The postal service has a new source of revenue coming: clothes. The agency has licensed its motto to be used for a line of all-weather smart apparel
called "Rain Heat & Snow." But while extra money for the postal service could be a help in its current struggles, the details of this deal are a reminder of exactly why it's struggling:
This isn't the first time the Postal Service has made a foray into the fashion world. In the 1980s, the agency sold all sorts of branded goods—neckties, t-shirts, posters and coffee mugs—with images of postage stamps on them.
The merchandise, sold in post offices for nearly a decade, was a hit. But Betts said they had to stop selling the goods after lobbyists argued to Congress that the Postal Service's function was just to process mail and sell stamps.
The hope is that the new "Rain Heat & Snow" deal will be okay with Congress because the postal service is just licensing the name to a private company which will make the clothes and sell them in department and specialty stores. But how perfect a reminder is this of the degree to which the postal service's problems are created by Congress
? Congress took away a revenue source to keep the agency from competing with businesses. Now, Congress is saying the postal service needs to pay its own way (including pre-funding retiree health benefits, a burden other organizations don't face)—but, oh, sorry, new revenue sources are still off-limits, unless the private sector gets its cut. How can you possibly look at that and not realize the goal is killing another public service and cutting public jobs?