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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Postman's Last Ring

America must rein in the runaway of federal waste if she is to survive in this austere new world. Government spending has become a fatted beast that consumes grotesque amounts of tax dollars while proving nearly useless in its limited services, Lady America can suffer such wasteful gluttony no longer.  With Congress preparing to vivisect social services and President Obama again demanding his pounds of flesh from Social Security and Medicaid in order to avoid the violent cuts of sequestration, the attitude towards government programs on Capitol Hill is, "If they move, kill 'em!"

The downside to such a scattershot approach is the indiscriminate damage on functioning and non-functioning government programs alike. Still, if a beloved service like the US Post Office has to go down unnecessarily to save us from our own voracious debt, then so be it. Better by you, than me as Old Taft would say.

Before we start to wax nostalgic about the glory days of mail delivery let me remind you that the Post Office has lost $1.3 trillion over the last three months of 2012 alone. That's a monumental amount of waste, even for our government. This failure only proves the truism that the United States Government is horribly incompetent in most all it does, and would be better served handing most services over to the efficient management of the private sector.

The factualists out there will counter with claims of a Congress-imposed full-guarantee of seventy five years worth of pensions, as if such a trivial obligation could really sink such a storied service like Post Office. Sure, it would be complete madness for a private sector company to honor such exorbitant pension programs, but government jobs always provide insanely cushy pay and benefits, so it seems only fitting they would have to pre-fund pensions for so many years out.

The advent of email was a major nail in the coffin of the US Postal Service, with pen and paper made antiquated  the only people who still sent letters were basement-dwelling curmudgeons scrawling out manifestos to be sent in with the letters to the editor. The proliferation of international overnight carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and others made the post office's snail-paced deliveries redundant. Sure the price was triple with private carriers, but it got there twice as fast!

So you see, it was not this unprecedented mandate to pre-fund three quarters of a century worth of pensions that closed the post office, but instead it was an inability to evolve with the businesses the grew up to challenge its monopoly. There is no need to grow wistful over the postman's last ring, no need mourn the loss of an American institution, instead we should all trust in the infallible hand of the market to more efficiently to deliver mail, for triple the price. 

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