Tuesday, September 06, 2011

In E-Mail Age, Postal Service Struggles to Avoid a Default - NYTimes.com

In E-Mail Age, Postal Service Struggles to Avoid a Default - NYTimes.com
The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.
I meant to post this over the weekend. Thanks to Fred Pilot for reminding me. Right wingers and libertarians have salivated for decades over the prospect of privatizing the US Postal Service. They make the usual claims of government inefficiency. But the postal service is tasked with delivering first class mail to all locations in the nation with equal speed at the same price. It costs 44 cents to send a letter from one block in downtown Chicago to the next block, or from one remote rural location in Maine to another remote rural location in the state of Washington. Does anybody think that things will stay that way if the Republicans stage another game of chicken and threaten to let the postal service go into default and out of business, unless Obama and the Democrats agree to privatize it? Here in Chicago parking rates doubled when Daley privatized the parking meters; same with tolls on the Skyway. Some tasks are not very profitable, and businesses don't want to do those things.

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