United States Postal Service is on the brink of extinction

The second largest employer in the U.S. is facing a default on their $9.2 billion deficit and the possible shutdown will leave 560,000 workers unemployed.

The only way for the system to survive would be to transition into a five day delivery system, shut down thousands of postal offices and lay off 120,000 workers, said current Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.

People are sending 22 percent fewer pieces of mail than they did four years ago due to “e-diversion, ad spend shift and the economic recession,” resulting in $16 billion less revenue, according to a 2010 USPS report. With the availability of convenient and faster forms of communication, the postal service is becoming obsolete and is no longer the standard for sending messages.

Yet according to a 2010 Gallop poll, 68 percent of Americans favor that the USPS move into a five day delivery system and avoid the alternatives—government funding, higher stamp prices or shutting down the system altogether.

Moreover, three in four Americans say that it is “very important” that the postal service remain in business, according to the same poll.

Every form of communication has a process. For mail delivery, the message— while not received as immediately as in other forms—can be personal and heart-warming if received from a loved one.

Instead of looking to standardize communication, we should be looking to diversify it so that every form has an intended audience and a specific purpose.

Newspapers and magazines depend on mail delivery for their subscriptions. While some people view and pay bills online, many people still conduct payments through mail. Seventy-six percent of American adults own a computer and only 61 percent do any banking online, according to a 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center. Finally, every job lost due to the shutdown of the USPS represents another individual that will struggle for survival in this dreadful, job-stricken market.

Americans are not ready for fully digitized mail. Mail delivery is a legitimate form of communication that millions of Americans depend on every day—for jobs, messages and information.

The only way to save the system would be for it to directly receive taxpayer dollars—something that has not happened since 1982. Other ideas, such as campaigns to encourage Americans to write more mail and cutting worker benefits, will also need to occur.