But his future, and that of the U.S. Postal Service, is in doubt. 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.And it goes on:
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.Some argue that it's a manufactured crisis with the requirement that the USPS "pre-fund" its health care program for retirees 50 years in advance.
This is an old story and getting older. The USPS reached its borrowing limit some time ago, and yet nothing seems to have changed. The USPS is an independent agency of the US government (whatever that means), according to wiki.
Is the USPS too big to fail?
Behind closed doors in Washington folks are working on plans to keep the USPS afloat. No doubt the first data point folks are shown on the PowerPoint presentations:
Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads."No doubt the second data point folks are shown:
The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 abolished the United States Post Office Department, a part of the cabinet, and created the United States Postal Service, a corporation-like independent agency with an official monopoly on the delivery of mail in the United States. Pub.L. 91–375 was signed by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970.It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where this is headed. I think before the end of the current administration, there will be serious talk of making the postal service part of the federal government again, either at cabinet level, or more likely absorbed by one of the existing departments, most likely the Department of Homeland Security or less likely, the Treasury Department.
Time for a new poll, mostly because I'm just tired of seeing the same poll day after day.
First the results of the current poll in which readers were asked, which will occur first:
- decision on the Keystone XL: 44%
- serious discussion of impeachment: 56%
There are only four options. Which is more likely?
- grand reform resulting in USPS solvency
- status quo (Congress keeps funding with continuing resolutions)
- reverts back to cabinet-level department of US government
- absorbed by another cabinet-level department (e.g., Homeland Security)