OT The Post Office should cut mail days in half and the price of stamps

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On 12/07/10 11:23 pm, snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.gov wrote:

<snip>
But look what happened when it was proposed to have a "public" (i.e., government) health-insurance plan: "No, no no!! They'll put the private insurers out of business!!" I think there would be screams if the USPS did try to move into the 21st century and compete with UPS and FedEx.
Perce
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The postal service did experiment with electronic mail back before it was so common. It was in the days when the only national data communications networks were private. They were told to get out of it.
The post office is not supposed to compete with the private sector. They tread a fine line of attempting to remain in the black yet not drive competing services like fedex and ups out of business. You think a organization with the backing of the federal government couldn't drive fedex and ups out of business if they wanted to?
Privatizing the post office would mean that rural communities stopped getting reasonably priced mail service. The post office has to deliver to everyone, private companies would not. They would take the profitable work and we'd end up completely subsidizing the rural delivery. No one can make a profit delivering mail on a route of 62 stops that takes 130 miles of driving. The law requires the post office deliver to everyone, that's why you still hear the phrase "rural free delivery".
You guys don't seem to actually know much about the post office or the restrictions it operates under.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

Maybe they should work like the garbage men. Smash the container and throw the lid into the woods.
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LSMFT

Simple job, assist the assistant of the physicist.
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On 12/8/2010 7:58 AM, jamesgangnc wrote:

But rural now means two things. There is the true rural with farms and folks who live near them to work on or support something to do with farming/ranching/etc and then there is the new rural which consists of urban sprawl largely with folks who don't want to have neighbors. I don't think group two needs to be subsidized by us. Same thing with high speed Internet. I border on what used to be a true rural area which has now become a place for folks who don't want neighbors. As an example there is a two mile long road that has maybe 15 homes and they make constant noise that no one will build out high speed Internet into their area. What would be wrong with having a surcharge? Say Internet costs $40 where I live where maybe there are 250 homes in the same two miles why would it be wrong to ask folks who intentionally want to distance themselves to pay more for the cost of servicing them?

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That's just silly. How are you going to decide who gets free mail and who has to pay? And what their rates are? Got any idea what the burden of administering such a system would be?
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On 12/8/2010 9:24 AM, jamesgangnc wrote:

Who said anything about free?
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That's how some mail worked a long time ago. It's still too complicated to administer. The pay when you send model has been universally adopted. Even the private companies do pay as you send and zoned rates. That should tell you something.
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The Postal Service has proposed several services that use email in one form or another, going back to the late 80s. Also in the late 80s/early 90s, they proposed several fax-based services. In all cases, after lobbying by various interests, the Postal Regulatory Commission (formerly the Postal Rate Commission), the Postal Board of Governors, or Congress has prevented them from implementing any of those proposals.
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There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.

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On Wed, 8 Dec 2010 21:51:53 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@sdf.lNoOnSePsAtMar.org (Larry W) wrote Re Re: OT The Post Office should cut mail days in half and the price of stamps:

That's interesting and not surprising for the U.S. I've often wondered why the U.S.P.S. doesn't develop a national secure email system. Now I know why.
--
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On 12/8/2010 5:30 PM, Caesar Romano wrote:

Just think if they did. Who would trust "secure email" that was operated by the government?
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It would be no less secure than what we have now, and if it cost say 1 cent per 100 or so emails, would eliminate most spam, too.
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with the average voter. (Winston Churchill)
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On 12/8/2010 9:58 PM, Larry W wrote:

It all depends "what we have now" means. It is certainly possible to have secure email communications using peer reviewed encryption so you have reasonable assurance it is secure.
Hoe exactly would entrusting the government with your email be secure?
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I think the point is that the post office, unlike the private services, can't just look around for new areas to make money. Their operating boundaries are rigidly controlled.
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On 12/9/2010 7:51 AM, jamesgangnc wrote:

But the only way the initial plan would have worked if the government used its exclusive franchise to carry mail to also carry email and claim that no one else could provide email services. Not sure that would have been well received.
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The idea I saw was you went into a post office and sent your email. It printed out at the post office closest to the recipient. The email got included in the regular daily delivery. So you basically had overnight service for a fraction of the then "express" mail option. I don't remember that it included establishing a monopoly thru regulations. Other overnight services were not prevented around that era.
This was in the days when almost no one had a computer at home and if you did have one the only networking you had at home was to dial up isolated services like bulletin boards. I remember paying $2k for an ibm xt those days. It had a 10 meg hard drive.
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On Thu, 9 Dec 2010 05:38:46 -0800 (PST), jamesgangnc

I had a full height external hard drive that was larger than a loaf of bread and it was as heavy as a cinder block. (2 - 5.25 bays high and over a foot long) It cost 600 bucks
I now have USB flash drive that can store 1000 times more data and the size/weight of a pack of gum. It cost 20 bucks
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On 12/09/10 07:51 am, jamesgangnc wrote:

