Peter Orszag wants to sell the U.S. Postal Service to private investors, while conceding that this would be very bad news for the existing postal workers.
Given that the U.S. government has no particular need to raise funds through asset sales, it seems to me that most of the goals of this initiative could be easily achieved by turning the USPS into a worker-owned firm. In other words, you "privatize" it by selling its shares for $0 to people who work there. Then you get Congress out of the way. That accomplishes the most important real public policy benefit of postal privatization, which is that it would encourage USPS to manage its real estate portfolio rationally. Right now that can't be done because the decision-making is all political and no congressman wants to see any post offices closed down in his district. A worker-owned Postral Service would also be in a position to shut down hugely money-losing routes unless local governments coughed up subsidy for mail service.
Then beyond that the worker-owned Postal Service could do what it likes. It could sell itself to private investors, creating a one-time windfall for workers at the cost of job losses. Or it could maintain a large staff at the cost of depressing the value of the equity the workers own.
TODAY IN SLATE
The World’s Politest Protesters
The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.
The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans
The Feds Have Declared War on Encryption—and the New Privacy Measures From Apple and Google
The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You
It spreads slowly.
These “Dark” Lego Masterpieces Are Delightful and Evocative
How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.
Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.