By James J. Devine
The US Postal Service will be bankrupt by December without an injection of tax dollars but so would almost every other function of this republic, except Social Security and Medicare, so calling this a government bailout seems inappropriate.
The reason we have a government is to do things and most of the time those are things that cannot or should not be done by private enterprise.
Law enforcement, the courts, prisons, education, national defense and a whole host of regulating responsibilities are among the chores not best suited to a free market geared toward pleasing the highest bidder.
Remember when we privatized and reduced red tape regulations on Wall Street, and the global economy crashed? Think cause-and-effect for a minute and you will see the rationale behind this argument.
The Post Office is one of the first government entities established by our founding fathers and it works better than any other mail delivery system in the world. Mail delivery is so essential to a modern economy that is among the principle purposes for which society forms a government.
If you believe private enterprise can do better, you must go to any FedEx or UPS outlet tomorrow and tell them you want to send a one ounce envelope across the country for fifty cents or less.
Reality does not measure up to the hype no matter how many Fox News bubbleheads or Republican con-artist politicians tell you lies that defy common sense. Those people justify their distorted worldview by talking about ‘survival of the fittest’ as if it were a religious principle.
Perhaps because they do not believe in evolution, they also fail to understand that with the exception of about one out of ten, you are not among the fittest. If you are reading this newspaper instead of the Wall Street Journal, then you could be dead or enslaved if libertarian anarchists like Ron Paul had their way.
The fact that postal operations have worked without taxpayer money for so many years is a testament to the efficiency and effectiveness of government: The US Postal Service is the finest mail delivery system in the world.
Email, telephones and faxes have diminished the amount of mail but there is nonetheless a vast demand for daily delivery to every household.
The newspaper you are reading, it you are not looking at this story online, was mailed at a special rate that makes it possible for you to enjoy a local free press.
Millions of businesses are able to effect transactions with customers each month because they have access to mail and the consumers are afforded an incredible convenience and savings of time because instead of trudging to the local utility company, they can put a check in an envelope, stamp it and rest assured that their money will be safely delivered.
The sad truth is that while it performs thousands of functions extremely well, even if some don’t always work the way we want, government operations require funding.
Social Security and Medicare are funded by taxes, even though they have accrued such vast savings that they could operate for some number of years even if revenue were to suddenly stop.
The military troops in hostile places would be out of funding it the government failed to collect tax revenue tomorrow. So would almost all the things that government does to assure us security, freedom and justice.
Only the US Postal Service takes care of itself, with postage receipts typically covering the entire amount of money it spends. Much of this problem can be addressed by making some accounting changes and some of it will subside when the economy gets back on its feet, so this is a government bailout we should endure.
The US Postal Service is a government program, after all. It is a good one and it should continue to be accessible at a fairly low cost to the hundreds of millions of Americans who rely on it every day.
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