Re: Guest Post - Best crony capitalism in the world

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The TOS tried to warn us.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 12:10 PM
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The post office crisis is almost entirely manufactured, as I know we've discussed more than once. I may or may not muster the energy to search TFA.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 12:51 PM
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to allow it to negotiate on behalf of both the Postal Service and prospective buyers

I'm pretty sure that in b-school we talked about something called an "arms-length transaction."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 1:12 PM
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You know how when you are really good at something, you can just whip out big projects like they were nothing? Like, if I were to bake a cake, it would be an all day project for me. But Molly can say "Oh wait, guests are coming soon, I'll just quick throw together a cake."

Republicans are like that with manufacturing crises. You or I couldn't even begin to manufacture a national crises. But Republicans, they can whip one up in an afternoon after brainstorming the idea at a prayer breakfast.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 1:15 PM
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"Wow, terrific crisis you've manufactured here, Bob."

"What, this? Oh, its just a little something I threw together."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 1:30 PM
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Too bad nobody important ever gets sent to jail.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 1:58 PM
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Here, Kraab. Probably elsewhere, too.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 2:20 PM
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"Oh this old crisis? I just whip it up when I haven't a thing to destroy."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 2:20 PM
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||

This is so weird: the DC metro sells shower curtains illustrated with the metro map.

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Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 2:21 PM
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I almost bought an NYC shower curtain map for my subway-obsessed kid.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 2:33 PM
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I might buy a NYC curtain now that I know it exists.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 3:49 PM
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I was going to say entirely manufactured, but I looked around some before saying that (including TFA, which were surprisingly vague) and found the big thing I had in mind, that a Republican law forces them to prefund retiree health benefits much more than the private sector would, may not be correct. Or rather, it's true that their projected liabilities go 75 years out, but according to the GAO it's still only projecting costs for current employees and retirees, not as yet unhired employees. It is, however, true that they're required to do the prefunding at an accelerated rate in the first ten years.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 3:55 PM
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The prepaid-benefits portion of the crisis (which is most of it) is definitely manufactured, but there are also underlying problems with the USPS's finances and business model that would be there anyway. The whole thing illustrates many of the problems with using government-sponsored monopolies to provide public services.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 4:02 PM
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Presumably the USPS does have some problems related to the fact that no one sends first class mail anymore.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 4:33 PM
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Right, those are the real problems.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 4:42 PM
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Yes, but those are not real problems associated with being a state sponsored monopoly. Presumably privatized monopoly post service would have been bought by some billionaire and mismanaged for parts, and private competitive postal service would have decided to stop serving mail, aside from sending catalogs to the very rich.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 4:59 PM
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10, 11: I have one in my son's bathroom.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 5:03 PM
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16: The private mail service would chop up the mail, bundle it back together, and then place side bets against the odds of anyone ever getting holiday cards.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 5:06 PM
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Presumably privatized monopoly post service would have been bought by some billionaire and mismanaged for parts, and private competitive postal service would have decided to stop serving mail, aside from sending catalogs to the very rich.

Probably, yeah. In this sort of situation the best option is probably to have the government just fund the service directly out of general revenue and give up on the idea that it should be profitable.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 5:10 PM
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I keep reading the title of this post as referring to "Brony capitalism".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 5:12 PM
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20: Me tooooooo!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 5:40 PM
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The inconceivability of subsidies is definitely part of the manufacture of the crisis. But I would be interested to have Knecht or someone else similarly informed weigh in on how the prefunding obligation compares to private sector best practice (to the extent that exists).

Also my link has a possibly-interesting reference on how the USPS still provides many business products below costs, though I haven't read it yet.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 5:54 PM
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Also my link has a possibly-interesting reference on how the USPS still provides many business products below costs, though I haven't read it yet.

