Postal Service Is on Its Last Legs, With Little Help in Sight
The Postal Service lost $1.9 billion between January and March, and $15.9 billion last year. The 238-year-old institution loses $25 million each day, and has reached its borrowing limit with the federal Treasury. Daily mail delivery could be threatened within a year, officials say.
Americans increasingly go online to write letters, pay bills and read magazines, and mail volume has fallen by a quarter since 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office. The decline is expected to continue.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has reduced staff, consolidated mail facilities and lowered express delivery standards in an effort to cut spending. But the savings have not been enough to match the drop in revenue.
“We are in real trouble, and we need comprehensive postal reform yesterday,” Mickey Barnett, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, told a congressional committee last month.
The Postal Service is a government corporation, which means it is organized like a business yet subject to congressional oversight. Consequently, reform is difficult, said Mike Schuyler, a fellow at the Washington-based Tax Foundation who has studied postal issues for nearly two decades.
“The Postal Service has far too little flexibility when it needs to adjust, and it’s really in handcuffs because of all the requirements Congress puts on it,” Schuyler said.