President Obama made a very unfortunate–but telling–analogy last month, comparing the public option in health care to the Post Office competing with Fed Ex and UPS. I commented on the problems with that argument from the pro Obamacare perspective at the time.
The metaphor continues to cut against Obamacare’s defenders: The Post Office needs an immediate mutli-billion dollar bailout from the taxpayers. From the story:
Democrats moved Thursday to give special relief to the financially strapped Postal Service, which would be allowed to defer $4 billion in payments due at the end of this month to cover retirement benefits for its employees. Republicans protested the bailout but made no significant effort to block the provision, which has now been attached to a stop-gap spending bill slated to come before the House and Senate in the next week.
Proponents of the language argued that the House has previously endorsed equivalent relief for the Postal Service, which faces a $5.4 billion payment to the retirement fund at the end of this month. House and Senate Appropriations Committee staff said the language now would reduce that payment to $1.4 billion, helping the Postal Service deal with its cash problems but also exposing the government at least temporarily to the $4 billion difference.
Significant bailouts would also be required on an ongoing basis with any public option–and don’t tell me that the government would allow it to collapse when it ran into inevitable funding shortfalls. Indeed, anyone who pays any attention to recent history must know that the current promise of self support would collapse once the federal plan became operational.
The Post Office is a constitutionally mandated responsibility of the Federal Government and it is right, when necessary, to use taxpayer money to keep it afloat. In contrast, establishing a public option is not required of the government, but would be a bankrupting entitlement of choice. This is why Obamacare, as currently proposed, would destroy the (remaining) financial viability of the country, particularly given that our fearless leaders in Washington show zero inclination to make meaningful cuts in any other government program to make up the difference.
The Post Office thus continues to be a vivid metaphor in the debate over Obmacare. Just not in the way the POTUS thought.