Monday, December 21, 2009

Public Option for Mail?

Columnist David Lazarus writes in the Business section of the Los Angeles Times, "There's been a lot of talk about a public option for health insurance. But what about the public option for mail? The U.S. Postal Service offers universal coverage -- that is, it guarantees that mail can be sent and received by everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions, such as living in the boonies. It also loses tons of money."

"It's thus fair to wonder: Can this system be saved? Put another way, is it time we privatized the postal service?" he wonders.

Richard Maher, a postal service spokesman in Los Angeles, is quoted in the piece as saying, ""The postal service is asking for a national dialogue on this. What is our role going to be in the future? We need to have a conversation about that."

When asked if UPS would like to take over from USPS,a spokesman for UPS said,"We believe that the government plays a role in terms of ensuring that every mailbox is reached every day. That is not a responsibility that UPS would want."

Lazarus concludes, "It seems to me that the only privatization scheme that stands even a remote chance of working would be to break the postal service network into hundreds of regions and territories, and then have local companies compete for mail-delivery rights in each area."

Shown above, a private carrier delivers the mail in Thailand.

To read his entire column, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM