Kodak and the Post Office

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What should be the fate of the Postal Service in the United States? In a sense, no one really knows. Nor is there any reason why they should.

The real answer to the question whether the Postal Service is worth what it is costing can be found only when various indirect government subsidies stop and when the government stops forbidding others from carrying the mail — if that ever happens.

If FedEx, UPS or someone else can carry the mail cheaper or better than the Postal Service, there is no reason why the public should not get the benefit of having their mail delivered cheaper or better.

Politics is the reason why no such test is likely any time soon. Various special interests currently benefit from the way the post office is run — and especially by the way government backing keeps it afloat.

Junk mail, for example, does not have to cover all its costs. You might be happy to get less junk mail if it had to pay a postage rate that covered the full cost of delivering it. But people who send junk mail would lobby Congress to stay on the gravy train.

So would people who live in remote areas, where the cost of delivering all mail is higher. But if people who decide to live in remote areas don’t pay the costs that their decision imposes on the Postal Service, electric utilities and others, why should other people be forced to pay those costs?

A society in which some people make decisions, and other people are forced to pay the costs created by those decisions, is a society where a lot of decisions can be made despite their costs being greater than their benefits.

That is why the post office should have to face competition in the market, instead of lobbying politicians for government help. We cannot preserve everything that was once useful.

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  • Amused

    Wrong Bunky , the USPS is NOT " a technically private buisiness " , it is a government service . It was not instituted to make a profit . The US Patent Office is a government service , it was not instituted to make a profit . Both were created by "the founding fathers " as so many of you love to say , for the greater good of the country , and yes just like the military , they are paid for by taxes . After all even the continental Army had to be paid ….or would you begrudge that too . I really hate yo pee on your parade , but there will always be a USPS , and that simply because there are millions of Americans who dont have computers or fax machines and never will . YES IT WILL BE STREAMLINED FOR EFFICIENCY . Yup , when we're placed in our graves lol….our elatives will STILL be sending sympathy cards to our survivors via USPS .

    • pyroseed13

      Hey Amused, here is an interesting idea for how to run a society: You want something, you pay for it. No need to have others subsidize mail delivery in high cost areas. There is also no reason not to suspect that a private company wouldn't arise that specifically targets those markets.

  • StephenD

    A few points: The USPS is Self-Sufficient in that the postage pays for all of its costs. No tax dollars go to the Post Office. Also, Congress has imposed upon the USPS to pay AHEAD into its retirement funds to the tune of 8+ Billion. No other Govt. Agency has had to do this. FedEx and UPS both pay higher salary than does the USPS. They can pick and choose and it is never a flat rate but by area, distance, etc. The USPS has its hands tied and MUST deliver to every household in the country at the same price.

  • StephenD

    If this changed and they could compete with their rates you'd find they are less costly than FedEx or UPS. They are top heavy. They have many offices that can and should close. But to suggest that its inefficiency is insurmountable is baloney. I used to work for the USPS. I HATE the USPS. Its upper management is like most companies where the "good ‘ol boy" network is in play. But they know their stuff. If they could determine and compete (do you realize they have to petition Congress to raise the price of a stamp?), BTW, Private companies (FedEx and UPS) CAN and DO deliver mail. Just not 1st class mail to the front door; if they could compete openly and let the consumer determine if the price is too high or worth it, they would fare well. If the consumer doesn't like the cost business will drop off. Let them loose. We in society may benefit from open competition.

  • Michael

    I don't like the idea of private companies delivering mail to my porch. When I order from UPS, I ask them to come on my porch. Mail is sent by people I may not like. How would I know the delivery person is legit and not just looking in windows? The USPS should change to a three days per week delivery system to save costs. Snail mail can't compete with instant electronic communications and shouldn't try.