing universal services always ends up costing people more.

      1. You’re slipping. It’s too obvious that you’re a sock now.

      2. Really? Lysander Spooner’s cheaper-than-the-USPS-mail-delivery-service that the gov’t shut down would like to have a word with you.

        And before you nitpick that something which happened 150 years ago has no bearing on the situation today, remember: you’re the one who used the word, “always”.

        1. As in:

          Whatever Tony says will always be retarded, be cause he has always been a shithead.

        2. Atta boy, Jimmy, that there Lysander can never get enough good pub.

      3. Costing whom more, the recipient (for whom it’s subsidized) or the taxpayer, on whose dime the USPS is currently skirting bankruptcy?

        1. “Social cost” only counts when it’s about expanding the role of government.

      4. Privatizing universal services always ends up costing people more.

        That explains why costs skyrocketed and the industry became less innovative when they privatized the phone company.


        1. Most land line telephone exchanges in the US have never been operated by governments. They are usually private corporations owned by stockholders.

          1. Ma Bell was a de facto public utility for half of my childhood with monopoly power over phone service. Those were the days when you could only buy an actual phone from the phone company – no third party hardware providers allowed. It was actually illegal to plug a non-approved phone into the wall jack.

            1. No. Subscribers leased the telephones they never bought them.
              From WikiP (wiki/Independent telephone company)
              …one estimate was that there were 1300 “independent” (not owned by AT+T) telephone companies.

              1. That uh, that doesn’t make it better.

                1. I don’t know why you think I stated that to “make it better”. I was just pointing out that what you wrote was factually incorrect.

        2. My reaction was simpler: THIS IS WHAT TONY ACTUALLY BELIEVES

      5. Keep arguing with Tony, you guys. I’m sure he’ll come around sooner or later.

        1. Ok, that made me laugh out loud.

        2. Oh please, go back to your No Justice No Peace Free Trayvon rally, Hugh.

          1. Rally’s over dude. Zimmerman showed up and shot everybody. Well everybody except me, because I’m white.

            1. He made up for it by performing CPR on all the victims though.

              1. Yeah, but by “CPR” you mean “Colored People Rape”.

            2. But are you white-white?

              1. You mean would American fuck me? Probably not. I have a lot of Polack in there.

                1. Kin-ky.

                  1. How many Polacks does it take to fill Hugh?

                2. Wait, I thought American liked his women submissive and Asian.

                  I can confirm that Hugh is white-white (possibly even white-white-white).

      6. Privatizing universal services always ends up costing people more.

        Partly because a private company can’t run a 16 billion dollar a year deficit in perpetuity and still stay in business… If you factored USPS’s debt and the US government’s borrowing costs to finance it into the price of their services, first class mail would be pretty close to cost parity with FedEx overnight.

    2. They already do home delivery. As a matter of fact, where I live the USPS *doesn’t* – I have to go to the PO and check my box for mail and packages yet, somehow, UPS and FedEx can make money while delivering to my door.

      1. The latter are exploiting you — otherwise, they couldn’t make a profit.

        Just ask Tony, above…

  10. There is a way to make first-class mail delivery profitable, but nobody in Congress is ever going to figure it out. And the people at the USPS sure as shit can’t do it as long as they are on the Federal leash/teat.

  11. So where’s the ruralizing part? Most rural routes are done by contractors who provide their own vehicles and get paid mileage and more or less an hourly rate. AFAIK, they aren’t full employees.

    For new developments, USPS pretty much mandates those boxes, no option for single home delivery. How are they going to put those boxes in existing neighborhood? Seize land under eminent domain? You need space for the box and if there’s no existing parking, then they’ll need some for the delivery vehicle and for residents to pick up their mail depending on how big of an area the box serves.

  12. [S]hift service curbside and to neighborhood cluster boxes.

    OK, requiring everyone to have a curbside box, as opposed to in-door mailslots and house-mounted mailboxes would represent a cost savings for delivery alone. As always, the devil is in the details. How many people would have to buy and install new mailboxes to government standards? How much would it cost the taxpaying members of society to provide these for the taxsupported members of society? I see those neighborhood cluster boxes as a jobs program for the cluster mailbox manufacturing and installation industries, also eminent domain issues.

    1. You’d also have to worry about Sloopy passing through your neighborhood executing his vigilante brand of Keynesian mailbox stimulus.

      1. How would sloopy go about destroying one of those clusterboxes? A propane bomb? Drive a truck through it? take off an nuke it from orbit?

        And even if he did manage to destroy it, how would the intended target know it was them and not one of their 60 neighbors that sloopy was trying to teach a lesson?

