Thursday, January 29, 2009

USPS in Trouble, Still Plans to Cheat Your Kids

It looks like even the venerable United States Postal Service is not immune to the plagues of quasi-governmental agencies. In fact, it's not immune to the plagues of business or government that are tormenting our country today. According to an article in today's Washington Post, both the troubled economy, and political irresponsibility are affecting this social staple. Oh, and then there's that nasty little “series of tubes” called the “internets” that has rendered it, as Robert Cohen, a former Postal Regulatory Commission official called it, “primarily a broadcast medium relaying advertising from businesses to households.” You know, junk mail. Previously referred to as “third-class advertising mail,” the once consistent revenue source has been officially renamed, “standard mail.”

Postmaster General John E. Potter testified before a Senate subcommittee yesterday, pleading for Congress to change a statutory requirement that mail must be delivered six days per week. He is looking to cut either Tuesday or Saturday delivery, the two slowest days of the week, in order to cut costs in the face of a $6 billion deficit projected for next year. Last year's deficit was $3 billion when deliveries dropped from 211 billion to 202 billion items. Meanwhile, the general success of private mail delivery services even while competing with this quasi-governmental agency is the best argument for the efficiency of the free market. While in today's state of quasi-socialist corporatism, none of the “upper-end delivery market” companies qualify as true free market entities, at least they can demonstrate the resulting economic prosperity from competition.

I have learned from my study of politics and experience in the military, that 90% of the time, when the government tells you something, the reality is far worse. I would bet that the estimated $6 billion deficit is a very conservative estimate, to put it nicely. So this time, it wants Congress to change a law. Guess who's going to be back for a piece of a bailout/economic stimulus package/taxpayer ripoff/debt burden for our children?

Which gets us back to the plagues of government. As George Washington would remind us, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Putting our country in debt as our government has is not merely fiscally irresponsible, it is immoral, because it means that every child in America is born into debt, and debt is slavery. I love this country and believe that it is a self-righting ship, but I worry how much worse things will have to get before they get better. Fortunately, my generation and those following, are starting to wake up, and a growing number are divorcing themselves from this insanity and declaring, “IT'S NOT MY DEBT!