How pathetic, deep, and ridiculous is federal government cronyism?
We’ve reached the point where private companies are demanding crony favoritism — against the government.
In this brave new Bizarro World, we are forced to…ugh…defend the government. Because cronyism is awful — no matter who its victim is.
We would like equal protection before the law for everyone. Cronyism is always and everywhere antithetical to that.
And as always, when cronyism screws someone specifically — it screws all of us generally.
Never more directly than when the cronyism costs the government money. Because, of course, that’s our money.
In this instance, the government agency prospectively getting screwed by government cronyism is the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Now, I am no fan of the USPS. At all. Its self-mandated mail monopoly is, of course, absurd. Its bookkeeping has always been inexact and exceedingly overdrawn. And it’s handed out HUGE cronyism of its own via its package delivery business to (at least) monstrous Big Tech company Amazon.
That being said, behold H.R.3076 — “The Postal Service Reform Act of 2021.”
“Buried with the proposal lies a provision, Section 202, which states, in part: ‘The Postal Service shall maintain an integrated network for the delivery of market-dominant and competitive products.’
“If the term ‘integrated network’ seems ambiguous and confusing, that’s because it is.
“The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) analysis of the bill, states that the integrated network provision is ‘not defined in the bill, nor is it defined in USPS guidance.’
“CRS offers that the provision may refer to the delivery of packages and mail in the same vehicle, and even then, still urges Congress to ‘seek clarity’ about the exact meaning.”
Now, I am all for more clarity in the bills Congress extrudes. The reason we have a huge, unaccountable, unconstitutional fourth branch of government — The Administrative State — is because Congress has spent many decades writing unclear laws that have allowed unelected bureaucrats to (re-)define them to their own maximum advantage.
But if we get clarity on Section 202 — and it definitely means “the delivery of packages and mail in the same vehicle?” That certainly is the fiscally conservative thing to continue to do.
Otherwise, what is the Post Office supposed to do? Use our money to pay to double its carrier workforce and duplicate every single vehicle in its fleet — and have a package truck follow every mail truck on the exact same routes?
Why would anyone object to this “integrative network?” Why would anyone want to force the Post Office to waste all of that money? Who would want to drive up government’s — and with it, obviously, our — cost of doing business?
If you were an ancient Roman, you would ask “Cui bono?” Today’s English translation: “Who benefits?”
What private sector companies would do better if the Post Office has to charge more for its package deliveries (since they are prohibited from increasing mail prices to offset package delivery)?
Well, what private companies compete against the USPS for package delivery business? Think the likes of FedEx, DHL, and UPS.
These companies would massively benefit from having the Post Office’s package costs artificially increased (considerably) as a result of this government cronyism. Their prices would by comparison look very much better.
They can then either charge more themselves — or take additional market share. And actually, given the huge USPS price hikes this cronyism will cause, almost certainly both.
UPS has long specifically said they’d like to see the Post Office increase its package prices:
“Private carriers like UPS are actively lobbying Congress to raise the Postal Service’s prices so that they, in turn, can raise their own prices.
“These lobbyists point to a 2017 Citigroup analysis that actually reveals how raising USPS prices would create a $15-19 billion ‘revenue opportunity’ for private carriers like UPS.
“Some companies are already making moves. Recently, after recording record profits from turning away deliveries from less profitable customers during the pandemic, UPS told investors that rate hikes and the prioritization of lucrative deliveries, rather than increased volume, will lead to more profitable margins going forward.
“Additionally, following their quarterly earnings report in April, UPS revealed their plan to increase shipping rates and focus on acquiring business from higher-margin customers.”
Get that extra bit of UPS nastiness there at the end?
UPS is cutting out low-end, low-profit customers. And using the China Virus lockdowns as cover.
Which they can do — because the USPS’ universal service mandate allows them to do it. The USPS has to deliver to everyone. So UPS can tell poor and rural Americans to take a flying leap — by off-loading them on government.
And now UPS is trying to have government mandate the breakup of USPS’ mail and package delivery. To force the USPS to unnecessarily double its carrier workforce and fleet and thereby necessarily, massively increase its prices.
Which is government cronyism to benefit UPS — at the expense of government. Which is, of course, at the expense of us.
Because before it’s government’s money, it’s our money.
And with this government cronyism, UPS is looking to indirectly, surreptitiously, obnoxiously make more and more of our money — their money.