It's a tough time for small businesses.
According to economic data from Opportunity Insights, small business revenue dropped 9%, and that's just in the last two months. Ouch.
The Trump Administration's efforts to enfeeble the US Postal Service, part of an ongoing project to skew election results in favor of the Trump-Republican political party, is likely to cause even more pain to small businesses across the country.
We know by now that there isn't a sacred cow that Trump-Republicans wouldn't happily slaughter to win, but their win-at-all-costs approach may have crossed a line when they decided to kneecap the US Postal Service, simply to make it harder for people to vote by sending in mail-in ballots.
It's been a shocking four years in terms of the demise of the country, the undermining of basic democratic principles, and our loss of stature globally. We are now exceptional in ways we never hoped to be.
What modern democratic country doesn't have a functioning postal service? It's embarrassing.
What types of governments have autocratic leaders that subvert public agencies and functions to advance their own interests? We are now clearly in that group of crap countries, albeit hopefully not for long.
The CDC, ostensibly a nonpolitical body designed to protect us, now says, at Trump's direction, that we only have to test people for Covid if they have symptoms? What?
People are going to die because of that selfish move by the Trump-Republican party to game pandemic metrics just to suggest that things are better, with the hopes that they can keep people just happy enough to win a challenging election in November.
Beyond pathetic. Just evil. This is worse than "Let them eat cake," as it's effectively the Trump-Republicans saying "Let them get Covid."
But, strangely, it's the gutting of the postal system that crosses a red line for many of us, and it's really our love for small business that has us up in arms.
Business expert Rhonda Abrams, writing for USA Today, says that "An attack on the U.S. Postal Service is an attack on America's small businesses."
If you force business to ship using UPS or Fedex, Abrams notes, it will erode their profits and threaten their existence. "The USPS is the only shipping option giving small businesses a fair shot at competing -- and surviving -- against the online giants," she added.
Shipping of goods aside, many small businesses I know also rely on USPS to collect checks from customers who haven't yet made it into the modern era of online bill payment.
When checks don't come in, cash flow suffers and payrolls are missed. Business will close down if we don't have a reliable postal service. It's that simple.
But businesses that rely on direct marketing via mail are perhaps the ones that are most threatened by the politicization of USPS.
During the pandemic, it's harder to reach people face to face, so direct mail is actually enjoying an uptick in activity.
Research has shown that up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails. The effectiveness of direct mail has resulted in an increase in direct mail for many small business types, particularly for catalog-powered business, as well as health care, elder care services, personal care products, and educational products.
Sure, some niches, like travel-oriented or event-oriented businesses may be sending less direct mail now, but, as a rule, many small businesses simply can't live without a functioning, well-funded USPS.
Trump and friends, when you undermine the USPS, you undermine and needlessly punish American small businesses, particularly those that rely on direct mail marketing and those that ship and receive goods via USPS.
Is that really the legacy you want for yourself?
Oh yeah, I forgot.
Win at all costs, and let them get Covid. Never mind.
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