Tuesday, March 30, 2010

QOTD

UPDATE: The Post Office is worse than I thought, says Megan McArdle.

From GAO's Phillip Herr, testifying about the Post Office before the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on March 18th (page 7):
USPS recently reported that it has more retail facilities than McDonalds, Starbucks, and Walgreens combined. Further, it stated that its post offices average about 600 visits per week, representing only 10 percent of average weekly visits to Walgreens.
To me, the private express statutes giving the Post Office a monopoly on first-class mail remain a mystery.

(via CATO)

4 comments:

OBloodyHell said...

> To me, the private express statutes giving the Post Office a monopoly on first-class mail remain a mystery.

I thought the main justification for this was the Constitutional mandate for a postal service.

You disagree?

Not arguing against change, but it would require a mod to the Con, would it not?

Carl said...

The Constitution (Art. I, § 8, cl. 7), gives Congress the power "[t]o establish post offices and post roads." It doesn't require there be a post office, much less that it be exclusive. Lamont v. Postmaster General, 381 U.S. 301, 305 (1965). Rather, it was Congress which decided that a monopoly over first class mail was the most efficient way to ensure postal service.

As a compromise, can we let Fed. X deliver the mail on Sunday and (soon) Saturday?

OBloodyHell said...

Cool. When did Congress (the opposite of Progress, you note) make this exclusivity decision?

I would also note that the USPS is another of those public-sector unions that would fight their dismemberment with tooth and claw.

Carl said...

Don't remember--but quite some time. For years, the law has required that delivery of non-postal letters be at least six times more expensive than first class stamps. The "Fed. X exemption" dates from 1979.