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The Oldest Government Mopololy Is Dying: Snail Mail

Written by Gary North on December 6, 2011

The U.S. Postal Service, better known as Snail Mail, will soon become more snail-like. It is going to slow delivery times.

The U.S. Postal Service, having lost 29 percent of its first-class mail volume in the last decade, will slow its delivery service beginning next spring — the first time in 40 years — in an effort to eliminate nearly $3 billion in costs for the cash-strapped agency.

“We have to do this in order for the Postal Service to become financially viable,” said David E. Williams, vice president of network operations for USPS, who noted Monday that the organization expects to have a $14 billion debt this year.

“We are adjusting operational realities to the current market,” he said, adding that the trend is toward another 47 percent drop in volume between now and 2020.

This offers hope. Technology has undermined the government. For decades, libertarians offered plans to replace it. The government always intervened to stop these private mail services. Then came FedEx. UPS imitated FedEx. Then came email.

The USPS is going to die. It will hang on as a shell, but few people need it any more. After 260 years in the USA — before there was a USA — the mails have been a monopoly. No more.

We have seen the free market undermine the central monopoly. It looked unbeatable. It wasn’t.

There was no well-organized political movement to shut it down. It just became irrelevant.

When Washington’s checks bounce, the nation will carry on. One by one, the Washington bureaucracies will go the way of the dodo. When the checks bounce, only their employees will notice.

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8 thoughts on “The Oldest Government Mopololy Is Dying: Snail Mail

  1. Just think your health care could move as fast as your mail is now. America needs to think long and hard about what Washington is trying to do.

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  3. Maybe the USPS should think about becoming leaner. Start with alternating delivery days. Split areas in half, one gets mail delivered on M/W/F and the other on T/Th/Sat. Cut your delivery drivers down, but maybe not quite in half. Sell off nearly half the vehicles, too. Combine the tiny rural Post Offices…you can't drive 10 miles in Southern Maryland without passing at least two of them. I know of several within 3 miles of another one. Any organization can point to 'people' as their biggest cost. Offer early retirement to those that are close. Severance to anyone that wants to take it. New hires are the last to get trimmed. Fewer properties and buildings as well as vehicles makes sense too. Infrastructure and overhead eat up operating dollars. Retrain people that want to make the move into a new part of the reorganized system, i.e. sorting/processing, customer service, etc… This is exactly what the government did in the military. For the most part – it worked!

  4. dave bradt says:

    And about time. We, as a country, might determine some mail delivery should be subsidized but even then it should be delivered by the lowest bidder. UPS would love to do it cheaper than FEDEX and vice versa.

  5. When will the people in charge wake up and understand that they can't keep paying those high wages and retirement benefits for all those people who treat their customers like animals? I am treated badly most of the time when I go to the post office. I do however think they need to keep the post office in operation, but when they have people like that who make much more than they deserve to make, and they obviously can't fire them (due to the unions) they are going to have problems. The postal operations needs a major restructuring, and I think the unions won't let them do what needs to be done.

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  7. … [Trackback]…

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  8. and yet you spent the time to reply.