Stampaphile Revolt

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

It seems Americans really love the Post Office. To wit, in my previous commentary, I mentioned how the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had no business peddling liquor or any other consumer good. I used the example of the bankrupt U.S. Postal Service unable to keep up with its private industry competitors.

Well, don’t rumble with the U.S. Post Office as they say – or ought to say because the outrage against me was harsh! I received emails galore from stampafiles telling me NO business could ship a letter as cheaply as like the US Post Office — .46 cents they argued as a bargin.

My point exactly.

Look – .46 cents to mail a letter from Pennsylvania to say California is quite cheap. FedEx and UPS probably couldn’t beat it. Of course not, because for every .46 cents you pay for a stamp – taxpayers like you are paying dollars – and lots of them – to prop up a bloated and bankrupt bureaucracy that subsidies that up front cost.

Government subsided businesses only look inexpensive on the surface, scratch it (or, to stick to theme…look inside the envelope) and you’ll see billions of taxpayer dollars wasted on an obsolete and inefficient, in-debted model.

I assure you, even without a government run post, that people who want first class mail delivered, would create a market to have it done and enterprising companies (made up of enterprising individuals) would better provide it than a government entity.

The reason companies don’t do more First Class mail is because the government subsidizes it so deeply, that it would make no sense. Of course no private company would deliver first class mail in 2013 at .46 cents! It is absurd! Even a freshman economics major could calculate the level of overhead it would take to ship a letter from PA to CA (or from any one point to another) via first class and have it arrive at the exact correct address, in the same condition it was mailed in, in a specified number of days. It is simply not sustainable at .46 cents (which is why you work to pay the government so many taxes and even then it is not sustainable).

And that is why the United States Post Office has become an obsolete model. it makes sense first class mail should be more expensive. There is far less volume and more efficient, cost effective models of communication.

You saw this with the advent of the ice box. As more people purchased the new ice box, those that clung to ice paid a higher price for it until people either realizes it was too costly to cling to their ice or the iceman shut down his shop and started an icebox company. Same with the horse and buggies and cars.

Either way, through voluntary exchange (the only morally sound exchange there is), the individual consumers and producers determined outcomes and we are all better for it. Had government subsidized and controlled ice the way it does mail, it would only have prolong the inevitable) and kept a dying business afloat with tax dollars that could have been better spent back in the hands of the by the individual who actually earned them.

So, first class mail should go the way of blocks of ice and horse and buggies. No, I’m not suggesting doing away entirely although, should the market bear that, then so be it. However, I doubt it should ever happen.

Even in today’s technological world, can we still not purchase ice with relative ease? There is still a market yet its purpose has become different, the market has adjusted according and the consumer and producer, through voluntary exchange, dictate the price. But no one (and I am sure there is an exception that would prove the rule here) buys chunks of ice to put in a Spring House to keep food. It would seem absurd. Even more absurd would be the government still propping up the model.

And so it is with first class mail. I think there will be a market for it but the post offices model of high volume, low cost deliverable is an old model that does not work and has not worked in our world for some time. The post office, a lumbering, inflexible bureaucracy dictated by laws rather than by common sense, has failed to adjust and therefore is going out of business.

So, you may take exception with my example but surely not human nature, economics and technological progress?

This is Jennifer Stefano. You can find out more at and