The United States Postal Service is a truly socialist enterprise. Anyone who has to deal with the Post Office on a regular basis, especially if you have to go to the actual offices themselves, is aware of this. Of course, as has been well-publicized in recent months, the Post Office now faces massive financial problems.
Of course, in a socialist agency such as the Post Office, politics plays an incredibly large role. As this article from today's New York Times illustrates, when it comes to cost savings, politics makes increased efficiency very difficult to achieve. With USPS facing a $6.5 billion deficit, "the agency continues to spend $46,000 a year for a challenging small-plane route that serves about 20 addresses secluded in the roadless wilderness of the northern Rocky Mountains."
Inevitably, the story goes on "John E. Potter, the postmaster general, began getting calls, letters and e-mail messages from the owners of ranches on the river. People showed up on Capitol Hill in rafting sandals and cowboy boots.
Then, just before Mr. Potter was about to face a conference call with the four members of Idaho’s Congressional delegation, he decided that the high-flying weekly route through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, in place for more than half a century and the last air route into a wilderness area in the continental United States, should best be left as is."
So, 20 or so people receiving a massive government subsidy succeeded in killing a reform that would have saved this so-called business money in it's ongoing effort to break even. A private company, on the other hand, could easily make the decision to not serve such high-cost customers. Unfortunately, America is moving rapidly towards greater politicization of health care, energy policy, and manufacturing to name just a few areas of the economy that will become much less efficient under government control.