A Post-Post Office World
Townhall.com ^ | April 17, 2013 | John Stossel
Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:25:16 AM by Kaslin
Even parts of government that look like a business never get run with the efficiency of a business. Just look at the post office.
They buy commercials and tout their services the way private businesses do. They offer a service that customers want.
But a real business can’t get away with losing billions every year. (I guess in the era of bailouts, I should say shouldn’t get away with it.) The post office lost $16 billion last year, despite having all sorts of advantages that most private businesses don’t have.
They have a near monopoly on first-class mail delivery. You want to deliver something to someone? You better not put it in their mailbox — that’s illegal. The U.S. Postal Service doesn’t pay sales tax or property tax. They don’t even pay parking tickets.
With advantages like that, how do they lose money?
They are part of the government, under the thumb of Congress, and that invites calcified, inefficient behavior.
“We are expected to operate like a business, but Congress has not allowed us the flexibility to operate like a business,” said Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Mickey D. Barnett on my TV show. It’s all “part of being a quasi-governmental entity. That’s how the cookie crumbles.” Barnett added that the post office has “union contracts that have no layoff provisions.”
Reality is at odds with the proud claim on the post office’s website that “Since Ben Franklin … the Postal Service has grown and changed with America.” But it’s barely changed. You don’t tend to see change in “quasi-governmental entities.” You see stagnation.
This year the post office tried to limit Saturday delivery to save money. But Congress forbade the change. The politicians’ constituents like getting their mail six days a week.
“They don’t want a cut in Saturday delivery,” Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., told me.
“The USPS does need reform………..