Should we sell off the U.S. postal service?

Kevin Pownall delivering mail in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Conservatives in the U.S. have to be looking longingly at the English, who earned the equivalent of $2.75 billion this week by privatizing their postal system and then selling its shares in an IPO.

Portugal now plans to do the same thing, but hopes to retain a minority share.

By comparison with the British, our postal service defaulted last week on a $5.6 billion payment for retiree health benefits, is forcing a 3-cent hike on stamps and wants to end Saturday mail delivery.

Is privatizing the U.S. postal service - the same institution the British and then Congress started in this very city with Benjamin Franklin at the helm - the answer to its woes?

The Italians don't think so. In fact, they're doing the exact opposite.

Poste Italiane SpA, stepped in today to help the debt-ridden national airline Alitalia, which went bankrupt under state ownership in 2008 and was privatized a year later.

What do you think? Comment below.

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