Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Shut Down the Postal Service


The Postal Service has announced that it is closing 3,700 post offices across the country due to financial troubles.

I’ve got a better idea. How about closing the Postal Service itself and turning over the delivery of first-class mail entirely to the private sector?

After all, the Postal Service is a monopoly. That means the government has granted it an exclusive privilege to deliver first-class mail without fear of competition. Why should we have monopolies in a country that purports to be based on principles of free enterprise?

What happens if a private-sector business tries to compete against this monopolist? Postal Service officials immediately run to their nearest U.S. Attorney’s office to complain. Some assistant U.S. Attorney then immediately runs to a federal judge, who immediately enters an injunction against the private-sector malefactor, requiring him to shut down his competitive effort.

That’s how a monopoly works. The monopolist gets all the business and uses the force of government to shut down competitors.

Throughout history, people have been besieged by monopolies. And they’ve hated them. Knowing that they don’t have to worry about competition, products and services provided by monopolies are always substandard and shoddy. And customers are made to feel like servants rather than as sovereigns.

What happens if a customer dislikes the service provided by some post office? He can’t switch his business to a competitor because, again, competitors are not allowed. All he can do is switch his business to another branch of the postal monopoly. Big deal. It’s the same organization.

What about people in the mountains? How would they get their mail if the Postal Service is dismantled and the postal monopoly repealed? Perhaps in the same way they get their milk and bread. When one decides to live in the mountains, there are costs associated with that decision. No one has a right to have mail delivered to his house any more than he has a right to have milk and bread delivered to his house.

The free market produces the best of everything, while government enterprises and government-granted monopolies produce the worst of everything. In a free market, the consumer is king and competitors must constantly seek to serve him better in order to keep his business. With government businesses and monopolies, the provider doesn’t have to worry about losing anyone’s business to competitors.

Monopolies have no business in American life. Our heritage is economic liberty, private property, free markets, free enterprise, competition, and consumer sovereignty.

Let’s not limit the Postal Service’s closures to 3,700 post offices. Let’s shut down the whole thing, repeal the postal monopoly, and let freedom reign.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.