Dafydd @ Big Lizards:
So the U.S. Postal Disservice now plans to cease delivering mail on Saturdays. But wait, don’t be too harsh: Sure, they’re curtailing service; but don’t forget, they’re raising rates! Current price of first-class (hah) mail is 47¢, up another penny. One presumes that by the end of the year, we’ll be forking over half a buck per letter.
This will save (wait for it) two whole billion samolians per year! This is about (wait for it) sixteen minutes and thirty-four seconds of government spending.
Of course, the annual Post Office shortfall is more like $16 billion per annum, most of it driven by (wait for it) an overly generous, defined-benefit pension plan. The Post Office was supposed to put $5.5 billion per year into an account until it reached $55 billion, which would then be used to capitalize the pensions; but of course, they can’t even do that. So the problem is getting worse, not better.
The aptly-acronymed PO is supposed to be self-funding; ergo, Congress does not directly fund operating costs. Instead, they indirectly fund them by waiting until the PO goes bankrupt — about three or four times a year — then bailing them out. Who does the Postmaster Generalissimo think he is… the commissar of Government Motors?
Maybe I’m just a naive, running-dog Capitalist, but I have a modest and perhaps Swiftian proposal: Instead of the current postal model of “failing and bailing,” or the fallback position of adding another few tens of billions of dollars spending on the PO, let’s try my four-point plan for saving Saturday mail delivery, and perhaps even adding Sunday:
- Repeal the law the forbids private companies from delivering first-class mail.
- Let FedEx, UPS, and any other private company set its own prices and delivery schedules for first-class mail and be legally responsible for its own services, just as they are now for packages. Let them compete with the Post Office where they can, reducing the size of the federal workforce. Wherever mail delivery is fully covered by private companies, drop federal delivery.