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Megan McArdle says the only reason Matthew Yglesias is defending the performance of that socialist bastion, US Post Office, is that he’s not old enough to remember how bad it was before it had to compete with private companies like FedEx.
I’m older than Megan McArdle and I have essentially no idea what she’s talking about. I have a vague sense that it was either impossible or very expensive to get same- or next-day shipping before FedEx came along, but that’s a premium service for business customers, not a standard service for regular citizens. Moreover, UPS has been around since 1907 so Matthew Yglesias would have to be pretty darn old to remember the days before the Postal Service had private competitors. Since FedEx obviously isn’t going to take over low-margin businesses like shipping regular letters and magazines for $0.42 each to people who live in farming villages in Nebraska, it’s pretty obvious that we need a national government-run postal service. And as far as I know the one we have has always done a perfectly good job.
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