The revenue numbers are in for the United States Postal Service, and they are quite bleak. Over the past 12 months, the USPS has lost $5 billion. Amazingly, though, that number is far better than last year.
The USPS lost $15.9 billion in fiscal 2012, chiefly due to $11.1 billion in payments for retiree health benefits. Because of those payments though, that year was something of an outlier, with $5.1 billion in losses in 2011 and $8.5 billion in 2010.
If this wasn’t already incredibly obvious, the way mail gets delivered in the United States is in need of a serious shake-up. For years, as NJ‘s Marina Koren wrote earlier this week, the USPS has pleaded with Congress to act to help its budget by ending Saturday delivery, decreasing retiree benefits, raising the price of postage, or taking some other actions.
There isn’t much sign of that happening though, on account of this Congress still being this Congress — although today’s loss numbers could help. In the meantime, the USPS is going rogue. Earlier this week, it announced it had turned to Amazon for a deal to expand the company’s Sunday package delivery.
The terms of that deal haven’t been disclosed. But there is a bright spot for the USPS in Friday’s report that shows why the deal could work. While mail volume has been declining for years, revenue from package delivery has been on the rise. In the past year, revenue rose 8 percent. Compare that with what’s happened to the USPS’ previous money-maker, first-class mail delivery. In 2007, that service added up to 92 billion pieces. In 2012, it was 69 billion. During that same period, package volume increased from 3.3 billion to 3.5 billion.
Things are pretty dire for the USPS right now, but moving to a more package-centric system, with help from private companies, could be a way forward.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."