What’s Wrong With The U.S. Postal Service?

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

Arthur Laffer on CNN:

If you like the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think they’re run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government.

Someone needs to point out to Mr. Supply Side that Medicare and Medicaid are done by the government…. now.  They are government programs, and they run well.  So there's no need to try to scare the elderly by warning about how bad that program will become once government takes over.

Yet this kind of blather gets said, and nobody ever stops to correct the speaker.  As President Obama said at an AARP event last week

"…I got a letter the other day from a woman; she said, 'I don't want government-run health care, I don't want socialized medicine, and don't touch my Medicare.' And I wanted to say, well, I mean, that's what Medicare is, is it's a government-run health care plan that people are very happy with. But I think that we've been so accustomed to hearing those phrases that sometimes we can't sort out the myth from the reality."

[UPDATE via Digby, discussing a town hall meeing held by Rep. Gene Green (D-TX):

During the town hall, one conservative activist turns to his fellow attendees and asks them to raise their hands if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Almost all the hands shot up. Rep Green quickly turned the question on the audience and asked, “How many of you have Medicare?” Nearly half the attendees raised their hands, failing to note the irony.

Heh.  And at a recent town hall meeting in Simpsonville, South Carolina, Rep. Robert Inglis (R-SC) was approached by a constituent who demanded that he keep his “government hands out of Medicare.” Inglis tried to explain to the constituent that his coverage is “being provided by the government,” but the constituent refused to believe it. ]

And speaking of separating myth from reality, why is Laffer taking on the Post Office and the DMV?

Now, granted, the DMV in most states isn't the model of efficiency.  And the DMV is an easy punchline for jokes.  But to be honest, my experiences at the DMV haven't been entirely bad.  Not all of them.  Even so, that's not the fault of a the federal government.  That's state government. 

And the U.S. Postal service?  When did the U.S. Post Office become an unquestioned byword for "bad government program"?  For less than 50 cents, I can put an envelope in my mailbox, someone comes to my house (I don't have to call to schedule a pickup), and that letter arrives someplace 2-3 days later.  For under 50 cents!!!

Do people have post office horror stories?  Sure they do.  But they have just as many — if not more — UPS and Fedex/Kinko horror stories.

Frankly, if the government took over health care and it ran as well as the USPS, that would be one damn good government program.