By Mel Carriere
One of the main tenets of faith repeated over and over again by members of the GOP and their laissez-faire capitalism minded allies is that goods and services should be allocated by people voting with their dollars, not by voting at the ballot box. In other words, if a product is popular then people will approve of it by buying the product, and government should not have to step in and play referee to keep antiquated goods and services available that people don't want or need. Okay, let's for a minute suppose that this "voting with dollars" doctrine is true, and then are ask ourselves why, after the United State's Postal Service's record breaking December, that the politicians aren't easing off in their call for postal reform.
The people most definitely used their dollars to vote for the Postal Service in December. Parcel volume was up 18% over last December as 524 million total packages were delivered. On December 22nd alone the USPS delivered 28 million packages. Exit polls at post offices throughout the country demonstrated that the dollars of the people voted "postal" in a landslide victory, and yet if you browse through the headlines in the Postal Reporter or the Postal News our enemies are still screaming "Off with their antiquated heads!"
What's the deal people? We played by your rules, by your guidelines, according to your philosophy, and we kicked your butts. Yet you still keep your heads buried in the sand, pretend that you cannot see the obvious, and continue to call for the end of Saturday delivery as the only way to save the Post Office. Save us? Who needs saving? We delivered 20 million packages every Sunday throughout the holiday season. Not only should Saturday not be eliminated, it looks like Saturday is not enough. The people and their dollars have proclaimed that not only should Saturday delivery continue, but getting packages on Sundays is a great idea too.
I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago in which I took the Denver Post to task for writing about the Postal Service's "antiquated business model." Well, Denver Post, the antiquated business model is booming. The Postal Service is more popular as a mode of package delivery than ever before, as indicated by the stellar December numbers. People don't want to pay $60 to ship a package via UPS that they could mail with us for $13. Duh.
If you took Econ 101 in High School, you will remember that another important component of the pure capitalism the GOP claims to advocate is price competition. Companies that cannot produce a service for a competitive price should not exist, according to this doctrine. Therefore, since UPS and FedEx obviously cannot compete with postal prices, perhaps they are the business entities bogged down by an antiquated business model. Yet I never hear Darrell Issa or any of his anti-postal cronies call for UPS or FedEx reform. Why is that?
The simple truth is that so-called "postal reform" is a deadly smokescreen hiding an insidious, dark agenda. The public Postal Service that belongs to the American people does the job so efficiently that it scares people. It does not fit into any of the textbook models that the postal "reformers" cling to religiously. Public companies are supposed to be inefficient and bogged down in bureaucracy. When this turns out not to be the case, when the reality turns out to be different than expected, then they have to either pretend not to see the reality, or else bribe their friends in Congress to punish the dangerous competitor with legislation that imposes a 5 billion dollar a year fine for operating efficiently. The "reformers" are not so laissez-faire after all when it comes to using Congress to destroy a competitor that they cannot do in themselves by running their business operations more efficiently.
The people have voted "postal" with their dollars, and yet the first headline I saw tonight screamed out that mail processing should be privatized. The fourth one down said that Massachusetts postal workers are bracing for job cuts. They want to cut the people who processed the record-breaking December package delivery. Get over it people, you lost! Be a good sport, walk away, and leave us alone to do the job that the people's dollars said we obviously do better than anybody else. Stick that one in your Econ textbook.
Image from: http://www.foxbusiness.com/government/2013/02/06/post-office-saturday-cut-too-little-too-late/