Worry about the disappearance of permanent written

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Unformatted text preview: ritten records. If there were no “real” letters, diaries, governmental files, handbills, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers and books— real ink on real paper— what would be left? Will electronic records even survive for 100 years? And what will happen if they don’t? . . . The Postal Service has been required to pay its own costs since 1970, and it made a profit until 2006. Since then, declining mail volume has created major problems. It delivered 17 percent fewer pieces in 2009 than it did in 2006, and lost $1.4 billion. That money was borrowed from the U.S. Treasury. More declines in volume, coupled with the soaring cost of retiree health benefits, could create $238 billion in losses over the next 10 years, Postmaster General John Potter recently said. Approximately half of the present 300,000 postal workers are expected to retire by 2020. Eliminating Saturday mail delivery would save $40 billion over a decade. Potter also wants to close and consolidate 154 post offices. More and more part-time workers would be hired as full-time workers retire. Clearly, mail delivery isn’t going away entirely. It’s an essential government function, like feeding the Army. No private contractor will carry a letter from the Florida Keys to Alaska for 44 cents. I’m going to do my bit by sending more letters. Our Christmas card list will be expanded. Birthday cards will go to more friends and family. And I’m going to thank more people, in writing, for more things. I will send more cards and letters to offer encouragement, interest and sympathy. It shows good breeding. I have shoeboxes filled with kind letters sent to me through the years by readers who liked something that I wrote. I always thanked them by return mail. Many friendships began that way. Those messages weren’t deleted 100 at a time; they were saved, and they can be reread. . . . It’s satisfying to write a “real” letter, put it in an envelope and drop it into the mailbox. A day or two later, I know, someone will hold it and connect with me. Who knows? It may be read by someone I will never meet, 100 years from now. Not a bad investment, for 44 cents. “Sending, Getting ‘Real’ Mail Still Magic,” by Kevin Cullen, copyright © 2010 by Commercial News. Used by permission. © 2012 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org. GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE. -8- 2012 AP® ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION FREE-RESPONSE QUESTIONS Source G Ochopee Post Office, Florida, 1970s. N.d. Photograph. Collection of the United States Postal Service. USPS.com. Web. 9 May 2011. The following photo, from the Web site of the United States Postal Service, shows the Ochopee Post Office, the smallest free-standing post office in the United States. Ochopee Post Office, Florida, 1970s © 1970 United States Postal Service. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission. © 2012 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: www.collegeboard.org. GO ON TO THE NEXT PAGE. -9- 201...
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