Many other bloggers have taken notice of Hugh Hewitt's stupid column wherein he argues for a boycott of General Motors cars and trucks. Other bloggers are handling the nuts and bolts of the problem with the boycott. It's this part I'm tired of.
Many are rightly afraid that the government will do to automobile production what it has done for Amtrack [sic] and the Postal Service, but the risk is much greater than a federally mandated lemon.First: Amtrak runs marvelously well given the handicaps it faces--it doesn't own its own tracks, in many cases, and is therefore required to move aside when the rail operator who owns the tracks wants priority. Furthermore, rail service in pretty much every country is subsidized, and to a far greater degree than Amtrak is, and still Amtrak manages to give pretty good service. I've ridden them across the country more than once and would do so again in a heartbeat.
But even if I were to grant that Amtrak is poorly run--and I'm not--the argument about the Post Office is just insane. The Post Office will deliver a letter anywhere in the US, no matter how distant or rural the recipient, for less than half a buck, and in the meantime, employs a great number of people and pays them a solid, middle-class wage. And best of all, it does this without any outside Congressional spending. People who want to privatize the Post Office often argue that private companies could do it cheaper, but they're lying. Private companies might be able to do it more cheaply in high density areas, but they wouldn't be able to service people in places like Red River, NM, where my brother-in-law used to live--and they wouldn't, unless they were required to by the government. A number of package delivery services wouldn't--too far off their route and not worth the small amount of business it would bring in.
The Postal Service is a great example of how the government can provide for the common good, and it does so with amazing efficiency--greater efficiency than the private sector could ever hope to match, in large part because all it has to do to be successful is break even. We should dream that GM is run as well as the Postal Service is.