Post Office Privatization?

Yet another panel to review the US Post Office, yet another promise to introduce some much-needed privatization. According to this CBS Marketwatch article,

In drawing up the new commission’s marching orders, the Bush administration is demanding reform that stops short of total privatization. But it can’t favor subsidies, either, said Peter Fisher, undersecretary of Treasury for domestic finance.

“We don’t want [the] commission to come back and suggest that the existing business model should be left in place and the costs all rolled up on the taxpayer,” he said. “We also don’t want them to come back and say that all the existing costs should be rolled up on the rate payer.”

He added, “Everything else is on the table.”

We’ll see. The competitive pressures brought to bear on the USPS by private delivery and electronic technology are finally eroding the value of the government-granted monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail. Perhaps looking at a country with a good success rate at privatizing government services, like the UK’s proposal to phase out the residential monopoly by 2006, would be a good start.