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.