I’ve never been that big a fan of the Postal Service. I, like most of you, have gotten pretty aggravated over their seemingly endless cost overruns and incessant begging for increased rates. And when the news came out that they just might run out of money by December, there was a part of me that said “serves them right.”
But then I started thinking and reading about it, and I find myself softening my stance.
The Postal Service is one of the few clearly-defined duties of the federal government, and even my most die-hard libertarian leanings have a hard time rejecting Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution:
“To establish Post Offices and post Roads”.
So, we have to have a Postal Service. And, it seems, it’s pretty much guaranteed to lose money — the current projections say it’ll need about $9 billion to cover its losses just this year. So, what do we do about it?
Here’s my off-the-cuff suggestion:
First up, repeal the law that says it has to earn its own way. That was a good idea, but it’s just not working. So let’s write that off as a lesson learned, and admit that 1) we need a Postal Service, and B) it ain’t ever gonna pay for itself. It’s just one more thing we have to suck up as citizens of the US.
Second, and this is critical that we tie it to #1, we abolish the collective bargaining for postal workers and seriously consider decertifying their union. Without the burden of having to show a profit, the Postal Service will still have an obligation to minimize its losses. And while rumor has it that the Postal Service hires a lot of veterans, something we should encourage, it ain’t an employment agency. It has a function of its own, and that has to be its top priority.
In the old days, there was a fairly simple rule. If you wanted to make good money, go into the private sector. If you wanted to make steady money, work for the government. There are already superb enticements to being a government employee — job security, great benefits, job security, lots of holidays and generous days off, and let’s not forget job security. I see no reason to add “outstanding salary” to the equation. And as one of the people who pays that superb salary, I think I have the right to say so.
No, this isn’t a great solution. But I think of it as a pre-emptive move. The Obama administration is going to have to address the problem, and I can just imagine some of their solutions. A special tax on the Postal Service’s chief competitors — FedEx and UPS — who are actually quite profitable and “need to be punished” for outperforming the Postal Service. Restrictions or demands on them to make the Postal Service more competitive. A special no-strings attached bailout for the Postal Service. All solutions aimed not at actually fixing the root problems, but preserving the status quo for the Postal Workers’ union.
But first, though, before anything else, I want a fucking public apology from the American Postal Workers’ Union for this sack of lies: