Congress Is Putting U.S. Postal Service Out Of Business

By Jeff Mitchell, publisher

Remember the old phrase the US Postal Service used to use: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these courageous couriers from their swift completion of their appointed rounds.” While this still holds true in most cases, the U.S. Postal Service has been slow to change and adapt to present-day economics and technology and may be filing for bankruptcy come next September if Congress doesn’t wake up to reality.

In just the past year, the post office has lost $5.1 billion, mainly due to a decrease in first class mail, but also due to the fact it has to fund future retiree medical benefits years in advance; losses for 2012 could exceed $14 billion.

Congress has been slow to act to give the agency the flexibility to reduce the number of days of delivery, to close underperforming offices, raise prices, reduce health care and other labor costs, which are 80 percent of the USPS costs. The postal service needs to be self-sustaining because it’s an independent agency of the government and does not receive tax money for its operations.

For many years the postal service did very little self-promotion but has recently stepped up its advertising. The problem is too little too late and the message is weak. The post office has failed to capitalize on its strengths: the experience of receiving and opening a letter or card (as opposed to digital) and the one size box that ships anywhere in the U.S. for one price, or leasing space to a card shop for instance. UPS and FedEx have continued to post profits even in the current economy, whereas the postal service wallows in huge losses. Routes are being consolidated, retired employees are not being replaced and service is suffering. The postal service is on life support and, without a heart transplant and forward thinking, the post office will soon be extinct.

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Dec 1 2011. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

7 Comments for “Congress Is Putting U.S. Postal Service Out Of Business”

  1. R.Arnoux

    One thing you did not mention and no one does,the reason 80% of the P.O.'S

    cost is labor is they go to every address in America 6days aweek.Fed Ex or UPS dont come close

    • melody wright

      Amen !! I have worked for the USPS for 24 years. I am a rural carrier. I am going to a customers house today with my pressure washer and riding lawnmower to help them prepare their home for sale. I have bought groceries for customers, sat with spouses in hospitals, visited customers in nursing homes, hosted customers at family get togethers. I love my job and my customers. Have you seen UPS or FEDEX doing this with their customers?

  2. Richard E. Negro


    Although your comments are well intentioned, some details need clarification.

    We are not wallowing in huge losses. We are suffering from ineptitude by a Congress that has shackled the Service with as you mentioned a pre-payment of 5.6 billion annually since 2006. In each subsequent year, the Service would have shown a profit if it were not for the short sighted action of Congress to impose such an archaric funding measure. Additionally, as you also mentioned, Congress has nailed one foot to the floor and tied one hand behind our backs and then asks us to function as an independent bussiness,

    all the while keeping puppet strings attached all other extremedies. If given the correct tools and the ability to make well informed decisions for a business of this nature, the Postal Service will not only survive, but will prosper.

    Not withstanding life support or a heart transplant. Advise your Congressmen that more oversight is not needed, more independence is.


    Richard E. Negro, Postmaster

    Dorris, Ca. 96023-9998


  3. kremper

    If congress would simply refund the approximately 75 billion the Postal Service has over paid to retirement and health pre-funding since 1970 the service would be made whole for many years to come. But, I believe, the hold-up in doing this is the fact that the over payments have already been spent for other needs or by other branches of the government. And, of course, we will probably never hear about that!

  4. [...] on Dec 1 2011. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this [...]

  5. Mark

    The prefunding mandate required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 is the real reason the Postal Service is facing a deficit. Remove the prefunding requirement and the Postal Service would be in the black, as of June 2011, by $1.5 billion. First class mail is projected to decrease by less than 10% over the next ten years while some catagories of mail are actually increasing. Also, cutting wages and benefits in the middle of a depression will only serve to harm our economy further. As a publisher, you should be better informed.

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