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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Going postal

The Postal Service wants to make drastic changes in its operation, including ending Saturday deliveries, with what can be fairly described as an overly optimistic goal:

 "At the end of the day, I'm convinced that if we make the changes that are necessary, we can continue to provide universal service for Americans for decades to come," Potter said Monday. "We can turn back from the red to the black, but there are some significant changes we need to make."

That's pretty close to delusional, I think. The only way for the Post Office to get back into the black is for it to be able to serve whom it wants to when it wants to and under the conditions it wants to, just like Federal Express and its other competitors do. But universal coverage is its raison d'etre, and if it's not going to offer that we might as well privatize it all the way and let it sink or swim on its own, without congressional mandates. The fair question is whether universal service is still valid today, or whether there are so many other ways that the country is tied together that we don't need that anymore.

Charles Krauthammer had an interesting take on TV last night.  As a conservative who doesn't like to see money thrown around, he said, he could see eliminating the Post Office. But as a conservative who values tradition, he'd like to see it stay around awhile longer; keep subsidizin it but gradually lessen the amounts as the digital world takes over more and more.

It's worth noting that in a time when Congress does whatever it wants to, whether it's justified constitutionally or not, establishing post offices is at least clearly spelled out in Article I, Section 8.


Wed, 03/03/2010 - 4:28pm

Now might be an auspicious time to invest in an armload of those "forever" stamps, you know, the ones that remain good no matter how much postage rates rise.

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 9:34pm

Buggy Whip manufacturers disappeared with the advent of the automobile. The Postal Service will disappear eventually as a result of electronic mail and private package delivery guys wearing brown or blue uniforms

I say "eventually" because Congress has to decide to quit protecting home turf. Some people think that USPS will always be there because rural service will not be done by private carriers. The fact is that America could probably put free home computers in all of farm country for far less than one year's operating budget for the Post Office.

I read somewhere that privatizing the Post Office is impossible because there is no worthwhile business for profit-seeking investors to put down money on. Cato Institute even proposed giving the whole shebang to the postal workers . . . lock, stock and stamps. But these unionists are going nowhere except deeper into the government morass.

Steve G
Wed, 03/03/2010 - 9:37pm

As a local postal employee, management decisions and union demands have driven USPS into the ground. We are primarily a business advertising outlet now. We need to recognize that and adjust accordingly. The national economy has totally changed the need for the original purpose of USPS.

Buying stamps is not the same as shares of stock.