TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

Privatize the Postal Service: Protect Rights, Save Money, Improve Service

Post_OfficeThirty-four billion dollars. That’s the amount of taxpayer money proposed in a Senate-approved bailout of the US Postal Service. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, lauds this bailout as “saving an American institution.”

Why do Collins and company presume that we should save a government-run business that can’t compete in the marketplace even with massive taxpayer subsidies and gun-wielding guards keeping competitors at bay?

In addition to—and because of—the fact that the existence of the Postal Service violates the rights of Americans by forbidding them to act and contract in accordance with their judgment, the service provided by the Postal Service is pathetic. When private businesses such as UPS and FedEx have been permitted to compete with the monopoly for just a portion of services (package delivery), they have profitably provided more guaranteed delivery options and much better service at comparable rates.

Privatizing the US Postal Service would be good on multiple counts and bad on none. It would put an end to rights violations is this area of Americans’ lives; it would unleash a flood of entrepreneurs eager to bring innovative and cost-effective improvements to mail delivery; and it would not cost taxpayers a dollar, never mind thirty-four billion.

What’s not to like?

Like this post? Join our mailing list to receive our weekly digest. And for in-depth commentary from an Objectivist perspective, subscribe to our quarterly journal, The Objective Standard.


Image: Creative Commons by Los Angeles

Posted in: Individual Rights and Law

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Bill Healy

    In June 1788, the ninth state ratified the Constitution, which gave Congress the power “To establish Post Offices and post Roads” in Article I, Section 8. A year later, the Act of September 22, 1789 (1 Stat. 70), continued the Post Office and made the Postmaster General subject to the direction of the President. Four days later, President Washington appointed Samuel Osgood as the first Postmaster General under the Constitution.

  • Rob Scanlon

    What a ridiculous waste of tax dollars! What a big surprise! Why is it that our law makers lack the balls to face reality and do the right thing, but instead desire to retain their popularity and stay in office? Are they all truly without principle?

  • BackwardsBoy

    Privatizing the USPS makes sense, which is why it will never be done.

  • Michael A LaFerrara


    If your point is that abolishing the Post Office is
    unconstitutional, read again. The Founders granted Congress the “Power…To
    establish,” which is also the power to dis-establish. Privatizing the Post
    Office and establishing a free market in first class mail delivery is well within
    Congress’ constitutional authority. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have e-mail or fax
    service, which are essentially first class mail.

  • Anonymous

    Per Wikipedia: “Revenue in the 2000s has been dropping sharply due to declining mail volume,….”

    I suspect that a replacement approach that would make money would look a whole lot different than what we have now. 

    A privatization proposal might get some traction in Washington, but only if Congress and the voters could see what the workable replacement would look like and what the transition would look like. I don’t have a proposal that touches the ground and I don’t know of any, but I’d love to see one.

  • Anonymous

    Uh, guys. The example of the Federal Reserve System shows what can go really, really wrong when you privatize the functions of the government.

  • Mike Kevitt

    This is afield of the issue of the Post Office, but, I’m wondering, do you mean a gvt. function was privatized when the Fed. Res. Sys. was established?  If so, I’m curious what that function was.  Back to the Post Office, what gvt. function would be privatized by privatizing the Post Office?

  • Anonymous

    You need to read the history of the Fed Res and the corruption under which it was “instituted” a good place to start is with “The Creature from Jekyll Island”
    by Griffin.
    This is the 100 anniversary of the Fed by the way.
    You fix this and you fix the debt issue.

  • Anonymous

    I assume that to be a rhetorical question

  • Anonymous

    Neither were, nor should have been government functions, but are examples of monopolies at the behest of government.

  • zardoz

    Britain has privatised the Royal Mail and the shares are up 70% at the moment. Just go look how that was done. The shares should have been given to the taxpayers instead of being floated on the stock exchange but hey it’s a start.