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Born to Lose

Monday February 17th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 6:15am PST   •  

USPS_200Early 2014, with tax time approaching, is a good time to recall some hard realities. New government entitlements such as Obamacare are proving a colossal bust, and the federal government has been busy creating brand new agencies of dubious utility, such as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. None of that means that older federal agencies and programs are doing any better. Consider, for example, the United States Postal Service.

The USPS hiked the price of a first-class stamp to 49 cents in late January. But the USPS lost $354 million over the past three months, part of a long-term losing streak. In the last fiscal year, the USPS lost $5 billion and in 2012, the losses were $15.9 billion. Postal bosses say that recent losses could lead to cash flow problems for the rest of the year. They want to end Saturday mail delivery, and so do some politicians.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved a bill that would end Saturday mail delivery. But government employee union bosses have a problem with that. Fredric Rolando, president of the Nation Association of Letter Carriers, told reporters that the recent USPS figures were “highly encouraging and show why the postal network must be maintained, and strengthened, not degraded.” Only in government are losses of $354 million “highly encouraging.”

Government employee unions wield enormous power and politicians usually give them what they want, however insolvent their agencies and however miserable or abusive their performance. Taxpayers can find an example in recent bonuses for IRS employees. Ending Saturday delivery would not solve postal woes, but the odds are it won’t happen at all. In a weak economy, U.S. taxpayers will continue to subsidize the USPS born loser, along with redundant new federal agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even as they face new surges of abuse from Obamacare, the NSA and the IRS.

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February 2014