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CAGW opposes US Post plans to hawk clothing
Feb '13
In response to the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) announcement that it plans to develop a line of “smart” clothing, CAGW excoriate 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.”

“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”

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 annually. 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.


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