Wherein Pino Was Corrected


Last night I was talking to a more Liberal friend of mine.  Both lovers of things political and dedicated to the “Ought”, we often discuss the on goings of the world, the nation and all things political.  During our discussion the topic of privatization came up.  Typical “battle lines” were drawn.  Me with my, “There is precious little the government can do well” and his “It is the role of the government”.

Well, he asked me to demonstrate one thing that the private sector does better than the government.  My answer, deliver packages, things like the mail.  Companies like FedEx and UPS do it better and they do it while making a profit.  Further, to make my point, I claimed that there is nothing that says these things have to be done by the government.  They are not specifically called out in the Constitution.

He said, “Ahhh, yes.  The Post Office IS called for specifically in the Constitution”.

I checked.

He was right.  I was wrong.

Section. 8.

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

The Constitution DOES call for the Government to establish a Post Office.

However, even as I’m writing this, it occurs to me that the requirement is that the government establishes these post offices.  I wonder if people think that the government must actually RUN them with government employees?

For example, the same clause calls for the government to post roads.  But not all roads are government run, owned or managed.  We have roads that are in private hands.

Anyway, the point is I didn’t know that Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 called out the Post Office.

Huh.

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9 comments
  1. Moe said:

    There are still Post Roads all over the place – in my CT hometown US Route 1 is still called the Post Road, which is what it was originally and we still call it that. When cars came the gov’t paved a lot of the old post roads and incorporated them into early US Routes (like Route 1).

    They were charged to keep these roads open so the mail could move on them – by horse and coach of course in those days. So I wonder how much they are charged to do? Does’t matter of course, changes will come, and the post office will adapt but not go away.

    (By the way, do you know how can I get FedEx to deliver a birthday card to my aunt in CA – door to door – in four days for 47 cents?)

    Just did a round with jonolan at my place on this very subject. It’s here if you’re intersted:
    http://maureenholland.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/george-will-at-his-most-egregious-and-sends-his-christmas-cards-by-fedex/#comments

    • pino said:

      By the way, do you know how can I get FedEx to deliver a birthday card to my aunt in CA – door to door – in four days for 47 cents?

      Well, they aren’t as good as UPS or FedEx.

      Or as easy to deal with when they make a mistake.

      • Moe said:

        Ahem, my friend . . . that 47 cents delivery? Any competition?

      • pino said:

        Ahem, my friend . . . that 47 cents delivery? Any competition?

        The USPS holds monopoly powers over First Class mail. If either FedEx or UPS could offer that service, they would be able to beat $0.47 cents as well.

        So, when you can show me a competitor to the USPS that has equal access to the market as they do, we can discuss prices.

      • Is the mail 47 cents now? I thought it was 44.

  2. What? I’m liberal but I’d argue that the private sector does MOST things better than government. Government is better at providing collective goods, regulating markets, and promoting the general welfare. Like conservatives, I want limited government, and only as much government as is necessary. I just tend to think the necessary level is a bit higher than conservatives do.

    I do think the post office does a very good job, and it’s very cheap. But today I had to mail a PTA fundraiser check in and I realized that I don’t know what the cost of a stamp is. Thanks to e-mail, I don’t use the postal service much anymore!

    • pino said:

      What? I’m liberal but I’d argue that the private sector does MOST things better than government.

      He doesn’t see it that way; all things are done better by the government.

      • Well, that’s more socialist than liberal. Socialism is the government owning and running everything, and that hasn’t worked too well where tried.

      • pino said:

        Well, that’s more socialist than liberal. Socialism is the government owning and running everything, and that hasn’t worked too well where tried.

        Well, Socialism is just Left added to Left. But yes, he would be happier with that.

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