Economics / Socioculture

How to save the United States Post Office:

“For starters, the Postal Service doesn’t use a dime of taxpayer money and hasn’t for more than a quarter-century. Its revenue comes from selling its products and services, at the best rates in the industrialized world. Customer satisfaction and on-time delivery are at record highs.
“Furthermore, USPS’ financial problems have surprisingly little to do with delivering the mail. In the past four fiscal years, despite the worst recession in 80 years and despite Internet diversion, revenues from postal operations exceeded costs by $611 million.
“The problem lies elsewhere: the 2006 congressional mandate that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within a decade, an obligation no other public agency or private firm faces. The roughly $5.5 billion annual payments since 2007 — $21 billion total — are the difference between a positive and negative ledger.
“That’s the elephant in the room — not Saturday mail delivery, not post offices that serve urban or rural areas. Remove this onerous pre-funding obligation and the Postal Service would have been profitable even during this economic downturn, and periods with losses would be manageable. But we’re not even asking that it be removed.
“What USPS management, unions and key Republican and Democratic legislators ask of Congress is simply this: Let the Postal Service stop depleting its operating funds to make these payments and instead allow an internal transfer of funds from its pension surpluses. This responsible business move, with zero taxpayer involvement, would leave pensions and retiree health benefits fully funded well into the future while putting the USPS budget back on sound financial footing.”


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