Published: Sunday 19 January 2014
For some, the postal service has become an ideological punching bag, proof that “government programs” don’t work and that the state inevitably bureaucratizes services better left to the private sector. In the case of the postal service, this narrative lacks a critical element: fidelity to truth.
As an independent agency under the umbrella of the federal government, the United States Postal Service receives little-to-no government funding; it pays for itself through sales of its stamps and services, and is only in financial trouble because of a vindictive, unfair law that forces it to fund its pensions seventy-five years into the future. As Jim Hightower points out, the postal service hasn’t taken a penny from taxpayers since 1971.
Whatever the reasons for the public's conception of the postal service as an institution weighted down by socialistic bureaucracy, current events suggest otherwise. Over the 2013 holiday season, it was a private carrier, United Parcel Service, which collapsed under the weight of demand and inefficiency. When it happened, UPS’s spokespersons and the usual gang of bourgeois media shifted into high gear in defense of the corporatist paradigm. At least one retail spokesperson said consumers shared the blame; other fluffy critics pinned the debacle on consumerism itself.
But compared to private carrier UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, READ MORE