Thursday, September 15, 2011

He's Right, You Know

From the RG mailbag:

Postal worker concessions unlikely

I would bet all the stamps in my stamp drawer that if the U.S. Postal Service defaults — or more likely, eventually goes to three- or four-days-a-week delivery — because it owes $10 billion it doesn’t have, two things will happen.

I will take this bet. What are we talking, $10 worth of stamps? Are they forever stamps?
First, mailing a letter from Eugene to Boise will take 10 days because the federal government will prove, once again, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it cannot run anything efficiently.
Ok, I will mail a letter to my father in Boise after the US Postal Service goes to three or four days. If the letter takes less than 10 days, I get those delicious stamps. If the letter takes 10 days or more, we move on to step two.

Before we move on, though, a question. How would the failure to deliver an envelope to Boise in less than 10 days prove anything about the efficiency of government? Is there some private entity out there that will come to my house, pick up the letter, and deliver it to my dad's house in Boise in less than 10 days for 44 cents?

[I'm also ignoring the fact that sentence was worded so that you have the government failing to make in 10 days so as to prove that they are inefficient, not because they are inefficient. This seems like a strange thing for the government to want to prove.]
Secondly, all the Postal Service’s union members still will receive full benefits, and sooner or later will strike for more. God forbid a federal employee should pay more for health insurance or not get a pay raise or take a pay cut.
The "sooner or later" would normally put a crimp in our bet-related plans, but since US postal workers are legally barred from striking, I'm confident that one day I will be collecting those delicious stamps. Maybe you could just concede this point?

The real heart of the letter, of course, is your demand that postal workers make concessions in their pay and benefits. never pass up an opportunity to call for someone else to take a pay cut, even if it means that it might lengthen the life of a quasi-socialist, inefficient, government program you obviously hate.

I wonder what kind of cuts postal workers would need to make to make up that $10 billion. There are 574,000 postal workers in the US, so that's a mere $17,421 each. Jerks. Of course, most of the $10 billion is for a payment to their retirement fund, so they will get it back. Hopefully no such future concession will be necessary.
What’s their silver bullet for every problem? We can be certain that higher taxes are the only solution, now and forever. I am, sadly, utterly convinced that a majority of government union workers would bite and then devour the hand that feeds them.
Well, the U.S. Postal Service does not get a regular subsidy from Congress, so the demand for higher taxes would be odd, but the point holds. Government workers should love pay cuts and less health care because the wealthiest 1% needs their tax cuts. They are, after all, the job creators. Not in this particular case, because we're talking about government jobs, but, you know, in general.

Brian Palmer


Let me know in the comments where I can pick up those stamps.

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