Rural people should pay extra cost for mail delivery, transportation | Jeff E. Jared

Jeff Jared - File photo
Jeff Jared
— image credit: File photo

After writing about privatizing the Post Office and buses, many liberals have rebutted this by arguing that with people in rural and hard-to-reach areas, they need the subsidy, or the rights - like guarantee of mail delivery and being able to get somewhere on a public bus.

Otherwise, it would be hugely expensive to live in some areas without the guarantee of public mail and busing.

But this argument is misplaced.

Rural people should have to pay the extra cost of special delivery and transportation. That’s a choice they make when they chose to live there. And after all, and this is the clincher, it’s already way cheaper, in general, to live in rural areas.

Cities are far more expensive to live in. Rents are higher, taxes are higher, parking is expensive, garbage is higher, more crime, more noise … I could go on.

So the liberal argument (often citing the Post Office’s duty of “universal” mail delivery, that is a guaranteed “right,” if you will, to get mail at a subsidized rate) that rural dwellers need a subsidy is backwards.

The subsidy should go from rural to urban, if anything, because urbanites pay more for everything else. Right now, it’s subsidies going from urbanites to ruralites. Yet ruralites already have it cheaper.

There are pro and cons, of course, to city living and living in the country. But that’s the market choice we make when we choose where to live.  Ruralites counting on communal/collective “right” to subsidies from city dwellers might be making a mistake.

Yet either way, both King County’s bus monopoly and the federal government’s postal monopoly need to be broken to better serve the consumer, whether they are a farmer or city slicker.

Jeff E. Jared is a Kirkland attorney who writes from a libertarian and law and economics perspective.


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