Privatization

FedEx Sends Post Office Death Notice?

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tiny post office

Congress Daily reports from the sickbed of the U.S. Post Office:

Speaking at what lawmakers called the first congressional oversight hearing for the the Postal Service in nearly a decade, [Postmaster General John] Potter said that changes in the Postal Service's business model—dictated by new rules set under legislation enacted in December 2006—could lead to dramatic changes to its workforce. "I do not believe any law, however well intended, can repair [our] broken model, because mail volume is no longer growing at a rate sufficient to sustain the ever-expanding delivery network," the one-time mail clerk said.

Amen, brother.

Still, they're not going down without a self-defeating fight. Said Potter: "I do not foresee laying off workers" to cut labor costs, which amount to 80 percent of its budget

Back in ancient times, libertarians were obsessed with privatizing/abolishing the post office. Founding documents of this obsession include Lysander Spooner on The Unconstitutionality of Laws of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails (1884), and Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom. It looks like the rise of FedEx and other private mail carriers have taken care of most of the job already with competition–a shrinking market share and a congressionally-mandated cap on prices combine to make the future look grim–but Reason has been predicting the imminent demise of the post office since at least the '80s, so I suppose we'd better not get too cocky just yet.