The Wall Street Journal

Thursday, February 1, 1990
Letters to the Editor: Quick, Take a Letter

In regard to James Bovard's Dec. 29 editorial-page article
"Mail Monopoly Says Happy New Year": The bleak scenario Mr.
Bovard paints of the Postal Service's condition is not
accurate. He blithely ignores the fact that the organization
is healthy and is charting a course for the future. We have
adopted a long-range strategic plan to meet the challenges of
maintaining reasonable rates and providing quality service
with productive employees.

The major falsehood in the article is that "Mail traveling
400 miles will be considered on time if it arrives within
three days." We are working with our customers at the local
level to re-evaluate first-class mail standards. This is
being done with an eye toward protecting the cash flow of
businesses, as well as the private correspondence of all
citizens. The aim is the consistency of service that our
customers expect, not what Mr. Bovard claims to be "the
greatest intentional mail slowdown. . . ."

When Mr. Bovard claims "fancy new equipment often proves
ill-suited and is a major cause . . . for reducing overnight
mail delivery" he makes another major distortion. Our new
automation equipment, in fact, increases accuracy of
delivery. Last year it saved us $190 million. Since it went
into use early this decade -- while annual mail volume rose
from just over 100 billion to more than 160 billion --
automation has allowed us to avoid hiring 35,000 additional
people to process such a huge increase.

The bias from which Mr. Bovard writes is obvious. His
organization, the Cato Institute, clearly opposes efforts by
the Postal Service to improve its competitive posture,
especially in the international marketplace. In fact, one of
the institute's directors is party to a lawsuit seeking to
prevent the Postal Service from lowering rates for its
international Express Mail.

The article is just another case of Mr. Bovard mixing
facts with fancy to suit his own and Cato's agenda --
breaking up the Postal Service for the profit of a few to the
detriment of the many.

Anthony M. Frank

Postmaster General



The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, February 7, 1990
Letters to the Editor: Gentleman Jim

I am deeply distressed by the tone of U.S. Postmaster
General Anthony M. Frank's Feb. 1 letter to the editor about
my Dec. 29 article "Mail Monopoly Says Happy New Year." I am
one who has always believed that debates between two
gentlemen about how to best serve the public should be
carried on in a calm, dignified, rational manner. This is
especially true when there is no disagreement on the
goal-better mail service -- only a relatively minor
discordance about the means to the end.

James Bovard

Rockville, Md.