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Privatize first-class mail and other Post Office services?

Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆ 2012/04/23 18:11:45
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Historically, the United States government has maintained a post
office, originally as a Cabinet department but lately as a
“public-private partnership.” Under that arrangement, one company, by
law, has a monopoly on delivering mail of certain “classes.” (Other
companies can deliver express mail, or parcels.)


The Constitution at least authorizes this.


The Congress shall have the power…to establish post offices and post roads.


That has not stopped other companies from challenging the monopoly
that the United States Postal Service enjoys. But the government, or the
labor unions of Post Office/Postal Service employees, have guarded the government’s monopoly on first-class mail—simple letters.


In 1844, Lysander Spooner challenged
the Post Office monopoly with his American Letter Mail Company. The
government took various legal measures and closed him down in 1851. The
government took so long only because many federal juries nullified
the Private Express Statutes and acquitted Spooner’s messengers. (Jury
nullification can set one defendant, or group of defendants, free one
time. It can never set a binding precedent.)


In 1968, Thomas Murray formed the Independent Postal System of America. Time said this about IPSA in 1968:


Shades of Wells Fargo and the old Pony Express. In cities
throughout Oklahoma last week, a pair of young businessmen, Thomas
Murray, 43, and Darrel Hinshaw, 31, were operating their own private
postal system in direct competition with Uncle Sam—and making money at
it too. No wonder. The U.S. Post Office these days is a monument to
inefficiency, and week after week the catalogue of complaints grows
fatter.


If any of that sounds familiar, it should. The present US Postal Service does no better than the old Post Office did.


IPSA at first carried only third- and fourth-class mail. But when that company tried to carry first-class mail, four different letter carriers’ unions sued them. Though those unions lost
at trial, the legal expenses were too great for the company to carry.
The company collapsed in the mid-1970′s. (Note: some of these were the
same unions that called a strike against the Post Office. In reply, President Richard M. Nixon deployed troops to sort the mail.)


The Hawaii Post and Rattlesnake Island posts are the only two “local
posts” that run today. They serve communities that are too remote for
the current US Postal Service to serve.


The only other companies that competed with the Post Office for any
of its services were United Parcel Service and the old Railway Express
Agency. Then came Federal Express, which launched the boldest business
model yet: overnight delivery from any part of the country to any other.
They, too, challenged the Post Office, especially in their advertising.
Finally the Postal Service Commission made a new rule: any First Class mail pieces in an overnight express envelope must each bear a USPS stamp. Can we say, Stamp Act?


Today the USPS must shut down
several post office stations and mail-sorting plants. The reason:
electronic mail has displaced longhand or typed letters for most
messages. Already the unions are pushing a bill to stop the USPS from
doing this. Yet the putative President has already proposed to stop
delivering or picking up mail on Saturday.

So how about it? Did Lysander Spooner and Tom Murray have the right idea? Could private companies handle first-class mail better?

Read More: http://www.conservativenewsandviews.com/2012/04/23...

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Top Opinion

  • ETpro 2012/04/24 18:20:27
    Yes
    ETpro
    +3
    It already is privatized, you nitwit. The post office has operated off of sales revenues for 30 years. It is not taxpayer funded.

    What's got the post office in trouble is an idiotic law passed by Republicans requiring that the USPO entirely pre-fund its retirement account for the next 75 years. Congress created the problem with the post office, and Congress should fix it. Or we could just use Fedex letter packs at a bargain rate of $13.75 each.

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  • ScottyG - Faqueue 2012/04/26 19:27:40
    Yes
    ScottyG - Faqueue
    +1
    Yes, it might actually be profitable and one less tax we need to pay. It also get rid of another crappy union that we have funded that's broke.
  • 2468 2012/04/25 18:34:03
    No
    2468
    +1
    The reason there is even a debate here is that the Right is working to make the Post Office fail so it can kill a large union block.

    The idea that they need to fund 75 years of retirement funding is meant to kill their bottom line.

    Remove that and it is self supporting.

    Sure it could use some new technology and technology markets.
    Allow the Post Office to add new services as it makes sense like copy machines, check cashing, banking, and other similar extensions to the current post office we have all had for many years.
  • William 2012/04/25 05:47:26
    Yes
    William
    +1
    The cost of the U.S. Postal Service over the last half decade has continued to climb as the need for first class mail has declined. The deficit for last year was $9 billion and increases in the rate have not stemmed the losses.

