Today's statement of the obvious:
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 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.
Postal officials recently tried to end Saturday letter delivery, which could have saved $2 billion per year, but Congress blocked it. A legislative proposal to replace doorstep delivery with curbside delivery, which would save $4.5 billion, failed last year. A plan to close thousands of rural post offices was abandoned after postal officials deemed the closures would "upset Congress a great deal," Barnett said.
I know the USPS has a "technology challenge," but that's not the whole problem. As the story notes, the Postal Service has survived new technology before -- the telegraph, telephone and TV, for example. It probably could survive the digital age, too, if Congress were more willing to let it be flexible.
Scared about the Affordable Health Care Act yet?