Aug 112009

I love when overambitious politicians accidentally speak the truth – to their own detriment. I mean, how could I top a gem like this?

“Obama sought to dispel talk that his ultimate goal is a single-payer federal health care system, like that in countries such as Canada.

He also disputed the notion that adding a government-run insurance plan into a menu of options from which people could pick would drive private insurers out of business, in effect making the system single-payer by default.

As long as they have a good product and the government plan has to sustain itself through premiums and other non-tax revenue, private insurers should be able to compete with the government plan, Obama said.

‘They do it all the time,’ he said. ‘UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. … It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.’

  1. The Post Office has a monopoly on standard mail delivery.
  2. The Post Office struggles to sustain itself through non-tax revenues such as stamp sales.
  3. The Post Office is inferior to UPS, FedEx, et al., for shipping.
  4. The Post Office is an inefficient pseudo-monopoly that eats tax revenue and keeps mailing prices high due to lack of competition and innovation.
  5. The Post Office is no worse than any other government bureaucracy.
  6. Why should we expect government insurance/health care to be any better?

Update 08/13/09: Lew Rockwell has tossed in his two cents about this gaffe.

Obama and the Post Office

“Writing in The State and Revolution in 1917, Vladimir Lenin summed up the economic aim of socialism as follows: ‘To organize the whole economy on the lines of the postal service….’

“Incredible, isn’t it? After centuries of treatises and miles of paper and tubs of ink, this is the great historical turning point: government employees carrying sacks of paper mail from house to house, and operating at an economic loss.”

Update 08/18/09: John Stossel has chimed in.

Obama’s Post Office Mistake

“His mistake is telling. If he didn’t notice that the Post Office, despite providing worse service than UPS and FedEX, is bailed out by Congress, will he notice when a government-run health care plan is feeding off billions of your tax dollars?

“Or would he care? Before the election he supported a single payer system. Subsidized co-ops would be an easy back-door way to achieve the same thing.”

  • Michael Milburn

    This comment critical of the public option is misguided for a simple reason. The public option for reimbursing citizens for health care costs is not the same as the USPS vs. Fed Ex or UPS. Citizens do not spend money on mailing and then get reimbursed from the Post Office. The present system is unsustainable financially. Republicans have had 8 years in power to do something to fix it, and all they have done is protect insurance company profits.

    My brother is a doctor and says quite strongly that we need a single payer system. He is sick of dealing with 30 different insurance companies, all with different forms and different requirements.

  • It was a poor comparison, as I, Lew Rockwell, and John Stossel (whose stances on healthcare you should read) tried to point out. The USPS doesn’t put private package shippers or priority mail businesses, like UPS or FedEx, out of business, but that’s only because the USPS doesn’t have a monopoly on those services. It does however have a monopoly on ordinary letter carrying. As would be expected with any monopoly, the service is sub-par, costs are through the roof, innovation is limited, and customers pay high prices.

    See the discussion on the Facebook version of this post. Please don’t comment there, though. Though I can’t force it, I prefer comments here. Feel free to quote those folks, respond here, and leave a link to your comments at Facebook. 🙂

  • It seems as if Obama and the dems don’t know what they really want out of healthcare reform, and neither do they know about half the topics they discuss.

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