    Currently the post office outsources its cross-country transportation of letters to FedEx and other airlines. Since both UPS, FedEx and other delivery service companies already have routes that run the same ground as the USPS, why not allow competition to fill routes freed up by attrition. This way the market can handle what is left of the dwindling letter delivery business.
  • jimrthy BN-0 2012/04/25 02:29:02
    Yes
    jimrthy BN-0
    +2
    The USPS does have its place. This is a prime example of trying to use completely outdated laws to maintain an extinct business model, though.

    It needs to either modernize and update its policies to deal with the issues it is truly suited to handle or just get out of the way and let the free market do the things it does best.
  • ETpro 2012/04/24 18:20:27
    Yes
    ETpro
    +3
    It already is privatized, you nitwit. The post office has operated off of sales revenues for 30 years. It is not taxpayer funded.

    What's got the post office in trouble is an idiotic law passed by Republicans requiring that the USPO entirely pre-fund its retirement account for the next 75 years. Congress created the problem with the post office, and Congress should fix it. Or we could just use Fedex letter packs at a bargain rate of $13.75 each.
  • Temlako... ETpro 2012/04/24 18:21:37
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    A "private-public partnership" is not a totally private firm. Nor can it make that claim when it has protection for its monopoly.
  • morris44 ETpro 2012/04/24 19:28:51
    morris44
    +1
    Good post.
  • Wyzard 2012/04/24 12:34:06
    Yes
    Wyzard
  • The Birdman ~ PWCM~JLA 2012/04/24 09:42:56
    Yes
    The Birdman ~ PWCM~JLA
    +2
    Everything the Federal government handles it fks up!
  • 2468 The Bir... 2012/04/25 18:38:51
    2468
    Everything?

    Highways?
    CDC?
    CIA?
    Military?
    EPA?
    USDA?

    .....I think if you look you will find that a lot of things work but don't show up just for the reason that they work quietly in the background. This leaves you to generalize a few issues to damn the whole of government services.

    Privatization is a way to remove oversight and control.
    Some services are not profit generating nor should they be for the best outcomes for the people.
  • Temlako... 2468 2012/04/26 01:34:36
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    +1
    Yes, everything.

    Highways? That gives the fedgov the power to tell states what speed limits to set.

    CDC? Make that the Seedy See. As in: the Holy See and the Seedy See.

    MIlitary is one of the *proper* functions of government. But somehow the government manages to foul that up, too. It's a shame, but we have to look at it.

    EPA? They want to "crucify" companies they don't like.

    USDA? What do they know about what the farmer on the ground deals with?
  • The Bir... 2468 2012/04/26 08:38:48
    The Birdman ~ PWCM~JLA
    +2
    Quote "Everything?

    Highways?
    CDC?
    CIA?
    Military?
    EPA?
    USDA?"

    Really!? Those are your examples of what they haven't fked up? Let's take a stroll through them! Come with me!

    Highways- Can you remember when the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapsed? "Design flaw and lack of maintenance" not to mention the deteriorating state of the roads, and infrastructure across the country! Feds overspending in the wrong places allow the country to rust away!

    CDC- 1996 the CDC's failure to respond to CFS and it's consequences, or the "Swine flu vaccine" screw up. For the most part the CDC does it's best, but government bureaucratic BS gets in the departments way of response times!

    CIA- Really? Neither one of us wants to go down that road! Intelligence is not what they do, I know!

    Military- As a Veteran myself, I can say the fighting men and women of our Armed forces are not the problem, the government that decides when and where they go is! And the politics, there isn't a soldier out there that hasn't seen a Politician take credit for a mission that they were never even close to! But watch, soon you may see things happening that will blow your mind as the Military is concerned! Mark my words!

    EPA- They started out with a mission to clean the air of the country, to speak for the environment which they ...



    Quote "Everything?

    Highways?
    CDC?
    CIA?
    Military?
    EPA?
    USDA?"

    Really!? Those are your examples of what they haven't fked up? Let's take a stroll through them! Come with me!

    Highways- Can you remember when the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapsed? "Design flaw and lack of maintenance" not to mention the deteriorating state of the roads, and infrastructure across the country! Feds overspending in the wrong places allow the country to rust away!

    CDC- 1996 the CDC's failure to respond to CFS and it's consequences, or the "Swine flu vaccine" screw up. For the most part the CDC does it's best, but government bureaucratic BS gets in the departments way of response times!

    CIA- Really? Neither one of us wants to go down that road! Intelligence is not what they do, I know!

