Tom Sgouros is an engineer, policy analyst, and writer. Check out his new book, "Checking the Banks: The Nuts and Bolts of Banking for People Who Want to Fix It" from Light Publications.

20 responses to “Fixing the U.S. Post Office, and Fixing It Good”

  1. RightToWork

    Why do we need a post office anymore? All they do is deliver tons and tons of junk mail for businesses and birthday cards from old people. In the rare event that you had something that actually needed to be sent in hard copy, UPS or FedEx could carry it for you. And in the smarter states, all the government tax, DMV, and other services are already online.

    My hope is that I will live to see the abolishment of the Post Office. Every evening I come home and throw out at least a dozen junk pamphlets, free newspapers, and mass mailings jammed into my mailbox. I have a good mind to just seal the thing up like Kramer from Seinfeld.

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    1. turbo

      Doesn’t the post office deliver Ron Paul’s Updates in Racist and Cryptofascist Conspiracy Theory to your door once a month? And Glenn Beck’s Commentaries on The Road to Serfdom?

      And why would junk mail bother you? For one thing, isn’t junk mail capitalism in action? And, for another, without junk mail, how would you know where to buy your gold from?
       
      The best part of your latest edition of Crank Daily is that you have no argument: you respond to nothing in the article whatsoever. What about Fed Ex?, you ask, irrelevantly, as if reflecting on nothing but whatever bird of thought alighted on the bare twigs of your mind at that particular moment.

      It’s actually kind of amazing that you managed to include some mention about the Post Office at all, so little do you attend to the questions at hand.

      Let’s face it: you’re angry because the Post Office is a government agency that serves an essential fuction and because people like it.

      There’s really no need even to offer any of your fake anecdotes. Why make up stuff about your mailbox, especially when no one could possibly care? Just say ‘government bad! Market good! Except when market advertise through government service! That bad!’

      Good reference to a TV show that’s been out-of-date for fifteen years, tho. You really set your attempt at a dinosuar metaphor well with that one.

       

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      1. RightToWork

        “so little do you attend to the questions at hand.”

        I see, that’s why all your statements stay on topic – Glenn Beck, The Road to Serfdom, Ron Paul, racism, cryptofacism, buy gold… funny, I don’t see any of those topics in the article or my comments. You toss out your same irrelevant laundry list of anti-free market talking points in nearly every post you leave on this site. Doesn’t get much more hypocritical than that.
        “For one thing, isn’t junk mail capitalism in action?”Not even close. If it were a capitalist system, then I could cancel service, and I would. I’ve never received any junk mail or junk packages through FedEx or UPS. Every 2-3 months, I and everyone else in the building gets a flier left on our apartment doors from some pizza or Chinese food place. The building management then makes the company come back and remove all of the fliers, threatens to sue them for trespassing on private property, or bars them from ever entering the building again. THAT is capitalism in action.

        “the Post Office is a government agency that serves an essential fuction and because people like it.”

        Ah, that must be why first class mail has declined by 42% over the past decade and overall mail correspondence has fallen by 21% according to the Post Office’s own reports. Because the services are so essential and people can’t get enough of them.

        “There’s really no need even to offer any of your fake anecdotes.”

        Okay, sure. You know what kinds of mail I get better than I do. 

        “Good reference to a TV show that’s been out-of-date for fifteen years, tho. You really set your attempt at a dinosuar metaphor well with that one.”

        You might have some more credibility if, instead of attacking every single component of a person’s argument, you only focused on actual weaknesses and focused your message. In the legal field, this is universally considered a rookie mistake, especially made by inexperienced attorneys from the lower-tier schools. TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television show of all time. It’s won every award there is to win in television, the episodes and characters still rank among the most recognizable, and it’s still on television through syndication every night of the week and garners good ratings. Attacking it as out-of-date (and what difference would it make if it was?) just makes you look like an overzealous, spastic attack dog, rabidly barking and lunging at whatever’s before you.

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        1. turbo

          “TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television show of all time.”

          Ha ha ha! This is the saddest thing I have ever read on this site.

          “In the legal field”

          Oh yeah. This is where you do your ‘pretend to be a lawyer on the internet’ routine. Second saddest thing ever.

