On 12/07/10 11:23 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
<<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
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
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
<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
It's true in a lot of dimensions. Just ask any contractor what most people
expect to get for their $5,000 remodel.
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
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