Overrated: The US Postal Service

post office losses It never ceases to amaze me that when I point out an institution that really shouldn’t exist or has past it’s useful life (see libraries), how outraged people get. Is it just because they adverse to change or could it be that they are just angry at themselves for never realizing how silly said institution is. So, today I take on a bloated, arrogant and outdated establishment called the United States Postal Service.

Point #1 – They aren’t really that good at it….

First, the institution is beloved for their creed of Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. However, this is my first point. While this sounds great, it is far from true… in fact, I’ve had local mail carriers not deliver mail for various reasons including weather. My most annoying response is if there is car parked anywhere seemingly within 10 feet of the mailbox the carrier claims “obstruction” … or if there is a shovel of snow under the mailbox then also “obstruction”.

Next, my mail is frequently lost. I’ll never know the amount of mail that I’ve never received but frequently lost items make me realize how bad my local carrier is. At least every other week, I receive a piece of mail that is mis-delivered.

Additionally, two items mailed at the same time from several states can arrive days apart. No joke. This happens a lot. I have twin daughters. My mother in NJ sends them cards, they never arrive on the same day… most recently 3 days apart. Absurd.

And finally, different location, I’ve witnessed a postal carrier spend 30-60 minutes just socializing with an office receptionist. Daily. Apparently, that’s good management and use of their time?

You might say that this is a local poor performing location or specific carrier(s). You might be right but then I’d have to ask why there is no measurement or accountability. Because it doesn’t have to be. See my next point.

Point #2 – Unions rule

You guessed it – unions – yep, the same ones who nearly killed the automotive manufacturers in our country control this group.   That always means entitlement, taxation-without-representation, political implications and lack of accountability. Even recently, when the idea of suspending Saturday service was introduced (which would have saved a reported 2.2 billion dollars), the unions killed it to keep the artificially bloated salaries of their carriers in tact.   The USPS employs over 600,000 workers making it the second largest civilian employer, second only to Walmart. It is also reported that USPS employees make 32% more than what they would if it was a free market employment. No wonder the USPS can’t make any money!

Just follow the money. USPS employees pay unions, unions line the pockets of the Democratic party, who in turn keeps them under the protections that only the government can offer. What you ask? See Point #3

Point #3 – Government interference or lack there-of

The government loves to block perceived monopolies – at least ones that they see as politically advantageous – however, the USPS is protected by government. How so?

  • The USPS has exclusive use to mailboxes. If you’ve never read the rules on this, you should. By law, a mailbox CANNOT be used for any means other than mail delivery. Not only can’t you compete but FedEx, UPS, etc… can’t use the mailbox (despite the fact you bought it!)
  • The USPS does not have to pay property taxes – but their overnight competitors who have to pay all taxes and expenses? Of course, they do.post2
  • The USPS doesn’t have to pay vehicle registration fees and they are exempt from being ticketed. Bet you didn’t know that!! No parking tickets, no speeding tickets… nothing. It’s like having diplomatic immunity.
  • They do have to pay federal corporate income taxes. Well at least there’s that. But w
    ait… where does that money go? Directly back into the USPS. Smh…
  • Unlike its competitors, the USPS is immune from certain civil actions, including libel, slander, misrepresentation and any injury arising from the misdelivery or loss of uninsured mail.”

Tad DeHaven, budget analyst for CATO institute, says, “It’s time to let go of the nostalgia for the USPS and bring America’s postal services into the 21st century with privatization, open competition and entrepreneurial innovation” Also see Downsizing Govt & USPS

E-Mail has just about made regular mail obsolete to begin with and I don’t even want to bring up how Christmas/ holiday cards keep them in business. That’s a whole ‘nother rant anyway.

Ultimately this bloated and arrogant institution that has served the American public for 24 decades needs to go. At a minimum they should have to compete in a free market economy and remove their monopolistic protections. We all will get better and cheaper service as a result. It’s the American Way!


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