Post Office Subsidies of Government

Image result for blue footed boobyPostal subsidies usually take the form of governments paying off their postal service’s annual deficit. This was always seen as socially desirable as governments encouraged the commercial, social and academic interests of its country by underwriting postal service. It is rare for this to go the other way around and have the postal service underwrite governmental activities. (Obviously, semipostals, which the United States rarely issues (and which are stamps in which an additional charity amount is paid) don’t really qualify as the added surcharge doesn’t go to the government but to private charities). But there are several instances where government revenue is raised by extreme postal prices or nearly nonexistent postal service. It costs $3 to mail a post card from the Galapagos Islands to the United States. Surely this produces over $2 profit per card and with 160,000 visitors to those islands per year at three cards per person, that’s a million bucks a year to the Blue Footed Boobie fund. The United Nations post office has been a major profit center for the UN since that organization was founded. The UN prices its postage at the same price as the United States but has no post office except to sell stamps. All of its letters are carried by the United States. And under the latest Universal Postal Union convention, all internal postal costs are borne by the country incurring them. This produces millions of dollars per year for the UN. The same is true for specks such as Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein or San Marino, all of which were more or less overlooked in the European geopolitical battles of the last several centuries and whose Post Offices provide them with huge windfalls. But this is just national profits from legitimate postal service. When you add in the worldwide sale of new issue stamps to philatelists, the sum of money provided to governments by their post offices is increased by over a billion dollars. It is true that world wide postal service still operates at a substantial deficit, but these two factors help make up some of the shortfall.

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