The link in the OP makes an offhand reference to this too, which was also interesting and new to me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 7:16 PM
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Oh, right, it's the same link. When I first read 22 I though you had posted another one in the comments.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 7:17 PM
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It used to be the main service the provided below cost was shipping heavy shit to Alaska. I don't know if that changed or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 8:07 PM
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They certainly still do that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 8:22 PM
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If you guys fed the moose more generously, you'd probably be able to source more local heavy shit.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 8:24 PM
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I understand that UPS and FedEx use the Postal Service a lot for last mile delivery in out-of-the-way places. No doubt that's below cost, or those carriers would do it themselves.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 8:28 PM
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FedEx uses the Postal Service for last mile delivery to my office and I work right near everything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 9:17 PM
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I learned this the hard way when Amazon said that FedEx had delivered my package to its final destination and I didn't see it. FedEx just meant that they'd dumped it at the post office. It came with the regular mail.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 9:19 PM
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Stupid "Super Saver" shipping.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 9:27 PM
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Now there's a tongue-twister.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 9:28 PM
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28: That could alternatively just cost less for USPS because it has more rural infrastructure than UPS or FedEx have any reason to build.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 10:18 PM
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Also my link has a possibly-interesting reference on how the USPS still provides many business products below costs, though I haven't read it yet.

The guy at the local record store, which obviously does a lot of its business mail-order these days, is all doom and gloom about how the USPS is going to raise media rates to be like the regular rates and now he'll have to charge twice as much to ship stuff and nobody will pay it.


Posted by: Cryptic nedr | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 11:52 PM
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I'm kind of surprised he still has any business at all, actually.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-21-13 11:54 PM
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That could alternatively just cost less for USPS because it has more rural infrastructure than UPS or FedEx have any reason to build.

I'm not sure this would be the case. Operating post offices, keeping trucks in running order, and maintaining a big enough workforce are all expensive on an ongoing basis. The post office can either make money or operate post offices in small towns and deliver to houses in the middle of nowhere at the same rate as they do other places, but they can't do both. I'm not sure why we in the US believe all our public services also have to make money, instead of thinking of them as providing a necessary civic service that is funded through taxes.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:03 AM
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The post office can either make money or operate post offices in small towns and deliver to houses in the middle of nowhere at the same rate as they do other places, but they can't do both. I'm not sure why we in the US believe all our public services also have to make money, instead of thinking of them as providing a necessary civic service that is funded through taxes.

I don't think we have that attitude about all public services, actually (how profitable is the Navy?), but it certainly does apply to the USPS and a few others like Amtrak. Presumably the ultimate source of this attitude is the longstanding American antipathy to taxation in general, which has intensified in recent decades.

Despite all that, however, I think it's worth noting that in many rural areas the USPS doesn't actually deliver to individual houses. Deliveries go to to the local post office and people pick them up there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:12 AM
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PERSONAL TO M/TCH M/LLS:

I think your twitter account may have been hacked.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:17 AM
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Pretty sure he's asleep right now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:23 AM
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I have to travel today. I hope he sees it when he wakes up. I've also messaged him elsewhere.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:25 AM
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37

The military is a whole different animal because we live in a police state where legitimate all state violence is worshipped and our overlords can siphon billions out of the system through corrupt business deals.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:26 AM
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41: Fair enough; substitute the National Park Service, or the Social Security Administration, or the Food and Drug Administration, or (almost) any other government agency that is generally popular and uncontroversial. The point is that the vast majority of the things the federal government does are funded by taxation and are not expected to be profitable.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:36 AM
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National Park Service, or the Social Security Administration, or the Food and Drug Administration, or (almost) any other government agency that is generally popular and uncontroversial.

Of course, there are some very loud libertarians who want to get rid of all these things, and who aren't nearly as marginalized as they should be.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 6:18 AM
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Per the NYT article of a couple of weeks ago, the National Park Service and the national parks are not as generally popular as one would hope (i.e., the vast, vast majority of patrons are whiter than white). How will they fare in a majority-non-white U.S. if they cannot shed an exclusive association with "white people" and their vacations, concerns, interests, etc.?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 6:33 AM
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No argument with 36.last.

And the public-service aspect of the FDA is severely compromised by the current user fee system.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 8:12 AM
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44: Short term the big parks are popular as hell, at least out here in the west. I get to Glacier or Yellowstone or both every year and they're packed. In Yellowstone it's often necessary to reserve tent campground spots two months in advance or more if you want to get a decent chunk of time like a week. And as minority groups get more prosperous I think they'll get on the bandwagon much in the way an inner city kid like Ta-nehisi Coates fantasizes about moving to CO.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 10:27 AM
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20/21: Pretty sure "Friendship is Magic" would indeed be a reasonable slogan for crony capitalism!