    Military- As a Veteran myself, I can say the fighting men and women of our Armed forces are not the problem, the government that decides when and where they go is! And the politics, there isn't a soldier out there that hasn't seen a Politician take credit for a mission that they were never even close to! But watch, soon you may see things happening that will blow your mind as the Military is concerned! Mark my words!

    EPA- They started out with a mission to clean the air of the country, to speak for the environment which they did in the late 70's, but the government gave them too much power and they drove business out of the US with over-regulations, and they haven't slowed down, causing business to flee to overseas manufacturing! I personally know of at least a dozen local companies that had to close due to regulations, and the agency had no obligation to promote commerce or industry! Too much emphasis on the environment without proper balance with socio-economic concerns makes this one of the most dangerous agencies in government! And at the very least, the EPA is a majority shareholder of blame for the unemployment rate today!

    Lastly, USDA- No body wants to eat contaminated food, but just watching the news will show you the series of recent high-profile meat recalls involving E. coli infections, mad cow disease, and listeria, among other maladies, call into question the policies and competence of the agency! Not to mention the interference they cause for the independent farmers across the country that have been called into court on ridiculous charges for the purpose of eliminating this type of farm in favor of the Corporate run farms that do the governments bidding! What's next, I have to dig up my vegetable garden because the government says so??

    Don't jump on the Federal Governments bandwagon so quickly, they started out with a very limited scope, to protect it's citizens and their rights, not to interfere with our day to day life! But over time, the Federal government has grown into a Business of getting too involved with peoples lives, and they want it to keep getting bigger, which costs us more everyday! And what of our kids? What freedoms will the Federal government target in their lives? Will all these agencies know their place or become a monstrous machine, killing jobs and industry to the point we just report to the Government office for our forehead tattoo which enables us to receive our rationed amount of government grown foods and our meager entitlement for incidental approved expenses, while living in our little government supplied apartment specially approved for our government approved lifestyle? Where does it end? Big government is not what we need.
    (more)
  • Bob DiN 2012/04/24 08:35:10
    Undecided
    Bob DiN
    +1
    I can't see any private company being interested in the USPS mess.
  • aneed2know 2012/04/24 06:00:45
    No
    aneed2know
    +2
    Hell NO, this is another example of conservatives only want private corporations to run our country, not only no but Hell no
  • chaoskitty123 2012/04/24 05:05:00
    Yes
    chaoskitty123
    +2
    Post offices are being shut down at any rate and I have seen Liberals and Progressives actually agreeing that it may be time to close down the USPS because it has proven incapable of competing... they just have no ideas.

    Examine this.

    Millions of Americans have computers and millions of these buy stuff on the internet. The USPS could negotiate special shipping rates with businesses like Walmart to deliver online purchases and then promote the companies who accept such negotiated contracts. In return, Walmart could work a deal where the USPS move into Walmarts customer care area to process USPS activity there so the USPS could shut down locations where they're losing money.

    Say that won't work? That's the way the USPS actually did work throughout much of it's early existence as people went to the local store where the USPS operated. The reason they began creating their own separate locations is that it used to be prosperous enough to do this... and they really haven't been prosperous for decades.

    Doing this, you eliminate a lot of overhead costs like electricity and since most stores sell money orders and places like Walmart even allow you to pay your bills there... the USPS has already lost most of what it does to stores anyhow since you can even get stamps at the stores.

    ...











    Post offices are being shut down at any rate and I have seen Liberals and Progressives actually agreeing that it may be time to close down the USPS because it has proven incapable of competing... they just have no ideas.

    Examine this.

    Millions of Americans have computers and millions of these buy stuff on the internet. The USPS could negotiate special shipping rates with businesses like Walmart to deliver online purchases and then promote the companies who accept such negotiated contracts. In return, Walmart could work a deal where the USPS move into Walmarts customer care area to process USPS activity there so the USPS could shut down locations where they're losing money.

    Say that won't work? That's the way the USPS actually did work throughout much of it's early existence as people went to the local store where the USPS operated. The reason they began creating their own separate locations is that it used to be prosperous enough to do this... and they really haven't been prosperous for decades.

    Doing this, you eliminate a lot of overhead costs like electricity and since most stores sell money orders and places like Walmart even allow you to pay your bills there... the USPS has already lost most of what it does to stores anyhow since you can even get stamps at the stores.

    Sometimes, you just have to examine the matter from a more realistic point of view.

