Why Not Finish Privatizing the Postal Service?

Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts via ZUMA

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Speaking of the postal service, why not finish the job of privatizing it? We hear a lot about the pension prefunding requirement that has wrecked its finances, but let’s face it: the real problem is the absurdly low rates that USPS is required to charge for first class mail. A first class stamp currently costs 55 cents, about half what it costs in Great Britain. Other countries are even higher, some charging $1.50 or more.

We should give the postal service control over their own rates along with control over everything else too. There would be some exceptions, of course: the basic deal in which USPS gets a monopoly on first class mail in return for universal service should remain intact. There are a few other rules that would remain as well. Generally speaking, though, there’s no special reason that delivering mail shouldn’t be about 99 percent private these days.

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