Bernie Goes Postal

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Government banking – it’s an idea whose time should never come.Bernie image

Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders disagrees.

America’s reddest Democrat advocates turning the United States Post Office (another failing government-run operation) into a kind of Big Brother Bank. He figures the same joint that has trouble delivering your mail can be entrusted with your money … with Uncle there to bail out the operation, in the event things don’t work out.

Which of course they probably wouldn’t.

The USPS has a track record of failure. Of financial failure. This outfit has been hemorrhaging other people’s money for decades. Instead of trying to figure out how to deliver the mail without running a deficit, the USPS wants to “branch out,” kind of like a kid who broke something and can’t figure out how to put it back together… and has begun tearing something else apart.

Sanders touts his proposal as a way to help the poor – but as is typical of socialists (and Bernie openly embraces the title) he wants to “help” them with other people’s money.

Taxpayer money.

Your money.

That’s who would underwrite Bernie’ Banks.

Apparently, the billions the USPS has lost thus far isn’t enough. Why should it be, when the taxpayers’ pockets are bottomless (at least, as far as Sanders is concerned)?

Inspector General of the USPS David C. Williams thinks all of this is a great idea. In fact wants to one-up Bernie by having the Post Office get into lending and issuing debit cards to people, too (see here). In a report released last January, the inspector general describes all this as “non-banking services for the underserved.”

Come again?

USPS would handle people’s money, loan them money… but Williams does not consider such activities “banking services.”

He must also believe that the people waiting on line at the DMV are “customers,” too.

Ignore the word games. Follow the money – it’s the first thing they teach in journalism school.

And there’s lots of money at stake here.

While it’s true that private banks have been bailed out by the government, they do not have a financial umbilical cord to the taxpayer till, as the Post Office does. It is billed as an “independent agency of the United States government,” but it is funded via subsidies to the tune of $18 billion annually (see here) and the 600,000-plus postal employees are government workers, just like those at the DMV.

It is also a monopoly – a legal one.

While there are private delivery service for packages such as Fed Ex, only “U.S. mail” can be placed in mailboxes, making it very hard for private mail-delivery services to compete with the USPS.

Which may have something to do with the poor service – and high cost – of the USPS. Which Sanders wants to “fix” by turning the USPS into a government Frankenstein Bank.

What will happen when this unaccountable – to the market – government make-work project gets involved with handling people’s money? Issuing debit cards – and making loans?

Last year alone, the USPS lost $5.5 billion by its own admission. Does that sound like an outfit you’d want to entrust with your money? With more money?

With anyone’s money?

Sanders sees this scheme as way to undermine short-term lenders (aka payday loans) which he regards – with the despotic paternalism typical of socialists – as “exploitative.”

Yet the short-term lenders haven’t got Big Brother backing them up, forcing people to do business with them.

Or subsidize them.

They assume disproportionate risks when lending to people with little (and sometimes) no credit history, who are often marginally employed – and who frequently welsh on their debts. It’s easy to demagogue the issue via portrayals of hard-working but cash-strapped people who are “taken advantage of” by these lenders – but the reverse is more often true and that’s rarely examined, much less sympathized with.

How likely would you be to loan your brother-in-law (whom you knew to be a risk) a sum of money without precautions? And if he stiffed you, would you be likely to make another loan to his wife without taking additional precautions?

Also: Short-term lenders aren’t looking to you to “help” when things don’t pan out and they end up in the red. They are subject to market forces, which keep them in check by holding them accountable.

What Bernie proposes is to eliminate these checks and balances by foisting the responsibility – and ultimately, the tab – onto the backs of taxpayers.

That’s Bernie’s brand of “Democratic socialism.”

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Darn, I thought he took out a few of those FedFinks in a Branch Larry Davidian last stand shootout or something.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mail_(armour)

    Still, an interesting story though.

    Saturday Night Lies Version of Larry/Bernie
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfmwGAd1L-o
    – – –

    What is the meaning of the ending of “Man in the High Castle”?

    The end of Man in the High Castle consists of:

    Julianna Frink visiting Hawthorne Abendsen and asking the Oracle why it wrote The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the novel-within-a-novel that suggests, contrary to Dick’s story, that Germany and Japan lost World War II.
    http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE1LzExLzIxLzU1L0dldHR5SW1hZ2VzLjIwZGFkLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/87a5d5cd/af6/GettyImages-113976531.jpg

    The Oracle responds with the Chung Fu hexagram, meaning “Inner Truth”, implying that Grasshopper was actually true and the world Julianna and Hawthorne inhabit is fake.
    https://beckylindroos.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/map_castle1.png

    Understanding all that (and I’m assuming I’m interpreting it correctly), what did Dick want the reader to get out of this? What’s he saying?

    My initial thought was that Germany and Japan failed to conquer the US because the arts and culture remained, albeit dimmed, so the new world order they thought they created wasn’t really that dominating and strong, but that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me.

    Does anyone have a better understanding than me? Am I interpreting the ending wrong?

  2. If anything, the US postal system should be shut down, not expanded into other things the government has no business being in. The private companies could easy do the remaining mail left over.

    When I was doing graphic design for a living in the 1990’s, the post office lost a project I had to mail to a client, not once but TWICE. The third time I put the envelope into the smallest box from either fed ex or ups (since private companies are prohibited by law from carrying items in envelopes, yes really). So I sent a 95% empty box to that client in order for it to show up.

    • ” the US postal system should be shut down”
      The Constitution – if you believe in it – gives the Fedgov permission to operate a post office. But even that says nothing about it being a monopoly.

      • TECHNICALLY, it’s not a monopoly.
        You can send it FedEx or UPS, plus there are dozens of smaller courier services.

        Like Microsoft isn’t a monopoly, because you can use Apple or install Linux…

        like Ma Bell wasn’t a monopoly, you could use ham radio or cans and string…

        Oh, wait, I guess Ma Bell didn’t pay the right people. }:-(

        • It is a monopoly for regular mail. For express services and parcels there is no monopoly. It was made a legal monopoly to put an end to Lysander Spooner’s company.

          • Brent,
            We’re nit-picking details in a sense, but – that’s what keeps THEM in power.
            Microsoft isn’t a monopoly – UNLESS you actually need to read MS Office documents…. (Not sure, Open Office MIGHT be up to date… But we recall how Micosuck got started, right? Flood the market with free copies of software, encourage piracy, get everyone on the same platform…. THEN, pull the plug on the “freebie” aspect, and charge people arms and legs, once it’s the de facto standard around the world.)

            I didn’t know if Spooner’s company, and I think that’s a minor contrivance in a sense. E.G., Spooner could’ve simply altered how he did business, in a sense… FedEx, if you will.
            That doesn’t change the de facto monopoly, imposed by force, on others. Microsoft is known to have worked hard to destroy competitors, whether by buying them and destroying the competing product, by making the competing product not work or perform badly on Windows OS, by making the competing programs break windows, by screwing up installation and removal of software, causing disk issues, creating licensing issues, using “illegal” (some were, some were merely immoral) marketing methods, by skewing the playing field (E.G., subsidize the MS product so it sells on price; allows MS to become a monopoly as US Steel was defined to be.)

            We could send smoke signals, of course, but it wouldn’t really matter. We can FedEx letters, if we use one of their boxes.

            When you then bring in the legal aspect of “monopoly on violence,” though, is when it gets truly interesting.
            We’re back to, “Kill ’em all.” And it’s getting to be, “Because they exist.”

      • Yup, I know it does. But since the rest of the constitution has been flushed down the cr*pper, there is really no reason for the post offices existence anymore.

        But I know, they will take the first and second amendments before the post office would ever go away.

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