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Should Obama keep using Postal Service as model for healthcare reform? Sure, say conservative critics

August 17, 2009 |  8:25 am

Farley Post Office building on April 15, 2009 in New York City as Americans to file their income tax returns

President Obama is urging Americans not to worry if the federal government dispenses healthcare insurance. After all, he argues, competition from the government-subsidized U.S. Postal Service hasn't hurt FedEx or UPS.

"If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right?" he asked last week at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. "No, they are. It's the post office that's always having problems."

Conservatives think the White House model is more revealing than the president might intend.

As the Washington Times editorialized this morning: "If the president considers the Postal Service as an example, we should all be scared." The case: "Despite numerous advantages that FedEx and UPS could only dream of having, the Postal Service loses money."

Clearly, Americans have moved on from snail mail -- using e-mail for birthday cards and paying their bills online. CNN commentator Bob Greene can get all nostalgic over Saturday delivery -- "as certain as the sun coming up in the morning," he writes -- but the truth is the Postal Service expects to lose $7 billion this year and is looking to close 10% of its 32,741 post offices nationwide.

Conservative critics argue that the Postal Service losses -- and inefficiencies -- are the real worry in the president's analogy. "If you have an urgent piece of mail you need delivered, life or death, who are you going to call?" asks the conservative Heritage Foundation. "Everyone saying the government ... please raise your hands."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Getty Images

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