Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brought to you by the United States Government

Our Legislative and Executive branches want to "fix" the national health care economy by creating a national health care system. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth has gone into creating several multi-thousand page bills describing the requirements for such a system, and by all accounts the legislators in the majority leadership are quite pleased with themselves.

My family worries about these efforts, because we cannot believe that the government is capable of acting more efficiently with our money than can we. Recently, we were presented with evidence to support that belief, in the form of another large, government-run quasi monopoly, the U.S. Postal Service. You see, in early December we had ordered a gift via an affiliate of Amazon.com. They shipped with a somewhat unique system, UPS Mail Innovations, using UPS for the long-haul from California to New Jersey, and the Postal Service for the last mile of delivery to our door.

The UPS portion of the delivery went pretty smoothly, crossing the country in a day:

  • Dec 7 2009 Mail Retrieved From Shipper
  • Dec 7 2009 Received at UPS Mail Innovations Origin R. Cucamonga, CA
  • Dec 7 2009 Processed at UPS Mail Innovations Origin R. Cucamonga, CA
  • Dec 8 2009 Transferred to UPS Mail Innovations Destination Logan Township, NJ
  • Dec 10 2009 Received at UPS Mail Innovations Destination Logan Township, NJ
  • Dec 10 2009 Manifested (Postage Paid)
  • Dec 10 2009 Entered USPS Facility SOUTH JERSEY, NJ
Great! Logan Township is only 40 miles from here, we should get our package any time, lots of leeway for wrapping and such. Alas, it was not to be. Since entering the USPS facility in South Jersey, our little package of less than a pound has been recorded in the postal service's tracking system no less than EIGHT times.
  • Electronic Shipping Info Received, December 10, 2009
  • Shipment Accepted; December 10, 2009, 5:16 pm, BELLMAWR, NJ 08099
Oh great! I thought. Bellmawr is even closer (25 miles), hope to get this package tomorrow.
  • Arrival at Post Office, December 12, 2009, 4:33 am, NEW YORK, NY 10013
What? Why did it (1) go to New York and (2) take 36 hours to travel less than 100 miles?
  • Sorting Complete, December 12, 2009, 9:19 am, NEW YORK, NY 10013
  • Out for Delivery or Available at PO Box, December 12, 2009, 9:49 am, NEW YORK, NY 10013
So, to whom did they give it for delivery? Given that it is addressed to my home in the 08075 zip code, I am perplexed.
  • Processed through Sort Facility, December 14, 2009, 1:22 am, NEW YORK, NY 10199
OK, moving in the right direction, I guess. Looks like the carrier returned it and then the oncoming shift Monday morning processed my package.
  • Processed through Sort Facility, December 16, 2009, 8:10 pm, JERSEY CITY, NJ 07097
Except that they sent it to the wrong sort facility! Jersey City doesn't handle our mail, Bellmawr does!
  • Processed through Sort Facility, December 22, 2009, 11:29 am, BELLMAWR, NJ 08031
Ah, now we're back in the right neighborhood. If Bellmawr processed it this morning just before lunch, I should expect it tomorrow, right? Oh, wait, remember what happened last time!

Given that something as simple as timely delivery of a small package over a distance of 40 miles escapes the capabilities of a government "enterprise" like the Postal Service, how can we expect that a government mandated "solution" to a problem that doesn't affect 80-90% of the population will be effective? The simple answer is that we cannot. What we can expect is an ever-expanding scope of government until it bankrupts us as a nation.