US Postal Service, Costing $250 Million Daily, Posts Record $15.9 Billion Loss, May Run Out Of Cash Soon
That the biggest government source of employment just posted a record $15.9 billion loss (bigger than the $15 billion expected previously), is no surprise to anyone: after all most are openly expecting the USPS to fold, the only outstanding question is whether it will transform into a company that is actually competitive with the private sector (unlikely), or liquidate (also unlikely in an era where government jobs are becoming the only form of employment available). Sadly, keeping this zombie alive costs all other taxpayers $250 million each day: money that could be used much more effectively in other areas of the economy, but won't. Because there are USPS votes that have to be purchased at cost. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that while the USPS had a total of 607,400 employees in October, this was the lowest number of total employees for the non-profit (but certainly loss-driven) government run organization since the 1960s! Perhaps most shocking is that the USPS peaked at over 900K employees in 1999 when it was still if not profitable (as it doesn't need to be by its charter) then certainly breakeven. Sadly those days are now gone, and the next thing to go will be all the promised benefits for the 600K or so employees.
The U.S. Postal Service said its net loss last year widened to $15.9 billion, more than the $15 billion it had projected, as mail volume continued to drop, falling 5 percent.
Without action by Congress, the service will run out of cash on Oct. 15, 2013, after it makes a required workers compensation payment to the U.S. Labor Department and before revenue typically jumps with holiday season mailing, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said.
The service, whose fiscal year ended Sept. 30, lost $5.1 billion a year earlier. It announced the net loss today at a meeting at its Washington headquarters.
“We are walking a financial tightrope,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said at the meeting. “Will we ever stop delivering the mail? It will never happen. We are simply too important to the economy and the flow of commerce.”
The service is asking Congress to enact legislation before it adjourns this year that would allow the Postal Service to spread future retirees’ health-benefit payments over more years, stop Saturday delivery, and more easily close post offices and mail-processing plants.
Without legislative change, the service expects its losses to continue in the 2013 fiscal year, with a forecast loss of $7.6 billion, Corbett said.
“There is no margin of error,” given the low level of cash, he said. The service uses $250 million per day to operate.