The Washington Post

Postal Service privatization: New York magazine takes delivery into its own hands

News this week that the U.S. Postal Service has defaulted on a second $5.6 billion benefits payment — the second miss in two months — is sure to reawaken a debate among think tanks such as the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation that USPS should be privatized

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has blamed Congress for not taking action on the proposals USPS has put forth over the past year, as they recess until after the November elections, saying, “Absolutely, we would be profitable right now.”

New York magazine, thanks to increased postage costs with declining service, has decided to experiment with its own kind of delivery privatization: door-to-door delivery by hand in Manhattan.

After a test than began in May, sparked by concerns that post-office cutbacks would only continue to worsen, New York is now rolling out hand delivery to doorman buildings and commercial addresses in Manhattan. “Hand delivery means you’ll get New York on Monday mornings — earlier than is possible by U.S. Mail,” New York explained in a letter to some subscribers.

The cost is competitive with the post office or cheaper, a New York spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “It also gives us experience in this arena, in preparation for future USPS changes that may be more onerous.”

Once the rollout is complete, New York will be hand-delivering nearly 60,000 subscriber and complimentary copies to Manhattan addresses, the spokeswoman said, calling that about 60% of the magazine’s file in Manhattan.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.

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