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From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: misc.consumers,misc.consumers.frugal-living,talk.politics.medicine,
Subject: Re: Disappointed and confused--don't know what to do
Date: 26 Apr 1999 04:52:44 GMT

In <> Bret Wood
<> writes:
>"Marcio V. Pinheiro" wrote:
>> I knes I knew this was coming. I love the USPS and their clerks. I
>> would be scared if we did not have them and instead all we had was
>> private corporations that could charge me as much as they wanted. Can
>> you imagine me trying to send a letter and netotiating with a fee for
>> service private guy how much he would charge me?... Or... then...if I
>> did not have the money having to beg him for charity?...
>Exactly.  What private company can compete with the USPS cost of
>delivering a letter, if you don't need it overnight or second day?

   Answer: I suspect any of them, for many routes.  They are prohibited
from offering to deliver first class mail, by law.  The government
maintains this monopoly by force.  Ever ask yourself why?  What's the
need?  If nobody can do it better for less, there's hardly a need for
such a law.  But it remains.  Which should tell you something.

   If the monopoly on first class mail was not maintained by force,
other carriers would skim off mail on the cheaper routes, and the feds
would be left with RFD.  The present first class mail system is, in
fact, a welfare system, with a one-rate single payor plan very much
like proposals for medical insurance.  A great number of parallels
there.  The government does not allow private companies to compete for
first class mail delivery for the same reason it doesn't allow them to
compete with public schools for your tax dollars, to educate your
children.  It knows it would lose, since the present system is a
cost-shifting, money transfer system.  Not a business.

   That monopoly by force on first class, BTW, subsidizes not only RFD
and the more expensive routes, but also the USPS program for larger
packages. If it did not, they couldn't compete with FedEx or UPS,
either.   When you have a gun to ensure that nobody else can do your
business, you can do great business.

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: misc.consumers,misc.consumers.frugal-living,talk.politics.medicine,
Subject: Re: Disappointed and confused--don't know what to do
Date: 26 Apr 1999 08:44:16 GMT

In <> Bret Wood
<> writes:

>Some of the best schools in the nation are government run.  The
>government does an _excellent_ job of running many post-secondary

   Name one.  And remember, we're comparing performance per dollar, not
just performance.  The government can always transfer money from here
to there to pay for a magnet school.  What's the average government

>> government-run parcel delivery versus commercial parcel delivery.
>For an individual item, which needs to be shipped in two days, the
>US Post Office is inferior.  Express Mail is actually less expensive
>than Federal Express or UPS, and _almost_ as reliable.

   And is subsidized by 1st class mail monopoly.

> For ordinary
>bill-paying, or other correspondence, the US Postal Service beats
>UPS or Fed Ex hands down for price/performance.

    It's illegal for UPS or FedEx to compete for first class mail
(letters the size of first class letters).  Thus, the government best
them hands down by having more guns.  That's great businesses accumen:
"Compete with me and I'll put you in prison."

>Then we could add things like:
>Government run ROADS.

   Government has the right of eminant domain, which gives them quite
an advantage in road construction/investment.  As for road repair, they
use the same people everybody else does.  Private companies, which have
entirely forced government run road repair out of the market.

>>  Government run Airports.

   Based on an FAA and state monopoly on airports for commercial jets.
Again, the gun.

   >>Government run Utilities.  These are three areas where Government
has competed against private interests, and the Governemnt did it

    Let us have an example where the government allowed a competing
utility into the market, competed with them directly, and won?  Fair
and square with no laws giving the government enterprise the advantage?
FYI, since made legal, private utilities have expanded rapidly against
government utilities, which once was nearly all that existed.

>How many private roads are there in the US compared to public

   The advantage of eminant domain again.  But historically the first
"freeway" in the US, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, was a private road.  As
were the first highways in Britain.

>  How well maintained are the private ones compared to
>the public ones.  (Private roads in Oregon are generally in
>horrible shape.)

     Private companies don't have the luxury of charging everybody in
an area for a service, whether they use it or not.  Or charging them at
the gas pump.  Governments can do this for roads, which are never
self-supported from tolls, as private road must be.

   Finally, there is the little problem that government enterprises
don't pay taxes.  When competing head to head, private enterprises
still generally manage to win.

> Government run airports have better facilites
>and handle much more traffic than private airports.

    That's because private airports of the necessary size are illegal.

> Government
>run untilites such as the Tenessee Valley Authority, and the
>Bonneville Power Administration have allowed electrical power
>to be available at incredibly low rates to many people who
>wouldn't even have had access to electricity at ALL until

    Yes, you tax it from people here and give it to people there.  No
magic about that.  But it's not business.

From: B. Harris)
Newsgroups: misc.consumers,misc.consumers.frugal-living,talk.politics.medicine,
Subject: Re: Disappointed and confused--don't know what to do
Date: 27 Apr 1999 00:55:49 GMT

In <> (William Bacon)

>How much of the inability is based on trying to utilize ancient
>hardware?  If the air traffic control system were privately based, it
>would replace the hardware much more quickly than the FAA has
>attempted to do.  Most government information systems are seriously
>lacking when compared to state-of-the-art systems.

   Part of the FAA's problem is that they collected 100's of millions
in Federal airport "user fees" which were supposed to go to an airport
development fund which did things like revamp ATC.  Alas, all that
money was were siphoned off to make some other government program look
extra efficient (probabably your roads or medicare), and left the
airports high and dry.

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