“No one looks to the post office as a beacon of government competence. Actually, no one looks to the post office for any sense of efficiency at all. And while the United States Postal Service has frequently found itself at the butt of many jokes, the truth of the matter is that its incompetence is costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars each year.” –Brittany Hunter, Foundation for Economic Education
If there ever was a blatant example of the federal government’s ineptitude, it is without a doubt the United States Postal Service. It was reported yesterday that for the 12th straight year this horribly inefficient government entity has once again found itself in the red— this time to the tune of nearly $4 billion. This news comes on the heels of regulators approving the largest ever price increase for stamps. Starting January 27th the price for sending a letter will jump from 50 to 55 cents. Other increases will kick in as well.
In addition to 12 years of losses, a report from the White House earlier this year shows that the postal service has a whopping $100 billion in unfunded liabilities. This is attributed to “enormous infrastructure and personnel requirements”— about $70 billion of that is for retirees. According to the report, the result is “no clear path to profitability without reform”. Indeed, there’s no question that postal unions are part of the problem.
As part of the aforementioned White House report, they made the proposal to:
“… restructure USPS by aligning revenues and expenses to restore a sustainable business model and possibly prepare it for future conversion from a Government agency into a privately-held corporation.”
The mere mention of privatization caused a tizzy for some folks in Congress— including some Republicans. It certainly shows how far gone the federal government is when even the atrocious Postal Service isn’t enough to convince those in Washington of the need to reduce the size of government. This certainly lends credibility to Ronald Reagan’s comment when he said:
“Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”
While the United States Constitution certainly empowers the federal government to establish Post Offices, I see nothing requiring it to do so. Article I, Section 8 is clear:
“The Congress shall have Power To… establish Post Offices and post Roads.”
In short, no constitutional amendment is necessary to privatize the federal monopoly known as the United States Postal Service. We just need enough folks in Washington with the courage to do so. It’s time to privatize.
Here’s a great video on privatization. It’s humorous, short and well worth the watch.