Today, in response to the United States Postal Service's (USPS)
announcement that it plans to develop a line of "smart" clothing, CAGW
excoriated postal management for its misguided attempt to step into
non-postal, commercial markets when the organization is facing
bankruptcy and is on the verge of needing a taxpayer bailout. In its
announcement, USPS executives confirmed
that they have entered into a licensing agreement with the
Cleveland-based Wahconah Group to market a line of men's fashion called
"Rain Heat & Snow," which will use technology to create "smart apparel,"
also known as "wearable electronics."
Last week, CAGW commended USPS management for making a tough decision to
drop back to a five-delivery service for first-class mail in order to
save $2 billion annualy. This week, CAGW is lambasting the same
management team for taking its eye off the ball and engaging in some
Tron-like fantasy in which a nearly bankrupt entity launches an
artificially-intelligent clothing line. Not only is fashion, high-tech
or not, explicitly not a postal product, the apparel sector is mature,
highly competitive, and well-served by some of most popular, profitable,
and competitive companies on the planet.
"It is absurd for USPS managers to believe that the organization should
try to compete with some of the most nimble, innovative, cutting edge
companies in the world," said CAGW President Tom Schatz. "Maybe they are
not aware that Nike, Reebok, Champion, Columbia, The North Face,
Patagonia, and many others are already well ahead in the manufacturing
of high-tech clothing. There is nothing remotely postal-related about
the development of a clothing line. This effort should be dropped and
postal management should refocus all of its energy on the daunting task
ahead of moving the USPS's aging superstructure toward solvency. Instead
of dabbling in high-tech wearables, the USPS ought to be worried about
high-tech mail delivery. With losses of $8.5 billion in fiscal year (FY)
2010, $5.1 billion in FY 2011, and $15.6 billion in FY 2012, the USPS
teeters on the brink of financial ruin."
"This is nothing more than an attempt to find some 'make-work' projects
for the USPS hundreds of thousands of excess USPS employees. The project
will certainly create jobs in the writers' rooms of late night comedians
who need material for their monologues," Schatz concluded.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit
organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and
mismanagement in government. To learn more, visit www.cagw.org.
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