    I'm not saying to turn it 100% over to private enterprise.

    However, companies like Walmart offer $4.00 prescription refills so that millions of Americans can literally save thousands each month for their medication (I save over $500.00 a month) and pay less than people in Canada, France and other places the political left likes to point out have "universal healthcare" when all of these nations are moving towards heavier privatization of healthcare because even with price controls, they just don't have the money to cover their so called universal healthcare... it's only universal, as the left defines it, if it's government controlled. Walmart, Target and others prove that private companies can, in fact, use Capitalism to fight Capitalism because Walmart is using true Capitalism with their $4.00 plan while Big Pharma uses Plutocracy which is why they charge so much.

    Walmart can do for snail mail what it did for prescription drugs and that's not rightwing thinking as leftwing thinking only wants the cost of things reduced and to not lose services they believe in and want to preserve.

    However, if people on the left oppose the ideas I expressed above, then it's not about right or wrong... it's 100% political on their part and that means Socialism.

    The USPS began in partnership with private business and there's no reason they cannot return to their roots.

    Heck, you could even take advantage of this to order food from the local grocer or fast foods like pizza delivered to your house and just pay the shipping costs... but, of course, this would mean they would need vans for the route to have something to keep cold gro's cold and warm food warm.
    (more)
  • Dana 2012/04/24 04:53:46 (edited)
    No
    Dana
    +2
    Anyone who votes yes on this is not thinking..... millions would lose their jobs, the cost of mailing a simple letter via fed Ex or UPS is about $10, the post office is less than .50. Ship a package weighing 40 lbs in a flat rate priority mail box (3 days across the whole USA) for $15.50 at the post office. Fed Ex, UPS, same box... about $40 (ground on a truck 7-10 days across the USA) depending on where it goes. Media mail for the post office is a flat rate, $2.99 I think? Can stuff in several books for that, any size any weight, same price for whole package. Fed Ex, goes by size and weight... 5 books, say 5 lbs, probably about $15-$18. Can anyone use basic economics here? Mail a letter for .43 or use Fed Ex and pay $10. Package heavy weight, $15.50? or Fed Ex pay $40. Etc etc...



    What about Grandma? She likes to get her mail each day, cards and such.. , but some slug wants the post office out of business and thinks that Grandma, who can no longer drive her car, can just plain get her mail every month or so, when someone decides to go get it for her instead. Must be Grandmas own damn fault that she can no longer drive and likely can not get on the computer to pay her bills. So, oh well, the GOP hates Grandma as much as they hate the postal service.



    Hello???????????????? IS ANYONE OUT THERE THINKING STRAIGHT ANYMORE????



    LEAVE THE POST OFFICE AS IT IS... THERE IS NOT ONE SINGLE GOOD REASON TO ELIMINATE THEM. NOT ONE.
  • Louisa - Enemy of the State 2012/04/24 04:35:13
    Yes
    Louisa - Enemy of the State
    +2
    There's no reason not to. I also believe that having mail delivered to your door step is a little frivolous. I'd be willing to pick it up from somewhere else.
  • Peewee ~PWCM~ 2012/04/24 04:25:11
    No
    Peewee ~PWCM~
    +2
    NOOOO!!! I love my little post office! There's never a line, we know all the carriers by name cuz we all go to community functions. The postmaster himself even goes out on his own time on Christmas morning to deliver the packages dropped off late on Cmas Eve.
  • Matt 2012/04/24 04:16:32
    No
    Matt
    +2
    Every single problem that our country faces was caused by our government. Every single solution that our government offers makes problems worse and creates new ones too.
  • rt 2012/04/24 02:41:57 (edited)
    No
    rt
    +2
    Privatizing them would be another transfer of wealth to to already wealthy. It would get rid of a lot of good paying jobs dropping those employees to a low middle class wage and allow anybody wealthy enough to buy into the business to make their personal pile of money bigger. If they would quit making the PO pay more into their retirement fund than necessary it would be a profitable business as it is. Right now they have enough paid in to last the next 75 years and the government is forcing them to pay so much the PO looks like it is losing money.
  • Cliff 2012/04/23 23:25:14
    Yes
    Cliff
    +3
    Before long, the feds will force the post office to raise the price of a stamp to $1.00 so that the feds can suck more money from them.
  • goatman112003 2012/04/23 23:11:58
    No
    goatman112003
    +2
    No let the post office work out their problems. UPS and FedEx don't delivery where I am even with overnite delivery so that argument is bogus.
  • Peewee ... goatman... 2012/04/24 04:27:21
    Peewee ~PWCM~
    +2
    In my little town UPS & FedEx deliver bags of mail & packages.
  • Red_Horse 2012/04/23 21:33:11
  • ray 2012/04/23 21:09:58
    No
    ray
    +2
    The USPS delivers to every single household in America and will deliver a letter to any person who receives mail anywhere in the world for less than 50 cents.

