Friday, August 12, 2011
Well, not really. But I did write a post earlier this week calling for a plan to wind down the United States Postal Service over the next 15 years or so. Not immediately, but to recognize that its original mission is fading away and it has not identified a new one to justify the considerable expense of the organization, and that an orderly reduction followed by a winding down would be a rare example of governmental competence.
The post office post attracted a lot of comments, many of which revealed a latent statism among our readers which I found, well, surprising! No matter, the USPS is trying to shrink, if only Congress will let it:
The financially strapped U.S. Postal Service is proposing to cut its workforce by 20 percent and to withdraw from the federal health and retirement plans because it believes it could provide benefits at a lower cost.
The layoffs would be achieved in part by breaking labor agreements, a proposal that drew swift fire from postal unions. The plan would require congressional approval but, if successful, could be precedent-setting, with possible ripple effects throughout government.
Let us hope so.
Anyway, read the linked article in its entirety. Among other things, it exposes federal wages and benefits as far more generous than comparable plans available in the private sector. As if we didn't know that already.
I don't think most of your commenters were revealing a surprising statist mentality. Rather, they acknowledge that the state is best confined to doing a few things well, and universal postal service is one of them. It's the other nonsense the state tries to do that creates the true problems.
Anonymous, I may be wrong but I think the post office is not part of the federal government. The fact that the constitution says we must have a postal system does not mean it is a government run operation. The reason they can talk about changing health plans is consistent with the employees not being federal employees. The post office must have had some special deal that allowed their employees to be part of the federal benefit system.