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Postal talk

I posted about the Postal Service last week and it has sparked quite a bit of discussion in the comments section. I will highlight the one I received today Tom because it raises the public/private competition/privatization issue. Here is Tom's post:

The big question is, would the USPS we be better off privatized? Look at UPS, DHL, etc. If they don't perform well they simply go out of business – not true with a government agency. And is it fair that a government subsidized agency competes with private businesses for package delivery? I don't think so. If you owned an ice cream store, how would you feel if another ice cream store opened in your city that was owned by the government? And when that government ice cream store started performing poorly, it simply received more money from Uncle Sam?

This has been an issue that has dogged the Postal Service -- the cries got even louder when the Postal Service paid for the naming rights to Lance Armstrong's Tour de France team.

There are many opinions on this subject. [See pro-privatization comments from Cato, the Hoover Institute, and the WSJ. See anti-privatization comments from the union representing Postal workers, including an online petition.]

It seems to me that this is a complex issue and I'm suspicious of easy answers. 'Just privatize it' seems overly complex. Apparently the postal services in Germany and Japan have privatized or are in the process of privatizing, so it would be interesting to look at those situations as potential test beds.

In a way, this goes to the A-76 question -- what is inherently governmental.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jan 24, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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