The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

What would Amer­ica do with­out its gov­ern­men­trun postal mo­nop­oly? The U.S. Postal Ser­vice is set to go bust within a few weeks ab­sent yet an­other multi­bil­lion-dol­lar bailout. If it doesn’t get one, the post­man threat­ens to can­cel Christ­mas de­liv­er­ies. This threat could safely be ig­nored if only we’d per­mit com­pa­nies like DHL, FedEx and UPS to han­dle reg­u­lar mail in ad­di­tion to pack­ages.

The only thing we’d miss with­out USPS would be long lines and a care­less post­man los­ing our mail.

The Post Of­fice does “loss” bet­ter than any­one. It’s on track to rack up nearly $10 bil­lion in red ink this fis­cal year. The prob­lems run so deep that there’s no way to make the dis­mal numbers add up with­out a mas­sive in­fu­sion of tax­payer cash.

USPS is a govern­ment agency that likes to pre­tend it’s run like a pri­vate busi­ness.

Yet the bills are com­ing due on the lav­ish fed­eral health care and pen­sion prom­ises that cur­rently ac­count for a whop­ping 30 per­cent of oper­a­tional ex­penses. There are too many post of­fices and too many over­paid, union­ized post­men for this out­fit to sur­vive in a world where an email is cheap and bills can be paid online.

It sure beats slap­ping a stamp on an en­ve­lope and pray­ing the mes­sage or pay­ment ar­rives on time.

To stay afloat, the new postal plan is to opt out of the fed­eral ben­e­fits pro­gram, lay off 125,000 ca­reer em­ploy­ees, shut down 12,000 store­fronts, raise stamp prices and cut ser­vices. That sort of re­form might have worked 10 years ago, but it’s far too late to take such steps now.

Pres­i­dent Obama, of course, will move to res­cue this dys­func­tional and ob­so­lete relic be­cause he needs the po­lit­i­cal mus­cle of the postal union bosses who rep­re­sent 528,653 ca­reer em­ploy­ees. Congress shouldn’t let that hap­pen. The real an­swer is to re­peal the fed­eral statute that makes it a crime for pri­vate com­pa­nies to de­liver a first-class let­ter. These firms have proved they can build a prof­itable en­ter­prise by pro­vid­ing lower prices and bet­ter ser­vice to the na­tion’s homes and busi­nesses. Let the mar­ket take over where govern­ment has failed.

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