The phrase “going postal” may soon lose its bang in favor of a whimper, if we are lucky.
The unsurprising news of this Labor Day weekend is the news that the U.S. Postal Service is close to defaulting and without a “bailout” the service will disappear.
In many ways, the impending demise of the postal service is emblematic of everything that has created the era of tea-parties but it is also a test that may determine our future.
The US Postal service is the nation’s most recognizable nationalized industry. The world of communication has changed considerably over the last 25 years, the postal service has not. For sure, it has modernized technologically in many ways, but it is positively antediluvian in one key way, it does not have to make a profit. It has for years been providing a service that other for-profit companies can do better and the only thing that keeps its doors open is our tax dollars.
The US Postal Service has a long and proud history and at one point it could be reasonably argued that such a service was key to our national security and that government involvement and subsidy was necessary. I don’t think anyone but die-hard unionists and socialists could make this claim today with a straight face. There are other companies out there that can and will provide such services at a reasonable price.
So what now? Do we let the US Postal service go-down (even if in a managed way) or do we repeat the foolish mantra of “too big to fail” once again? Do we cut the Postal Service off from the taxpayer spigot and force it to transform or die? Or do we repeat the mistakes of the past, the same mistakes we are repeating with Fannie and Freddie right now?
In the answer to this question perhaps we find the answer to a bigger question. Does America and our political class have the stomach for what needs to be done to save this country? Can we say good-bye to the old way of doing things and even do without? If we can’t do it with something as obvious as the Postal Service, we will never be able to it with the bigger and more painful problems.
We must let the Postal Service die if we are to have any hope of saving ourselves.