George Will is most egregious and he sends his Christmas cards by FedEx

George Will doesn’t like the post office. He thinks it’s not needed; he even says:

. . . surely the government could cede this function to the private sector , which probably could have a satisfactory system functioning quicker than you can say Fed Ex, UPS and Wal-Mart.

He sees the first two as delivery vehicles; Wal-Mart would become the physical post office. Very convenient for places that don’t have a Wal-Mart.

He adds that the staff at those places “have an incentive to practice civility”. George has never met my carrier or been to my post office, where there are actual humans available to answer customer questions, something they do well and knowledgeably. A good for-profit would dump those helpers in a heartbeat (hmmm, how many jobs would that be?).

But he really gets the disingenuous prize for this shockingly dishonest bit:

Labor costs are 80 percent of USPS costs (53% of UPS’, 32% of FedEx’s), in part because it has negotiated very friendly union contracts.

Leave aside for the moment the usual we-don’t-need-no-stinkin-unions mantra – I’ll wager he left a little something out of that equation, like this: I’ve not noticed tens of thousands of UPS or FedEx employees walking  or driving every inch of residential property in the country every day.

And what would happen to the direct mail industry if FedEx had to hit every house in my neighborhood. No mention – including it would be quite inconvenient when bashing is the point.

There’s a serious discussion to be had about how to streamline the post office. But we’ll leave Will out of that discussion; he’s not interested in being serious.

17 responses to “George Will is most egregious and he sends his Christmas cards by FedEx

  1. “A good for-profit would dump those helpers in a heartbeat (hmmm, how many jobs would that be?).”

    I think you’re likely correct, but it leads me to say that people are quite of two minds here.

    Everyone complains about bad customer service, but our behavior and our words don’t match up.

    That is people complain, but generally when given a choice between good service but higher prices (smaller stores), or poor to no service and lower prices (Walmart and most big box stores), they choose the latter.

    I think the same is true of airlines. Eveyone complains about discomfort, no meals and so on, but people have shown a preference for discouters that didn’t offer nice meals and so on. The market has responded by eliminating or at least scaling back those service.

    I suppose I’m saying that the FedEx of the world are mostly giving people what they want, but maybe we should at least be mindful of the consequences of shopping only on price are.


    • I agree bruce that there’s a lot of room to improve and change things with the postal service. But we can’t compare them to retail services – they are Constituitionally mandated, which makes htem another animal altogether.

      As someone who, despite a limited fixed income, simply refuses to support outfits like WalMart, who destroy small busineses, I admit I’m outside the mainstream on some things.

      But I sure don’t see FedEx, or anyone for that matter, delivering a birthday card from my Aunt Mae clear across the country for 47 cents. In three days. Door to door. Now that’s one hell of a bargain!


      • Consitutionally authorized or allowed, not mandated; none of the enumerated powers are required to be executed. They only define the consititional limits of Congress’ powers – e.g., Congress can take any necessary and proper action to combat piracy on the High Seas (any body of ocean, irrespective of national boundaries) but is not required to continually patrol the the whole of the world’s oceans in that capacity.


        • You’re right of course – it’s not mandated. But the fact that it got into the document gives it a gravitas not accorded most unenumerated powers. That said, I not only think ending the post office is a bad idea, I don’t beleive for a minute it’ll happen. Reforms yes, shut it down no.


          • Moe, it would have to. Each any one of the unenumerated powers are, by their very nature, illegal under the Constitution.

            I think the USPS will end soon though – 2022 at the latest. This is not because of anything more than it not being ableto compete, even when it’s a monopoly for many forms of messaging, with the private sector for the ever-reducing volume of mail.

            I think what is left of it will become a public-private combine with UPS or Fedex


          • 2022? I guess it could be. What I don’t envision ever happening is the Federal government releasing its role – as you say, a public/private partnership may indeed be what ends up happening.

            Whenever I say ‘won’t happen’, I must remember to qualify it with ‘anytime soon’. None of us knows what the Elvis our world will be like a decade from now.

            (I meant enumerated – brain broke)


          • While the USPS is authorized by the Constitution, the USPS does have mandates. See U.S. Code Title 39 Section 403 General Duties and 404 Specific Powers. In both sections the word “shall” is used repeatedly and in a legal context: Shall – (verb) as required will, by compulsion will, by imperative will, mandatorily will, obligatorily will.

            The wording of the Code does not imply they can do “it” or not as the spirit moves them. The word “may” is used in Section 402 Delegation of Authority, though. In fairness, while Section 401 General Powers of the Postal Service does use the word “shall” they don’t have to invoke any of those powers if there is no cause of action.

            I agree with you Moe, ending the USPS is a bad idea.


          • Jon,

            The US Code is meaningless when it violates the Constitution except as evidence for the prosecution.

            Of course, if it is entered into evidence, that means we’ve had a revolution and we’re trying and executing the politicians.

            Ahh, happy thoughts – though darkened by the results of the French Revolution.


          • Jon – are you a lawyer? Constitutional type?


  2. The Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, or U.S.C.) is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States. It contains 50 titles (along with a further 4 proposed titles) and is published every six years by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. The current edition of the code was published in 2006, and according to the US Government Printing Office, is over 200,000 pages long.

    What Constitutional violation are you hallucinating over?

    Have you considered a detox program? You make no sense.


    • Hi Moe,

      Not a lawyer, not sure about the other. I have read the Constitution – something the political wannabes running for office don’t seem to have done. Graduated from law school a couple of years ago, but decided I didn’t want to be a 60+ y.o. P.I. attorney. Prefer legal consulting (not UPL) and being a lazy bum. Mostly a bum.


      • I’ve a somewhat similar background. I’m not a lawyer but have studied the law for decades and often worked as a consultant to attornies doing research and analysis of court rulings and precedents and as a consultant to corporations seeking risk exposure assessements relating to federal and state regulations (Mostly in regards to IT systems and process compliance).


      • I have a nephew who’s admitted to practice in two states, but doesn’t do law. He’s a Scout for the Milwakee Bucks! He loves basketball more.


  3. Constitutional arguments are one thing but IMHO the USPS will die in our lifetimes from attrition. I use it, my grandchildren love to get cards from me via USPS. Their parents (my children) do not use the USPS unless forced to. I know there are many people who are only best served by the USPS but they may already be or will become obsolete. Sadly the USPS is a horse and buggy.


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