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Whoa! U.S. Postal Service Posts a Nearly $16B Loss

Agency now that much closer to insolvency


More bad news fell on the U.S. Postal Service today, as it announced a $15.9 billion loss for the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30.

The loss was more than triple last year’s loss, as the agency was charged $11.1 billion for not paying into its future retiree health benefits fund, defaulting on two payments in August and October for the first time ever. Nearly $5 billion in other losses came from a loss in mailing revenue. The agency also hit its $15 billion borrowing limit from the treasury.

The postal service has been trying for almost a year now to convince Congress to pass legislation to help them out. They want to eliminate Saturday deliveries, reduce the payments necessary for the future retiree health fund, and allow delivery of beer and wine. The Senate passed legislation giving the postal service most of what it wanted, but the House has yet to act on it.

In spite of the dire straits, the agency says it will keep running as usual, and employees and suppliers would still be paid on time. There were worries this summer that the postal service might run out of money in October, but political mailings delivered a jolt of needed revenue. That money, and holiday mailing, should keep the postal service solvent until Congress acts on an overhaul.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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