          “that must be why first class mail has declined by 42% over the past decade and overall mail correspondence has fallen by 21% according to the Post Office’s own reports”

          The decline is due to electronic services, and, if those services were not essential, there would be no Fed Ex.

          And, once the shutdowns begin, oh my, then all you tea party geriatrics will come a’crawlin’ back, as you always do every time your experiments in Going Galt end in tears.

          Don’t worry: take solace in contemplation of the story of the Prodigal Son.

          “If it were a capitalist system”

          It is a capitalist system. The government creates the conditions that make capitalist enterprise possible. Fed Ex exists only because the government builds and maintains the roads, among myriad other things. Capitalism cannot exist without massive state interventions to establish markets. There’s no difference between private businesses that rely on the Post Office and private businesses that rely on U.S. dollars.

          That’s right! I said ‘dollars’! Oh man! You must be very excited! I am starting a countdown to your rant on Federal Reserve conspiracy theories!

           

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  2. the pooka

    I use the post office all the time for personal and business mail. There are usually other people going in and out with packages, letters and passport applications, sometimes there are even long lines for service. I would wonder why “right to work” only gets junk mail but there are lots of better things to do today here in Rhode Island. 

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    1. RightToWork

      Living like it’s 1980 is nothing to be proud of. I guess it’s prehistorics like you that keep the Post Office dinosaur plodding along on its slow path to extinction. Perhaps you’re one of the businesses sending out the junk mail I receive. Excuse me – “bulk class” letters. 

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  3. rhodeislandblue

    Tom, I believe the overwhelming healthcare and retirement obligation placed on the Postal Service (one that no other private business or governmental department in the country is forced to meet) is a direct result of Grover Norquist’s band of Merry Deconstructionists’ efforts to “…shrink government to the size where it can be dragged to the bathtub and drowned”. I’ve also read where the wasteful outsourcing of USPS parcel sorting and delivery to FedEx or UPS, was arrived at as a result of ambitious lobbying efforts by the same two heavyweights in the political contribution industry. Then, as USPS service plummets in quality due to these massive financial constraints, yet again, the inability of government to function properly becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, as the common taxpaying voter will never learn the actual details behind the demise of the Post Office, if the corporate lamestream media can possibly help it.         

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  4. DogDiesel

    Turbo,
     
    You’re guilty of that which you charge.

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  5. mikeology

    It’s puzzling that RTW opposes a profitable and pro-business agency, one that supports a true right to work among all qualified workers.

    Is this because RTW prefers discriminatory government agencies that are fiscal catastrophes (like the Department of Defense)?

    Or is it because the existence of the USPS forces FedEx and UPS to lower their own postal rates to remain competitive? 

     

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  6. the pooka

    Right to work,

    Although its not really any of your business, I send shipping documents by priority mail. It costs me $5.15 and I get a receipt for the stamps. Its all picked up at my door, I don’t have to call anyone. The same documents by fedex is $27 and they don’t provide any invoices which causes problems for my accounting. I also send out product samples, checks, and paper copies to follow up electronic documents as do all the other businesses I deal with, which are primarily international corporations. 

    Are you getting paid to write comments to destroy the post office? I would expect you to be worried about privacy and electronic eavesdropping of telecommunications, leaving first class mail as one of the last completely confidential and secure methods of private communication available. You might find you need confidentiality if you deal with proprietary business information or a legal problem. 

    Are you sure you don’t get alumni materials by mail? Most colleges do send bulk mail or did you get home schooled for all of your education?

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    1. turbo

      C’m’on! Right to Work is the best! You can’t ask for more laughable, more bizarre, more self-defeating right wing pablum than the glop served up by RTW.

      Seriously: look at his remark about TV Guide. “TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television show of all time.” Okay. Totally risible, yes. But it also undermines his own position on the Post Office.

      First, who relies on TV Guide as an arbiter of good taste? Who even does that?! I mean: turning to the Oscars, the Pulitzer, the Emmys, and so on–that’s one thing. It’s sad when people do it, but you can at least understand where they’re coming from. TV Guide, on the other hand, is just hilariously crazy. 

      So, that’s what makes his remark a joke, but there’s also the fact that he’s simultaneously defeating his own position on the Post Office.

