Post Office: Doing Fine. Congress: Still Dumber Than a Sack of Hammers

Despite what some technobrats might have you think, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is actually still functioning. That might come as a surprise, since USPS is running a $5 billion deficit–supposed prima facie evidence that it’s outdated and irrelevant. One little problem with that argument: Congress has forced it to set aside 75 years of retirement benefits over ten years–something no business could possibly hope to achieve. So how would USPS do if it weren’t burdened by that ridiculous Congressional requirement. Well (boldface mine):

The Postal Service’s August financial report came out yesterday. With just one month left in the fiscal year, it looks as though 2013 will mark a turnaround in the fiscal condition of the Postal Service.

Revenues are up 1.4 percent over the same period last year (i.e., eleven months, October – August), and they are 2 percent better than expected in the plan.

The bottom line shows a net operating loss of $4.95 billion. But that includes a payment of $5.13 billion to the Retiree Health Benefit Fund (RHBF). Take away the prepayment, and the Postal Service would be showing a net operating profit of $182 million for the year so far.

Go figure. I’m guessing you won’t be hearing much about that, especially from a Congress that has, over the last forty years, forced USPS to overpay to the federal retirement fund by $50 – $75 billion (which was then allocated to other things).

And the congregation responds: This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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4 Responses to Post Office: Doing Fine. Congress: Still Dumber Than a Sack of Hammers

  1. anthrosciguy says:

    I think that every time this comes up it’s important to point out that it’s not only being forced into a unique pre-funding period’ but is also forced to invest that pre-funding only in government bonds. Any sensible pension strategy invests in a broad mix of stocks and bonds, but the Post Office has been forced to not use a sensible pension funding strategy by Congress.

    I pointed this out to a financial planner friend a couple of years ago and he was literally slack-jawed with astonishment.

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  3. Robert L Bell says:

    What is the likelihood that the Republican goobers will find a way to steal the pension fund, after it has accumulated a substantial pile of cash but before significant payouts have begun?

    After all, it does not have the political constituency that Social Security enjoys.

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