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The New Yorker has a terrific story about how the US Postal Service, an institution that once was "central to our social, financial, and intellectual lives," is looking to reinvent itself. An excerpt:

"The U.S.P.S. still has infrastructural might, in the form of a highly interconnected network of well-placed buildings and people. So here’s a thought experiment: What if we were to reconceive the postal system in light of that network? What more could the service do with its infrastructure?

"There is actually an agency within the U.S.P.S. that has been thinking about these questions: its office of the inspector general, which is responsible for conducting independent audits. David C. Williams, who recently retired after serving as the inspector general for more than twelve years, defined his position expansively, publishing reports on all kinds of things that the postal service could do. Some of these services would rely on postal carriers, who visit most of the homes in the country almost daily. These employees could, for example, deliver groceries, alert social-services agencies when people on their routes need help, or, even more ambitiously, supply 'wellness services.' The latter might include delivering medicine to elderly people, or even just checking in on them in exchange for a fee. The idea seems particularly useful in rural areas, where health services are scarce."

Other proposals on the table, the story says, "would take advantage of the postal service’s buildings - for instance, by allowing post offices to provide basic financial services, like cashing checks, keeping savings accounts, and even taking out small loans."

There is, of course, an entirely different vision for the USPS, The New Yorker writes, "that was set in motion years ago: in D.C., Donald Trump’s organization is turning the iconic Old Post Office into a luxury hotel."
KC's View:
The biggest problem the USPS has is that there are all sorts of legal impediments to these kinds of innovations - Congress has legislated it so that all the post office can do is deliver packages.

Now, I have to be honest here. Given its record, I'm not sure I want my local post office in the health care or financial services business. Even if all the impediments were removed, there would have to be an enormous staffing and cultural change ... but maybe we could make the USPS a kind of laboratory for actually allowing and encouraging innovation in a government bureaucracy.