Matt says to lay off the post office:
As for the US Postal Service, at the end of the day it does a pretty darn good job. Want to send a letter somewhere? Put it in an envelop and stick it in a box, and it'll go where you wanted it to go. They'll pick the letter up from your house if you want it, and hand-deliver it to the destination. For not much money! Anywhere in the country!What you can say about the Postal Service is that in the modern day it's not clearly necessary to have a public agency guaranteeing the availability of this service in the way that it was before phones and email. But for quite a long time this was a really mission-critical element in our communications infrastructure and it still works just fine.
I suspect that the real problem here is that Matt does not remember what the Post Office was like before FedEx and email--before, in short, the salutary effects of capitalist competition had made it clear that the organization had better shape up if anyone who worked for it wanted to continue enjoying their dizzyingly boring, but steady and lavishly benefitted, jobs. Or what the phone company was like before there were cell phones and long distance competition.
These references to the post office are a bit of carryover from a worse era. But importantly, they're a bit of carryover from a worse era in which government was bigger and had more power over the market. This is worth remembering in a discussion about expanding government's brief--if we're old enough to remember.
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