GOP Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty apparently felt the need to prove his right wing credentials in a speech today in Chicago, calling for the privatization of just about everything the government does, including the post office:
There’s some obvious targets. We can start by applying what I call "The Google Test." If you can find a good or service on the Internet. Then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it.
The post office — the government printing office — Amtrak — Fannie and Freddie were all built for a different time in our country. When the private sector did not adequately provide those services. That’s no longer the case.
What’s more — the same competitive efficiency that revolutionized America’s private sector over the last three decades — should at long last be applied to every corner of the federal bureaucracy as well.
I still can’t find on Google the “good or service on the Internet” that will pick up a letter at my house this afternoon and deliver it in 3 or 4 days to someone in Hawaii. (Pawlenty would probably tell you that nobody does that any more, which makes you wonder who the nobodies were that spent $67 billion mailing stuff last year, or the thirteen million nobodies who visit usps.com every month).
Oddly enough, the private sector that Pawlenty and his ilk worship so devoutly has also found it difficult to google up a “free market” alternative to the USPS: witness FedEx- their biggest growth product is Smartpost- a service that uses the USPS to deliver its packages. Curious that the company right wingers and tea baggers love to point to as the antithesis of the USPS relies on the USPS rather than expanding its own delivery network.
It will be interesting to see how consistent the GOP is going to be with their privatization dogma: will Arizona contract out its forest fire fighters? Will folks along the Mississippi be responsible for maintaining their own levees? Will injured veterans get health care vouchers instead of VA hospitals? (There’s lots of hospitals on Google!)