February 29, 2024

Government Inefficiency

As I wrote on February 8, I found my misplaced passport and immediately realized it had expired. The next day, I had a new passport photo taken and filled out an application on line for a renewal. The Web site for filing my application was well-designed, but it took me a couple of tries to enter all the information correctly. (I made the mistake of declaring that I was done, printed the application, and caught my errors when I looked it over. My fault!) When I finally had a proper application in hand, I mailed it, along with my old passport that afternoon, at 3:54 pm, February 9, to be exact. That was on a Friday. The Postal Service indicated that my envelope was delivered to the addressed post office box on Sunday. I didn’t expect to see a new passport anytime soon.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I received my new passport in this morning’s mail. The passport, with impressive new security features, is valid through February 25, 2034. The last time I renewed my passport, my old one was returned to me voided. Apparently, that practice has been discontinued.

Much has been said about government delay and inefficiency—don’t get me started about the Supreme Court—but both the Postal Service and State Department far exceeded my expectations. My application was turned around in just over two weeks. The horror stories I had been hearing about how long it takes to get a passport were apparently overblown. Now if only American justice could be as efficient!

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