United States government corporations: the United States Postal Service
A look into the office of the United States Postal Service
In a way, governments must intervene in the regular affairs of its country so that it can control the operations that pertain to its fiscal economy. The government's involvement in the United States economy has been evident from the beginning. Never has the national government lost this intimate connection with economic life. Indeed, it is not possible to discuss the subject of economics without reference to the governmental and legal framework within which the economy moves.
In pursuance to this end, it acts like an entity that maintains a "business" so that the income derived herein is channeled to the government treasury as government funds. One such business endeavor is the creation of a government- owned corporation or government-controlled corporation. This kind of corporation is created as an agency of the state for narrow and limited purposes without the powers and liabilities of self-governing corporations. It is created by a certain government to put into effect some of the governmental powers. They render public service or supply public wants.
One such corporation is the United States Postal Service (USPS); a federal corporation which renders postal delivery services to the whole country. It is recognized in almost all parts of the United States. Accordingly, although federal corporations have been part of the national life, they remain obscure-a status they no doubt find convenient. Today, more federal corporations exist than ever before in peacetime, and the numbers keep growing.
The United States Postal service began its operations on the 26th of July, 1775, with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. Beforehand, publisher William Goddard (1740-1817) first suggested the idea of an organized U.S. postal service in 1774, as a way to pass the latest news past the prying eyes of colonial British postal inspectors.
Accordingly, the United States Postal Service today handles mails from all over the country which usually totals to hundreds of millions of letters and messages everyday to about 135 million of business enterprises and homes.
Its operations can be likened to private delivery service entities which deliver cargoes and dispatches to all parts of the globe, but USPS' services are much diversified because of its experiences and length of time it has been operating in this industry. Its history elucidates that it has grown and changed with America. Discovering the history of the Postal Service is a journey into the history of transportation, economics, industrialization, communications, and government.
Mails carry with them memories, stories, and a variety of correspondences that uplift the human spirit or bring heart-wrenching news; they contain private messages that need fortification from self-seeking individuals who tend to open these letters in search of financial gains. Thus, the Postal Act of 1792 was enacted in order to protect the sanctity of these letters and to increase the reach of information throughout the country. Under this law, all postal officials were forbidden to open any letters in their charge unless they where undeliverable.
Before the restructuring of the United States Postal Service under the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, this service was supported by the American people's taxes in order for it to keep going. Earlier, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in a congressional session spoke of a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise. Thus, the United States Postal Service has been restructured to integrate with it a role of a quasi-public entity; that of a private enterprise which has fiscal autonomy or it possesses the power to control its finances. Consequently, the fees collected for mailing services are taken as government funds under its treasury.
The creation of a postal service in the United States was a brainchild of George Washington who started the idea that this service advocates the free flow of information between citizens and their government as a cornerstone of freedom. He dreamt of a nation bound together by a system of postal roads and post offices.
Government corporations and organizations exercise their powers only to the extent granted to them by Congress; thus, in the case of United States Postal Corporation, it does its roles and functions under the guidance of the law that created it. It cannot doultra vires acts; those acts beyond its powers. This entity was created for the efficient transmittal of information across the states; business efficiency in the sense that the accomplishment of this task can be meet through the creation of a postal service in contrast to the bureaucratic and departmental way of dispensing with this mail delivery function.
There is no doubt that the United States Postal Service has greatly contributed to the development and progress of the country. Thus, it is apt for it to be included as one of the government's entities which cater to the needs of the general public. Without it, the delivery of important information to other individuals on the other side of the country is impeded which may lead to the discontinuance of certain important governmental transactions with its constituents.