Oh the irony! In the same week that Democrats cram through their Health Care takeover legislation, yet another government entity admits it is losing money hand-over-fist and has no idea how to stem the tide of red ink. Postmaster General John Potter admitted to the Senate committee responsible for oversight of the Post Office that they are expecting to lose $238 billion over the next ten years.
Mr. Potter wants to eliminate Saturday delivery to save $3 billion a year, but the Senators don’t like that idea. He discussed the need to cut some of the 36,500 post offices around the country (more locations than McDonald’s or Starbucks), many of which see far too little traffic to be financially justified. The Senators weren’t crazy about that idea either. He pointed out that his organization is heavily burdened by far too many employees with benefits that are far too generous including retirement plans that exist nowhere other than in government jobs. Shockingly the Senators weren’t keen on the idea of reducing the bloated USPS workforce either. In other words, Mr. Potter was arguing that the Post Office needs to be allowed to run like a private company – as a matter of fact, he said exactly that.
If the Postal Service were provided with the flexibilities used by businesses in the marketplace to streamline their operations and reduce costs, we would become a more efficient and effective organization. Such a change would also allow us to more quickly adapt to meet the evolving needs, demands, and activities of our customers, now and in the future.
So, in the same week that Democrats took a giant step towards their end-goal of a government run U.S. health care industry, the Postmaster General went to the Senate and admitted that the government can’t even manage to effectively run the Post Office. What do you think, is it harder to deliver the mail or heal the sick?
Following yesterday’s impressive news from Ford Motor Company of their $1 billion profit in the third quarter, one may have wondered how the two government run American automakers fared by comparison. The answer was not long in coming, as following immediately on the heels of Ford’s news was a very dire report that GM, Chrysler are struggling mightily, and that their eventual demise was very likely only briefly delayed by the government’s intervention including the wasting of $75 billion of the American taxpayers’ money.
Analysts quoted for the story agreed that both companies are far from profitability, are still at great risk of failure and are likely to need at least one if not multiple additional rounds of federal bailout funds in order to overcome their current predicament. Of course, the problem with this is the federal government has no money to invest, already owns a large percentage of these “dead” companies and would simply be throwing good money (taxpayer money) after bad.
In slightly more than 24 hours we have been reminded of the lesson we long since should have learned from watching the second half of the 20th century. Capitalism works; Socialism, Stateism, Fascism fail. For those who are slow learners, this lesson will continue to play out for years to come in the quarterly reports of Ford versus GM and Chrysler, of Geico versus AIG, of J.P. Morgan Chase versus Citigroup and on and on. if someone out there is still not convinced perhaps a review of the performance of Amtrak, the U.S. Postal Service or the Department of Education would clarify things for them. Despite monopolies in both passenger train service and mail service, the federal government can’t profitably run Amtrak or the post office! And since the federalization of the American education system our world ranking has declined at a statistical rate that borders on impossible.
The government has never, can’t now, nor will ever be able to successfully run anything. The sooner the American people get this fact through their collective heads, the sooner priorities can be adjusted to getting government out of the way of business resulting in the best environment for the potential prosperity of the greatest number of Americans.
Can there be a more blatant example of the stupendous incompetence of government bureaucracies (and there are soo many to choose from), then the latest news that they have somehow managed to run the U.S. postal system into the ground. Think about that – even with a federally mandated monopoly they cannot operate profitably. The USPS lost $2.8 billion in 2008 and are seeking financial aid from Congress in order to stay afloat. Now before you say it, let me remind you that neither GM, AIG nor any of the other bailout recipients had the post office’s luxury of zero competition and forced consumer usage. Sure, there are FedEx and UPS if you’re sending a package or an overnight envelope, but in this country, if you are mailing a letter, bill, advertisement, magazine or even ‘junk’ you have no choice, you must use the post office.
With all this guaranteed patronage, the unfettered discretion to raise prices whenever it suits them (not surprisingly, it suits them often!) and the monumental competitive advantage of tax exempt status, they still can’t make it work. Meanwhile FedEx and UPS are going strong, FedEx most recent quarter ended with a $97 million profit. Of the three, the post office has by far the lowest customer approval rating as well.
For those of us in business, the idea of having the federal government force the entire population to use our product exclusively and still not be capable of operating profitably or satisfying our customers is unimaginable. We operate in the real world where you have to earn your customers patronage and loyalty, where price increases come with an inherrent risk of lost business, where a competitor could open a new location or develop a new service and take market share away.
In the end, the USPS, with none of these worries, and with the backing of the U.S. government, still can’t manage to run its business effectively. And with that we see the demise of the last example of a service or function the government performs better than the private sector. The government can’t balance its budget, but expects its citizens to do so. Can’t educate the country’s youth, but refuses to allow parents a choice in what school their child will attend. Can’t protect its borders and yet has the audacity to allow illegals to sue an American who protects his property since his government won’t. And, now we find that the government can’t effectively run a monopolized business. Yet the administration has the audacity to take over GM and expect to survive going head-to-head with all the world’s succesful auto makers. I wish them luck with that. Common Sense and experience tells us this can’t possibly turn out well.