The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been having a bad run of it.
Postal Service Net Income/Loss By Year
- 2015– $5.1 billion loss
- 2014– $5.5 billion loss
- 2013– $5.0 billion loss
- 2012 –$15.9 billion loss
- 2011 – $5.1 billion loss
- 2010 –$8.5 billion loss
The Postal Service carried billion-dollar surpluses for many years before the Internet became widely available to Americans. Although the Postal Service has been losing money for quite some time, the most significant losses came after the passage of a 2006 law requiring the agency to prefund retiree health beneﬁts. Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the USPS is required to pay $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion annually, through 2016, to pay for future retiree health benefits. Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to solve that for us?
Anyway, I digress. The reason you should send your mail/package by some other means is that “stuff” has been disappearing from the mail. Cellphones have been pilferred from packages. Veterans’ medications never seem to make it to their patients. And last but not least, a Postal Service worker simply let nearly 50,000 pieces of undelivered mail accumulate in her home!
[Source: Postal Service scandal: Feds uncover stolen meds, embezzled funds — and 42,288 hoarded letters, by Amy B. Wang]
[From the Wang article] Federal authorities have found more than two dozen cases of mail theft and related crimes in Southern California as part of a sweep targeting corruption and criminal activity affecting the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. attorney’s office of the Central District of California announced last Friday.
In all, federal prosecutors charged 33 defendants in 28 cases with everything from mail fraud and conspiracy to embezzlement and making false statements. The defendants ranged in age from 23 to 73, and most cases involved Postal Service employees, the attorney’s office said.
And surely you don’t believe that these misdeeds are isolated to Southern California. Further, these kinds of thefts are precursors to yet more (and more economically devastating) criminal acts – predominantly identity theft. The fraudulent activity pervaded many levels of the agency. These unfortunate arrests come at a time when the future of the financially rocky USPS is in doubt.
Personally I still like the USPS and hope it finds its way though its problems. I would list the American Postal Workers Union – a member of the AFL-CIO – as the first problem to solve. Unions once were important to workers safety. Now, not so much. And public sector unions should never have been allowed in the first place.