To save the post office, send beer?
One provision of the latest effort to shore up the flagging U.S. Postal Service would allow you to receive alcohol in the mail.
In addition to opening the door to ending Saturday mail delivery in two years, the latest proposal to save the post office includes a provision that would let the U.S. Postal Service begin shipping alcohol across the country.
The ban on shipping beer and wine via the U.S. mail dates back to 1909, 10 years before Prohibition.
The law grew from statutes that prohibited the Postal Service from shipping "poisons, explosives, harmful items, and 'all spirituous, vinous, malted, fermented, or other intoxicating liquors of any kind,'" Josh Sanburn wrote at Time, citing Section 217 of 18 U.S.C. 1716(f) of the Act of March 4, 1909, ch. 321, 35 Stat. 1131.
Private carriers have been shipping beer and wine for years, but the Postal Service hasn't been able to get in on that action thanks to the federal law. Note: Individuals are not legally allowed to ship alcohol to one another via either UPS or FedEx (so no sending one of your favorite wines to Mom for Mother's Day). Those who are licensed to ship wine can apply to either carrier to send it to individuals or businesses, but beer can be sent only between licensed companies, not to individuals -- and shipment of all alcohol is subject to state laws, which vary widely. (Post continues below video.)
Getting into the alcohol shipping business could prove lucrative for the post office, once it's able to establish procedures to ensure that alcohol is not shipped to anyone younger than 21 (requiring a signature for delivery, for example) or to any of the states that prohibit alcohol shipments from out-of-state retailers.
"With the onslaught of e-commerce, as long as (beer and wine) ship legally in terms of states that we're allowed to ship, I think you're going to see it take off," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told Time.
According to Time:
Donahoe says he doesn't believe that getting a federal agency like the post office involved in shipping alcohol across state lines is in any way disreputable. In fact, he already has some shipping ideas if it passes: 2-, 4- and 6-bottle wine boxes for one flat rate that would ship anywhere in the country.
The bill including the beer and wine provision passed the Senate last week.
The issue now moves to the House, which is considering its own bill, and Donahoe has given Congress a May 15 deadline before he says the U.S. Postal Service will pursue its own plan, which includes closing some postal service facilities and possibly hundreds of rural post offices.
More from MSN Money:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Simple way to save the U.S. Post Office is to make it the EXCLUSIVE mailing service for all STATE and FEDERAL MAIL. No FEDEX or UPS for government business.
Plus, change the law so they are not FORCED to fund the retirement fund 75 YEARS IN ADVANCE.
Also, remove anyone from office that voted for that bill.
Electing MORONS hurts all of us.
Why not?..I belong to a wine club and the shipping costs are a big deal. If the Post office can ship cheaper, i
i am all for it!!
Stopping mail on Saturdays is just one more step to get rid of the Post Office. On the other hand, allowing the Post Office to deliver booze would be a smart move.
Hope Congress gets its act together concerning the Post Office, we really do need the service and a lot of non-postal jobs could be lost if the Post Office is knocked off. That Free Market bull about getting better service for less instead of having the Post Office is just that BULL.
I can't wait until my out of shape 300-lb mailman has to start rolling kegs of German beer to my front porch.
They shot themselves in the foot when they banned the shipment of cigarettes through the mail only because they raised taxes and the government wanted to get every penny. So, why not send beer and wine - bet taxes on those items go up so our greedy government officials can give themselves more money. Agree or not agree - vote now.
Post office is not ran by taxes from the people. USPS pay their own bills!! look it up.
How about the Postal system exchanging foreign money in high tourist areas and cities to generate new revenues.
'Or how about having the postal system administer the new US Saving Bond program the US Treasury is setting up on the internet. Considering that only half of the people in this country have access to the internet, they are losing half their potential customers. This could also generate revenues for the postal system.
The U. S. Post Office has been, and remains, too good a bargain. There are 3 problems. One, Congress raided the Post Office revenues to avoid raising general taxes. Two, postal rates are too low (junk mail rates are set by junk mailers bribing Congressment, first class mail rates are about half what they are in Europe, Canada). And, Congress (again!) prevents the closing of un-needed, superflous post offices. The pay rates at the USPO were adjusted years ago to make them more reasonable.
What needs to be done is to remove the direct meddling of Congress and private influence peddlars. Rates should be raised, especially on junk (unsolicited) mail, as well as first class. Postal revenues should be used only by the post office and superfluous facilities be closed.
The reason UPS/FEDEX use the U.S. Post Office for "last mile" deliveries, as well as deliveries to remote areas, is that the USPS is both more efficient and covers more of the country. It also does not need to make a profit, like FEDEX and UPS. Doing away with the USPS will simply make the United States a more expensive place to do business and a more expensive place to live.
Good examples of this would be Sierra Leone where the Post Office no longer delivers mail to most places. Sending a few sheets of paper for home delivery there (via DHL) costs about $200 US for one letter! To send the same letter to Canada costs (DHL) about $30, or the Canadian post office 88 cents. In the U.S., it is currently 44 cents USPS.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
RECENT ARTICLES ON PERSONAL FINANCE
Saving just a single month of expenses may take longer than you think. See how your savings rate affects how quickly you can build a solid emergency fund.