If some American businesses and politicians were corrupt and raised prices together on goods and services to artificially high levels so everyone makes money on even a small market share, you wouldn’t call that capitalism.
And if those same operators decided they would never again lower prices to attract customers from fellow crooks in corporate clothing, you wouldn’t call that free enterprise.
But here we are with the most public of all services – the mail – costing users more very year. You can bet that UPS and FedEx will follow, hiking rates, pricing just below USPS.
The game is simple. If the post office charges three times the cost of mailing a package, then private companies can charge 95% of the USPS rate and make an easy fortune.
Shouldn’t the post office be cheaper than UPS or FedEx? After all, it was founded by “Honest” Ben Franklin to serve the American people (and deliver his newspaper to subscribers in a timely manner on the East Coast).
Our honest forefather’s dream was crushed by a truth-deficient President Richard Nixon in 1970. He made the public post office into a federally approved corporation, reporting to a politically-appointed board of directors. Message was – pay your own way or go away.
The investor class applauded Nixon, but complained that he should have gone all the way and privatized all of it. That way, profits could be distributed to shareholders, none retained by the people’s post office.
A half century of neglect has resulted in a competitor, United Parcel Service (UPS), boasting 2020 sales of nearly $85 billion, while the post office managed less than $29 billion from its package delivery service..
Total post office revenue – including first class mail – was $73 billion, ore $12 billion less than UPS. Meanwhile, the post office was required to visit every mailbox in the country every day, while UPS only went to locations where packages were headed.
Critics of the post office contend that its government ties make it inefficient, compared to private competitors.That ignores reality – both UPS and USPS have nearly the same number of employees – 495,000.
Behind the scenes, while you or I pay $60 to send 4 lb. box to a relative across the country, the bosses at the post office have struck deals to undercharge big mailers. Those deals, including the circulars mailed for a fraction of first class mail rates, mean less profit and less market share with possible losses on every delivery.
The latest move to raise package price deliveries by as much as $5 is combined with cuts to First Class mail delivery windows.
Two days used to be normal delivery for a card on your mother’s birthday.
The new plan is idiotic distance-based standards. Mail traveling up to 930 miles will now be on time if it gets to its intended recipient within four days. Anything over 1,907 miles away will now have a five-day delivery target.
Robert Hall once had a commercial:
The geniuses in our government have turned that catchy jingle on its head by crippling post office package delivery with their own theme:
When the Values Goes Down, Down, Down and the Prices Go Up, Up, Up – High Overhead, High Overhead!