Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We Deliver For You - So Pay Up!

As I was scanning headlines in today's Wall Street Journal, I caught a tiny little article hidden away at the bottom of the last page of the Marketplace section, titled "Postal Service Pays Off Remainder of Its Debt". Naturally, I got excited. What's this? A gov't agency, long in the red, is finally in the black -- with a surplus? Okay, okay, quasi-governmental. Semantics aside, I knew this news was just too good to be true, so I read on and naturally, here's where the "government" in quasi-governmental comes into play. The USPS basically finished its fiscal year with a $1.4bn surplus. The plan for 2006 is for a $1.3bn surplus. So far, so good -- we're still ahead here -- but then comes the kicker: "a requirement that it place $3bn in escrow is forcing it to raise postal rates on Jan. 8 to cover the added expense." But it gets better: the Jan. 8 increase will only cover the escrow account, so in order to pay for rising costs, another increase will take place in 2007. HA! I knew it! Only government can have rules so that even if it makes a profit, it would still have to raise prices in order to pay for those profits.

And they wonder why people are using the internet in place of snail mail from communications to paying bills. Could you imagine if a company, take an evil oil or energy corporation for example, announced significant profits; that the bottom line on its balance sheet had finally gone from red to black and in recognition of this, they were raising prices or rates 8 -10%. Oh the cries for Congress to intervene, for mothers to hide their children in safe places! Those nasty corporations have EXTRA money, why are the charging us more? Why, they're ripping us off! Gouging! Evil greedy corporations with gazillion dollar-per-year salaried CEOs and they're making the little guy pay more!!

Yet the post office gets away with it time and time and time again.

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