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 12:15 PM
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44: I grew up very SWPL but with an asthmatic brother, so I've never even been to the big national park in our state. The only time I've talked to a ranger was at the Brown v. Board of Ed historical site, where we didn't see any other visitors. I'd promised the girls we'd do a smaller state park with caves this year, but now that there's a baby we probably won't. (We're still planning to make the promised Amtrak trip to Chicago, so I suppose I'd better buy tickets tomorrow And let's hope Selah can sleep through the night on a train!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:23 PM
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Ohio has a national park named after the river that caught on fire. But don't let that fool you. It's a very scenic river before it gets to the part that used to be polluted.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 1:50 PM
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I keep being surprised how many NPs they have nowadays. Along with all the other units of various kinds.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 2:17 PM
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And the public-service aspect of the FDA is severely compromised by the current user fee system.

This is also true of the NPS, actually.

And, sure, I don't argue with any of the other points people have been making. Nevertheless, the US government does in fact levy taxes, and it does in fact spend that money on services of various kinds. The Postal Service and Amtrak are the exception, not the rule, and subsidizing services like that is hardly unthinkable in our current system. (In theory, at least. In practice the tendency has of course been in the other direction lately.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 2:28 PM
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|| Hey teo, any Boss Niece updates? Or have I missed them? |>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 3:36 PM
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4: Democrats, on the other hand, have to work really hard to source Fair Trade locally recovered organic gluten-free crises.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 3:42 PM
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52: No, I haven't been in touch with her in a while.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 4:37 PM
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Thorn -- when did a baby come into the picture?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 4:55 PM
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Thorn turned straight, got knocked up by Urple, and had started up a new life coaching business with Von Wafer in their new city, Rochester NY. Try to keep up, BG.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 5:06 PM
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56: And I used to be on top of all the commenters' lives.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 5:24 PM
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Also Heebie left her husband, fell into a coma, while her husband is having an affair with her ingenue younger sister, Weebie-Steamy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 5:24 PM
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54 Too bad, that's quite a while back. Thanks.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 5:32 PM
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55: She's been here 10 days. I knew she existed for two weeks before that, but I spent that first week reminding myself not to get my hopes up since she'd probably go to some nice straight suburban infertile couple, the kind wh deserve babies. But instead after a week they chose us and asked us to take her for respite for the following four days, which would have been easier if we'd already had a crib, etc. One more week later she moved in for good (with the usual caveat that nothing is certain until an adoption goes through, which can't happen for at least six months) and I am now practically never online and totally exhausted and emotionally wiped out.

I can only assume that at some point the big girls will stop tempering their love of being big sisters with freaking out about being big sisters and turning into kicking/biting/spitting monsters, though it seems like a good sign that I am always the target and the baby never is. Lee is also feeling left out and like I'm not taking care of her or keeping up woth housework well enough, but utterly ignores the baby and has no reservations about that decision, just the one that left her stuck with me and my insistence on cooking for the children rather than a grown woman. Selah's medicine let her finall sleep through the night last night and even though I only got about 15 minutes to myself all day before staring this stupid long comment, I should get several hours of unnterrupted sleep and feel much better in the morning. But oh man does the work never stop. I am never going to be caught up on laundry and I don't even care. But the baby is amazing and having a baby is so much fun, just also work.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 6:36 PM
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I was wondering how the big girls were adjusting. That's a lot for you to juggle. I'm glad you got some sleep; it makes a huge difference. I hope you find a better balance with all your girls (including Lee). I have a friend who just repeats "Good mothers have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids."


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 7:19 PM
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Why doesn't Urple,do the laundry, fucking deadbeat dad lazybones.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 7:25 PM
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Motherfuckimg babyignoringn


Posted by: Robert HalfordI | Link to this comment | 09-22-13 7:27 PM
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||

Ian Welsh on the Egyptian military repression of the Muslim Brotherhood. I express contrition, and comment on the alignment of forces.

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-24-13 4:18 AM
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