Tad DeHaven

Over at the leftish Mother Jones, Kevin Drum lists the bill’s “reforms” and concludes that “We are ruled by idiots.” Drum’s beef is that the bill doesn’t make it easier for the USPS to increase prices to generate more revenue. There are arguments for and against higher postal prices, but the fundamental problem—in my opinion—is that prices are set by the government instead of market forces. It is impossible to know what the appropriate prices for postal services should be in the absence of a competitive marketplace for mail. Similarly, Congress dictates that mail be delivered six days a week. Why in the 21st Century must practically every home in the country receive mail six days a week? Again, allow market forces to decide how often people receive mail. Perhaps some people would be willing to pay to receive mail seven days a week. Or three days. Or no days. Instead, we remain stuck with the one-size-fits all government approach that reflects parochial and political, rather than economic and financial, considerations.

As for Drum’s conclusion, I’ll leave that up to readers to decide. I will say that this video of Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), one of the bill’s sponsors, making the case for using wind farms to power a new fleet of battery-operated USPS delivery vehicles doesn’t help:


Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).