    UPS and Fedex won't even allow you to purchase one of their envelopes for that price.
    Should a private postal carrier take over , the prices would skyrocket .
    Private carriers already charge much higher than USPS , without competition from USPS there would be no limit on charges.
  • Temlako... ray 2012/04/24 00:49:48
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    +1
    The history of Lysander Spooner's American Letter Mail Company, and Tom Murray's Independent Postal System of America, give the lie to your statement. Why do you think I put those links in there? I don't put links into my polls just to pretty them up. I expect people to follow the links and learn some history.
  • ray Temlako... 2012/04/24 01:27:34
    ray
    From persona expierence Shipping packages UPS Was always the most expensive route to take . At times multiples of 2 to 5 times the cost.

    Not a Time subscriber , the link does not help me .
    Here is a free article , three years after the Time article
    http://news.google.com/newspa...

    For my purposes , USPS simply offers more for less.
    They should simply stop messing around and charge $1.00 a letter for first class mail.
    The 1 and 2 cent price increases every couple of years is not going to help .
  • Peewee ... ray 2012/04/24 04:30:20
    Peewee ~PWCM~
    +1
    Not only that the USPS will check anyway to see if you have mail to pick up.
  • jr 2012/04/23 21:08:46
    Yes
    jr
    +2
    UPS and Fed Ex are good examples of how private firms are far superior to government bureaucracy's in efficiently performing public services
  • Temlako... jr 2012/04/24 00:50:25
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    +1
    And don't forget the ALMC and the IPSA. They showed that private carriers can do better delivering first-class mail.
  • Lady Whitewolf 2012/04/23 21:07:41
    No
    Lady Whitewolf
    +2
    And put even more people out of work? And I'm getting tired of all the anti-union BS here lately. And I have to second Contarded Chickenhawk... "I'm getting pretty sick of this "bend" over and let private business do a number on the rest of us... "

    If they want to get rid of Saturday service, that's OK by me... Mon-Fri. mail delivery would be enough. And scale back a bit the salaries of the top Postal CEO's. But outside of that, Privitization, NO!!
  • Temlako... Lady Wh... 2012/04/24 00:51:05
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    Why don't you follow the links to the history of ALMC and IPSA and find out what you're missing?
  • Bob DiN Lady Wh... 2012/04/24 08:40:58
    Bob DiN
    Many postal workers are going to be jobless no matter what happens. This is a huge mind boogling mess government is so famous for.
  • Theresa 2012/04/23 20:45:02
    Yes
    Theresa
    +2
    The gov't monopoly has to end!
  • sjalan 2012/04/23 19:54:13
    No
    sjalan
    +2
    If you were to privatize the post office they'd be out of business within 5 years. Are you willing to do that? I'm not.
  • Temlako... sjalan 2012/04/23 20:04:22
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    Yes. Other companies would step up to take their place.
  • sjalan Temlako... 2012/04/23 20:13:36
    sjalan
    +1
    And the price would be thousands of postal employees out of work. Nope not buying into that one. I want my daily delivery Monday through Friday. Don't care about Saturdy. And frankly if the cost went to a $1.50 per first class item this month I wouldn't care since I mail so little.
  • Temlako... sjalan 2012/04/24 00:53:05
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    Now let me get this straight: the government must inevitably raise the price of a first-class stamp above the cost of even making the greeting card that goes into the envelope, but you don't mail very many letters, so you're not going to speak up? Roland Niemoller realized, too late, that that was a Big. Fat. Mistake.

    Follow some of the links I left, and you'll see what you're leaving on the table.
  • Tea in the Harbor 2012/04/23 19:54:11
    No
    Tea in the Harbor
    +3
    Another step in removing access to the American Dream from even more people.

    I think conservatives would rather have no America at all than one in which labor has a voice.
  • Temlako... Tea in ... 2012/04/23 20:05:04
    Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆
    And I say that labor would rather have no America at all than one in which an individual has any right to the wealth he creates and produces.

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