One of the things my conservative friends and relatives like to point to as a failure of government is the post office. It may be their favorite non-sequitur. The conversations going something like this:
“…so I don’t understand why they have to keep tax breaks for inheritance and call it a farm protection measure. Almost no family farm ever in the history of the country has to pay any substantial tax in that way. And then they call it a death tax! These people are so Orwellian that it..”
“you know what is a great example of government failure? The post office!”
“That has nothing to do with…”
“I mean can they just break even? Pathetic!”
“Look, they provide a service that…”
“That is how governments run companies for ya!”
It makes for great conversation.
Reality though is not allowed to intrude. If you point out that the postal service has to, by congressional jackassery, fund pensions for people that it hasn’t yet hired, well they don’t care. Quick, name the private company that can do that and break even.
We will wait.
And that is a great example of a self fullfilling prophecy. Elect people that are religiously convinced that government is always a problem, and then be amazed when they create a failure of government. It’s like magic. But Thinkprogress has a great point to add to the story. Even while failing to let the post office make money, because, you know, religious zeal to show all government agencies are failures, they manage to spend their time renaming post offices.
The point where uttering the words “I am a conservative…” should have gotten laughed out of any serious conversation, if not tarred and feathered, was decades ago. Why do we let this go on?