        I bet Issa’s proposal doesn’t answer these very basic questions.

        1. I thought it was illegal to make a mailbox that you couldn’t destroy with a baseball bat.

          1. Yeah, but that reg fails to define either the bat specs or a reasonable timeframe.

        2. I was talking about the curbside boxes Tonio mentioned, like the ones in Leave It To Beaver.

          What makes you think Sloop is trying to teach anyone a lesson. He’s in it for the wanton destruction.

          1. That is the lesson. You can’t have nice things, or anything, full stop.

        3. How would sloopy go about destroying one of those clusterboxes?

          I’ve driven drunk before. Those things are softer than you think.

    2. Solution to one of your problems – get rid of government regulations on mailboxes.

      2. Take the mailbox that’s nailed to the wall next to the door and put it on a post at the sidewalk.

      3. If that’s too expensive, place a milk-crate at the sidewalk and label it “mail” – it’s not like government-specced mailboxes provide security for the mail from theft or weather.

  13. The only real sensible solution is ending the life of this pig.

    1. Great. Now dunphy’s is gonna show up and defend the program.

  14. The Pony Express, 150 years ago, was more reliable than the USPS is today.

    1. At either $5 per half ounce (the cost at the start) or even $1 per half ounce (the cost at the end), it had better be more reliable. That would be about $130 or $26 in today’s money. And the Pony Express lost money.

  15. Great, so now I have to drive or walk some distance to get my neighbors mail. Awesome.

  16. Does anyone really Need to receive mail??

    1. Sadly, Super-Saver shipping still goes through USPS, so my neighbors spend a lot of time walking my packages over to my house when they were mis-delivered elsewhere.

      Occasionally- during legal situations, people send documents through the mail to be signed (although there are ways around them but not everyone uses them or can).

      The amount of mail I (we) rely on has diminished greatly, which is why the USPS is in the shape it’s in. They’re becoming largely irrelevant.

      1. “They’re becoming largely irrelevant.”

        So are mohair subsidies…

  17. You think the mail is pricey?
    The cost to the world from melting Arctic ice is equal to almost a year of global economic output as releasing methane trapped in the frozen continent leads to extreme weather, flooding and droughts, scientists said.

    1. Ooga-booga! The volcano goddess is angry; must must sacrifice another virgin for the ground to stop shaking and the rains to return.

    2. There’s no frozen continent in the Arctic, dumbass. There is one in the Antarctic.

      1. your beef is with the Journal Nature and Bloomberg News, not with me.

        1. Our beef is with you posting this crap and (feebly) trying to link it to the topic on hand.

            1. So what’s your point – that global warming (if it exists) could have huge economic impacts? What about the economic impact of preventing this? Have you looked doing a cost comparison or are you just kee-jerk, chicken-littleing it around?

          1. Especially when you either don’t know enough to pass on the article’s info accurately of don’t know enough to catch the article’s mistakes.

      2. Which doesn’t have much of any frozen methane under that ice.

        He’s conflating a bunch of shit and doesn’t know enough about what any of it means but he’s definitely got an opinion to share.

        1. “The global impact of a warming Arctic is an economic time-bomb,” said Gail Whiteman, professor of sustainability, management and climate change at Rotterdam School of Management.

          Yes, because “sustainability, management, and climate change” is totally a legitimate academic discipline devoted to finding truth through rigorous scientific methodology.

          1. Its an especially important topic at a SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT.


    3. What, a whole years worth of economic output? How horrible . . . over what timeframe did you say? Oh that’s right, you didn’t.

  18. As long as they put recycle bins next to the mailbox I’m good with that.

    1. what kind of libertarian recycles?

      1. I’ve been recycling for over 30 years now.

        1. I deliberately mix garbage and ‘recyclables’ in my two bins. They all go to the same place anyway.

          1. In SF, I know they don’t. Garbage goes to a landfill, recyclables get recycled, and compost gets composted and gets sent to California farms and vineyards.

  19. Wow man, see that jsut does not make any sense at all dude.

  20. Cut Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday delivery. Bam! Big cost savings, and who needs to get all that junk but every other day? Stop all this half-measures crap!

    1. Well, if we’re not going to half-arse it, why not end the USPS monopoly on first class mail and sell off the assets?

  21. Roll that beautiful bean footage!

  22. Actually I can find you lots of urban mail delivery that works like this. Most condos have mail delivered to a front desk or bank of mail boxes on a first floor. About 8 blocks from Reason’s offices at a late 90s town home development, Harrison Square (13th and W), the houses don’t have mail boxes or mail slots. There is a central bank of boxes for a whole complex.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.