Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Opus 2013-69: Post Office: Some Things Never Change

We have been hearing rumblings for quite some time that the post office is going to do away with Saturday delivery.  I will miss it but it will not rock my world.  I am more concerned about the trend than the current practice.  Less service for higher prices is not a good indication of the future.  The bigger issue we keep hearing about are the deficits run up by the Post Office, year after year while the competition is making profits.  I thought a little historical context might be interesting. 

One of my reading projects is to read through the writing of Abraham Lincoln which are available for download from Project Gutenberg.  I am currently in volume 6.  I came across this little tidbit in “Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.”  If you don’t like long quotes, just read the last sentence to get the point.
“It gives me pleasure to report a decided improvement in the financial condition of the Post-Office Department as compared with several preceding years. The receipts for the fiscal year 1861 amounted to $8,349,296.40, which embraced the revenue from all the States of the Union for three quarters of that year. Notwithstanding the cessation of revenue from the so-called seceded States during the last fiscal year, the increase of the correspondence of the loyal States has been sufficient to produce a revenue during the same year of $8,299,820.90, being only $50,000 less than was derived from all the States of the Union during the previous year. The expenditures show a still more favorable result. The amount expended in 1861 was $13,606,759.11. For the last year the amount has been reduced to $11,125,364.13, showing a decrease of about $2,481,000 in the expenditures as compared with the preceding year, and about $3,750,000 as compared with the fiscal year 1860. The deficiency in the department for the previous year was $4,551,966.98.”
I am too lazy to do the research but this would indicate that the Post Office has a long history of running a deficit.  Four Million Dollars in 1862 was a lot of money.  It is still a lot of money for me but if you use an Inflation Calculator you find that the current value would be around $103, 431,000.  That is still not what is being projected but you get the point.  I would guess that the Post Office has never paid for itself.

I am not sure I have a problem with that.  While I support allowing private companies to compete, I think there is a place for a government subsidized postal system.  I can see how this could be important for national security.  And of course the final point would be that it is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, that “The Congress shall have power ...To establish post offices and post roads;...”

That doesn’t automatically mean it should be subsidized, but it does mean that the Founding Fathers felt the mail was within the sphere of the government.

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln - Volume 6: 1862-1863.  Project Gutenberg.   Loc. 2238-45.

homo unius libri


  1. The problem is when a service doesn't HAVE to pay for itself, it usually WON'T!

  2. True but extend that to things like roads. I have heard people advocate a system of highways based on tolls. It could be done. You pay as you drive. Extend that to city streets and it gets stifling. Since I was raised on the the old California system of freeways I have a hard time with the toll roads back east.

    I know that government agencies are fraught with waste. The public school is a great example. I would never give them more money until they use what they have wisely and given the nature of educators, that would be never because wisdom is not a part of their make-up.

    Still, I would vote for free competition if it were up to me.

    Grace and peace.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.