Commerce

Going Non-Postal

October 31, 2011

Multiple Pages
Going Non-Postal

Big business is sending a missive and urgently hoping that Americans respond. Addressed to Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, Occupiers, and any other political recipient imaginable, the message is simple: Citizens do not need a post office.

This epistle has been repeatedly dispatched for years. We must reduce delivery from six days to five. We must close designated offices. We must deter impending bankruptcy.

Despite such looming financial disaster, we are also informed that the post office is the government’s only “self-sufficient” government agency. Perhaps this is the problem. Of all extant services, the post office is one of the few which government ought to be funding.

Government long ago abrogated legitimate public enterprise to fund an endless variety of personal concerns. However much one complains (and many do), the post office serves the vast majority of citizens. All you need is an address. If you don’t have one, your local branch will rent one for a nominal fee. Everyone is represented if they want to be.

It’s not so with several other programs. Quite a few government services benefit only statistically infinitesimal groups. Rather than cancel postage for all, why not curtail any of the following for some?

“Of all extant services, the post office is one of the few which government ought to be funding.”

Crack-baby care. If one wants to hold them, fine. If one needs rock them, charming. If one seeks them to suckle at your teat, cheers. Yet I see nothing but an exceedingly poor social investment. Disagree? Prove me wrong. Find funding elsewhere.

Methamphetamine addicts. Actually, any addicts. I don’t care what one puts in their bodies, but neither do I care whether they recover. I don’t know them, so why should I? Moreover, why must I pay their treatment costs? They can have my sympathy, but not my money. Detox on your own.

Monuments to September 11. We already have one—it’s called Ground Zero. Official remembrances at the actual attack locations are legitimate. Constructing monuments in every other village, hamlet, borough, town, and city in America is a waste. If you want to commune on that terrible day, so be it. But if you live in Des Moines, purchase a ticket eastward.

Welfare. All of it. (Dickensian workhouses optional.) During the Depression an older acquaintance of mine with five children lost his job. How did he survive? He got three more part-time jobs. No one is starving or can starve in America if they do not wish to do so. Look at the waistline of your nearest illegal Mexican for proof.

Affirmative Action anything. If you do not like the way a particular business goes about its business, go elsewhere. Better yet, start your own. Either way, quit whining. Employing people to investigate this atomizing nation’s myriad hurt feelings was always a ridiculous proposition and only becomes more so with every million newcomers.

Any of the above, serving few, should be excised before a local post office, serving all.

A move is afoot to monetize everything currently taken for granted in America. Water, roads, and postal services are but a few. Try your aqua usage with Evian for a month and review the bill. Imagine the government treating your car like a taxicab and billing you for every few rotations on your odometer. Read the history of for-profit police and fire departments to realize how precarious your “rights” are. When the post office is foreclosed, how long before the Internet has a new “tax” per email? These are coming and some are already here.

Few have means to live as we do devoid of government subsidy for widely used resources. The object is degradation of First World standards of living. This has been the agenda over thirty years. The Great Global Equalization is coming, and it is as much about changing overall expectations as convincing us the post office is unnecessary.

Mailing a manila envelope weighing only 0.1 pounds from New York to Siberia (generally considered the other side of the world) takes approximately ten days and costs exactly $121.75 from UPS. FedEx quotes the same service at $125.78. DHL’s website gives no rate information, which one should always read as “expensive.” USPS, by contrast, charges only $29.95. Same package, same ETA, same service—only at a fourth of the price.

You only get one guess whether the private industry fee shall go up or down after the venture charging a quarter the amount of its competitors is pushed out of business. By the way, USPS also allows one to drop a postcard those 5,500-plus miles (8,900-plus kilometers) for only 98 cents. There is no such option with the private carriers, so you must add another $124 to the base sum.

For all its failing, sometimes government gets it right. These times are often overlooked because it is easier to scoff and buy into crackpot theories of the “privatization rationale” than to get off your assumptions and do your homework. Currently Americans enjoy some of the most astounding services ever created. One of these marvels reaches out to every nation and people on the globe no matter how distant or isolated. The benefit is eminently efficient, generally punctual, and incredibly inexpensive.

American citizens, largely due to their laziness, are on the verge of losing something which, once dismantled, stands almost no likelihood of being rebuilt. Should it be ruined we will have only ourselves to blame for this astounding lack of foresight. We will always have those booming numbers of crack-baby geniuses to set things right again, or perhaps we can email our Congressman to complain for the low, low fee of only a dollar per page.

Before it is too late, do yourself a favor: Gather up a few pennies, then send a postcard to someone you don’t know in Timbuktu or other points exotic. You’ll never have a better lark in your life for the money. Do it before the service is gone. Accomplishing such a minorly major geographic feat may be the sort of story which one day amazes your grandchildren.

 

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