The Sad Little Bright Spot in the United States Postal Service’s $5 Billion Loss

Deep in the red, the mail service is going rogue.

U.S. Postal Service employee Arturo Lugo delivers an Express Mail package during his morning route on February 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
Matt Berman
Nov. 15, 2013, 5:52 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
U.N. REPORT REVEALS DETAILS
North Korean Chemical Weapons Shipments to Syria Intercepted
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Two North Korean shipments to a Syrian government agency responsible for the country's chemical weapons program were intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential United Nations report on North Korea sanctions violations."

Source:
ONLY TWO EVENTS REMAIN
14 Charities Cancel Fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Corporate fallout over President Donald Trump's comments on the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virgina continues as two more charities announced this weekend they would be canceling gala fundraisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida ... In all, 14 have canceled and only two events remain: The Palm Beach Police Foundation's annual Policeman Ball and the Palm Beach County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, according to reports."

Source:
“CHANGING BUDGET SITUATION”
Report: White House Tried to Kill Mountaintop Removal Study
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Trump administration officials have told the National Academy of Sciences to cease all work on a study of the public health risks for people living near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites in Appalachian, the academy said in a statement late this morning." The Department of the Interior blamed the move on a review of contracts in the wake of a "changing budget situation."

Source:
ANATOLY ANTONOV TO REPLACE SERGEY KISLYAK
Putin Appoints New Ambassador to U.S.
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Kremlin announced today that Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Anatoly Antonov as Russia’s ambassador to the United States, replacing Sergey Kislyak. Antonov, a former deputy defense minister who has been sanctioned by the European Union for his role in Russia's takeover of Crimea in 2014, will come to Washington with a reputation as a hardline negotiator. He is best known to American officials from his time fronting Russia's negotiations at arms control talks with the Obama administration, which in 2009 produced a treaty renewing U.S. and Russian commitments to cut their nuclear arsenals. From 2011 until last December he also served as a reliable defender of the Kremlin's positions on the Ukraine crisis."

Source:
PARTICIPATES IN TOWN HALL TONIGHT
Ryan: “There Are No Sides” on Charlottesville
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

After taking fire for not forcefully condemning President Trump's statements on Charlottesville, Speaker Paul Ryan today issued a statement that takes issue with any "moral relativism" when it comes to Neo-Nazis. "There are no sides," he wrote. "There is no other argument. We will not tolerate this hateful ideology in our society." Ryan participates in a CNN town hall tonight from Racine, Wis.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login