Generalization alert! Americans do not like government, so they prevent the government from doing anything that might generate revenue and offset the costs involved in governing, and thus they can claim that government is wasteful and inefficient and a drain on the economy.
Perce
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That's not really the operating premise of the government. In the US it generally thought that the private sector can and does usually do a better job of many things. That's because the private sector is incentivized to do a better job or go out of business. The government is not supposed to compete with the private sector. The givernment is supposed to regulate and handle things that we don't think can equitably serve the public from the private sector. Mail, social security, things like that where the private sector has no incentive to service sections of the population that would be unprofitable.
Health care is one of those areas that has become a controvesial issue but bassically is the same problem. There is a segment of the population that there is just no way to profitably provide health care to. Does that segment of the population deserve health care? If you say they do not deserve health care then you need to repeal the law that says when they show up at the emergeny room they have to be treated. Let them die on the curb. If you say they do deserve health care then you need a way to pay for it.
Americans speak out of both sides of their mouth. They don't want the government involved in anything until they think someone has treated them or someone they know unfairly then the first thing they want to know is why didn't the government do something about it. This whole deficit is that same problem. Americans want the government to spend less but don't cut anything that affects them. Americans have an unrealstic expectation of government these days. It's gotten us into a mess.
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wrote:

<<In the US it generally thought that the private sector can and does usually do a better job of many things. That's because the private sector is incentivized to do a better job or go out of business. The government is not supposed to compete with the private sector. The givernment is supposed to regulate and handle things that we don't think can equitably serve the public from the private sector. Mail, social security, things like that where the private sector has no incentive to service sections of the population that would be unprofitable.>>
There's also the problem of monopoly businesses. If there's no competition, the principles of the free market just don't work very well. Look at your ever-rising cable bill to see that process in operation. We even see that just two or three competitors don't really qualify as real competition because it's too easy for them to collude on prices. Look at insurance - often you don't know what you've been paying for until you're deathly ill and they deny you coverage. Many people would have been better off with no insurance - if they had been able to save and not spend the premium dollars. I've been through it twice. The last thing in the world a sick person should have to add to their list of troubles is a war with a faceless health insurance bureacracy.
In the '30's it was necessary for the government to make the push to make phone and electrical lines reach to the part of the population where it wasn't "profitable" for business to reach. Why? To keep two different Americas from forming within our borders, for one thing. We're seeing a similar problem with the Internet. People who don't have it, or have only dialup, are at a distinct disadvantage over those that do and unlike phone or electric lines, you don't just install it and turn on a light or talk, there's an intellectual divide forming like we've never seen before. A country with one civil war in its history has to work extra hard to make sure those sorts of deep sociological divisions never happen again.
<Health care is one of those areas that has become a controvesial issue but basically is the same problem. There is a segment of the population that there is just no way to profitably provide health care to. Does that segment of the population deserve health care? If you say they do not deserve health care then you need to repeal the law that says when they show up at the emergeny room they have to be treated. Let them die on the curb. If you say they do deserve health care then you need a way to pay for it.>
We pride ourselves on being the greatest nation on earth. Yet we've got health care and education ratings that aren't really very good compared to the rest of the world and the reasons for that are not being addressed correctly. I have friends in Australia that think our way of doing things is downright dumb, and I tend to agree. As you point out, we're paying for indigent health care already, and in the worst way possible - as high cost emergency care.
Certainly there's a danger in giving something to someone who has not contributed their fair share in creating it. Giving unemployment checks and letting people sit at home is insane. Give them money to retrain, to look for work, to clean public parks, to do something that gets them out of the house and used to the idea of going to work every day.
Study after study has shown the longer people are out of work, the less likely they will ever go back to work. If they want that check badly enough, they'll clean up litter or use the time to interview for jobs that are more suited to their skills. Disability claims have doubled since the collapse because that system is in total disarray and also *should* be improved, and perhaps parts of it privatized with the government just acting as an "honest broker." Now it seems that people who actually qualify but were working anyway until the recession are giving up hope of finding disabled-friendly employers and have applied for disability payments instead.
<Americans speak out of both sides of their mouth. They don't want the government involved in anything until they think someone has treated them or someone they know unfairly then the first thing they want to know is why didn't the government do something about it. This whole deficit is that same problem. Americans want the government to spend less but don't cut anything that affects them.>
Or pay more in taxes now that we're learning that paying for government via perpetual growth is as fraudulent as any other perpetual motion machine.
<Americans have an unrealstic expectation of government these days. It's gotten us into a mess.>
It's true in a lot of dimensions. Just ask any contractor what most people expect to get for their $5,000 remodel.
-- Bobby G.
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

There is virtually NOTHING that a government - any government - can do that can't be done better by private enterprise.
"What about police protection!" you may claim. In my city, there are probably ten times the number of private security guards as there are police (not to mention an armed citizenry).
"Well, well... there's the fire department!" In the United States, 85% of the firefighters are volunteers.
"Ah, ha! Surely you wouldn't dismiss the military!" Throughout history, many wars were fought by mercenaries. If you need a war, you hired an army.
All of the above are certainly extreme, but we have ample examples of private enterprise working WITH the government. In my town, the city contracts with a private trash collector. The private trash collector descended with a fleet of automated trucks and provided each resident with a special trash can (instead of the former requirement of bags and before that privately owned cans). The result is a SUBSTANTIAL improvement - for the homeowner - regarding garbage collection.
On a more national level, virtually all building codes mandate UL-certified stuff, but Underwriter's Laboratories is a private company. Contrast that cooperation combination with government-only testing and regulation as in the FDA or the EPA. Most government regulatory bodies could fuck up a wet dream.
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