      If TV Guide has any aesthetic authority, then it comes from its millions of readers, as evidenced by its huge pool of subscribers. But how do those subscribers receive their little guides to the best of television each week? Who delivers all of those TV Guides to all of those homes and businesses?

      The Post Office delivers TV Guide.

       You see what I mean? It takes heroic cluelessness to come up with RTW’s stuff. It’s special. Savor it.

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      1. RightToWork

        I fully understand that you’re just more concerned with attacking me at this point and getting me even more off-topic (many would call that “trolling”), but I will just point out that TV Guide has remained profitable and popular as a brand through its online and TV-based services, but the print version of its magazine has severely declined in circulation over the past decade, was sold for $1 in 2008, and remains unprofitable to this day. This is fully consistent with my point that the Post Office will become more and more irrelevant as information-sharing continues to move online. Also, I’m arguing for privatization of the mail service, not its abolishment.

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        1. turbo

          Wait…you’re telling me TV Guide is an authority on matters of taste, because it’s a noteworthy website?!

          Ha ha ha ha! 

          And you’re saying that the one and only reason TV Guide continues to exist–the cachet of its print circulation–is irrelevant to its business?!

          I love it! 

           

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          1. RightToWork

            I said neither of those things, and for somebody who is so concerned with “attending to the questions at hand,” it’s odd that you spend a majority of your posts here discussing complete irrelevancies reply after reply, like whether TV Guide has good taste or not, and engaging in personal attacks on other commenters, like accusing me of fabricating my law license (based on what evidence, exactly?).

            Don’t kid yourself by thinking that you contribute anything meaningful to these discussions – you’re just a screaming progressive attack dog, and you frequently cross the line into troll behavior.

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            1. turbo

              “it’s odd that you spend a majority of your posts here discussing complete irrelevancies ”
               
              ??? Performative contradiction. ???

               “whether TV Guide has good taste or not”

              You argued from TV Guide!

              And don’t get me wrong: it’s always a pleasure to come across an aesthetic argument in the manner of Patrick Bateman–though you have none of his flair.

              “accusing me of fabricating my law license”

              What law license?! You’re an anonymous commenter on the Internet! Are you crazy?!

              “I said neither of those things”

              And that’s your problem: you never articulate–because you are completely unaware of–the assumptions that underlie your positions.

              This explains why your comments are both wrong and so darling.
               

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              1. RightToWork

                You accused me of “pretending to be a lawyer” on the internet. I am not pretending. I am a licensed, practicing attorney. Thus, your accusation, like most of your comments, was completely baseless and false. You also accused me of fabricating the junkmail portion of my personal mail. Unless you have had a key made to my mailbox, you have no basis for making that claim either. In fact, most of your comments here are little more than a string of personal attacks, irrelevancies, and baseless accusations. I hope you don’t honestly believe that your comments reflect well upon your cause. They just make you look like a raging egomaniacal zealot who never learned how to clearly present an argument.

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                1. turbo

                  You’re anonymous! There’s no way for anyone to verify anything you say about yourself! How is this hard to understand?!? 

                  The problem of people making claims about themselves while retaining anonymity is one of the basic phenomena of the Internet. Presenting personal anecdotes under a pseudonym is a well-known form of invalid argumentation.

                  It is simply staggering to find someone unfamiliar with this–but that is your particular charm!

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                  1. RightToWork

                    I don’t expect you to verify it, but basic logic recognizes that just because something isn’t verifiable doesn’t make it false. You made the positive claim that I was “pretending” to be a lawyer. Regardless of whether my own claim is verifiable or not, your claim has no basis and is in fact false. It would be libel if you had mentioned me by name. Of course that’s precisely why I don’t post using my name here – because rabid progressive attack dogs like you don’t care about accuracy and will ridicule and shout down anyone who posts in opposition to your ideology.

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                    1. turbo

                      “It would be libel if you had mentioned me by name.”

                      How would you know?!?!

                      Ha ha ha ha!

                       

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  7. DogDiesel

    “It’s puzzling that RTW opposes a profitable and pro-business agency, one that supports a true right to work among all qualified workers.”
     
    Did you read the title of this post? Profitable? The post office has never been profitable. I will admit that I never new you could work for the post office and not belong to the union. Is that true?

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