Agreed. The USPS missed the bus on this one in a big way. By the time the 90s rolled around, it was obvious that physical mail was going to be massively reduced over the next several decades. Every chart I’ve seen since and before has reinforced that. The unfortunate part is that instead of trying to find a way the Government can actually help and provide a value-added service, the response from Congress always seems to be “Tax the Internet!” Well, guess what, that doesn’t work either.
Providing HIPAA-certified accounts? Gold. Providing NIST-approved email for govvies? Gold (for instance, I can send a SECRET document via the USPS registered mail. What’s the electronic equivilent to that?).
We have so many opportunities to latch onto the great things the private sector is doing, and then expand on them for the public good. Which, really, should be the optimal configuration for any system like ours. What about eBook publishing for the government (where’s the push from GPO into BN.com, Amazon.com and others?). What about providing grants and support for open source software projects that help small businesses be more competitive, communities reduce their IT costs, and government to raise the tide for everyone?
These are the challenges today that show how out of the loop Government has become. My hope is that its just generational – there seem to be plenty of people slowly winding their way through the ranks who have similar attitudes and ideas.