Competition to the USPS needed

The Post Office Hustle


Today the average postal worker makes $83,000 a year in wages and benefits, roughly 50% above the average compensation for private workers, according to federal wage data. Those benefits are already so generous the post office could save $560 million a year if the mailman paid the same 28% share of employee health premiums that other federal employees pay, which is still below the norm in the private economy. Normally when a company is losing $16 billion a year in revenues, unions see the need for concessions.

Rubber stamping one more postal rate hike without at least a plan to cut labor costs only rewards union intransigence and postal service inefficiency. The time has come to free the mail by amending the private express statutes—which confer a legal monopoly on first-class mail—and allow expanded choices for letter delivery. Yes, we know the ritual claim is that this will end universal delivery, but even people living in remote areas would benefit from an injection of competition into the antiquated mail system.

If someone can deliver a letter for less than 46 cents or a postcard for less than 30 cents, by all means let them. Contract with Wal-Mart and grocery stores to sell stamps and collect packages. The postal service won't avoid its coming financial catastrophe by continuing to raise prices, but it might if it has to compete for customers.

Comment: We should not reward bloated bureaucracy

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