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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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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