Going Postal

by

Terry passes along the following:

Here’s another entry for your too-big-too-fail series:
Is the USPS too big and/or too essential to fail? Should it be allowed to collapse upon itself like the dying star it is? Should/Could it be privatized?

Is the USPS too big and/or too essential to fail? Should it be allowed to collapse upon itself like the dying star it is? Should/Could it be privatized?

I agree with the article that our postal system remains an outrageous bargain, so my prescription for their shortfall would be to raise prices.  I have no real objection to the USPS being shut down and privatized, but I don’t see it happening.  My guess is, if nothing else, there would be national security objections.  But maybe not.  I really have no idea.

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4 Responses to “Going Postal”

  1. jazzbumpa Says:

    Is the USPS dying, or just in a budget crunch?

    At some level, I believe in user-pay systems, but only to a point. As you say, the USPS probably serves national security functions, and its existence (also probably) generally benefits the population in ways that might not be obvious.

    So – raising the rates is not unreasonable. But neither is increasing the subsidy.

    Also, since times are a-changin’, some adaptation of the dept. and its services is worthy of serious study.

  2. Terry A. Says:

    I deal with — and am angered by — the USPS a great deal in my work. Beyond the rate hikes that hit the general public — the cost of first-class stamps, mostly — the USPS has increased its rates across the board while simultaneously reducing the services it provides.

    The infuriating part is the smugness with which many of these people operate. They know they aren’t going anywhere, and they have no qualms about telling their customers where to shove it.

    A little competition might do ’em a world of good. Or we can just abandon them totally for e-mail and online banking.

  3. urbino Says:

    The latter is pretty much what I’ve done, though not out of any animus toward the PO.

    As for competition, don’t FedEx and UPS and the rest provide some? I’m not sure what you mean.

    As for smugness, it seems to be epidemic. Witness Officer Crowley. Or an insurance company. Or most any customer service department anywhere. They all spend most of their time inventing new ways to say, “It sucks to be you.”

    All that said, I’d just like to add: I feel your pain.

  4. Terry A. Says:

    FedEx/UPS: Yes for overnight letters/parcels/packages, no for 50,000 periodicals mailed each quarter or 20,000 junk mail pieces (hey, I’ve come to terms with the slimy parts of my job). That’s still strictly a USPS function, and boy, do they know it. Jerks.

    I would probably miss them more than I realize (if the USPS went belly up), and I do like the locals in the downtown Goobertown post office and would wish no ill on them. But those pencil pushers in the Customer Service Centers (HA!) in Memphis and New York and whatnot? They can kiss my FIM Bar (postal jargon).

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