For many years, the U.S. Postal Service has been bleeding to death financially and Congress–particularly the GOP-controlled House– has allowed this to go on without much thought to its likely consequences.
In its second quarter ended March 31, the USPS reported a net loss of $1.9 billion and has already reached its borrowing limit of $15 billion http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_051.htm.
A sizeable chunk of this loss is taken up by the USPS’s annual obligation to pay at least $5.8 billion to cover the healthcare costs of future retirees. This would be a millstone to any entity forced to carry it.
Now the USPS is really gonna run out of money, having reached its borrowing limit and having no other ready sources of revenue, unless Congress acts soon.
The USPS’s predicament sickeningly resembles that of this country’s decaying physical infrastructure. Here the government won’t likely do anything until enough people drive off collapsing bridges or suffer some similar catastrophes and raise enough hell about it.
As far back as two years ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that rotting roads, bridges, railroads and the like are costing the country at least $129 billion a year, according to the Washington Post
Why is this happening?
One possible explanation is that the Republican-led House really does not want to accomplish anything unless it gets everything it wants in return, and possibly not even then.
This situation is so bad that former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) complained he no longer recognizes the Republican Party and warned in the New York Times that such intransigence will ultimately doom the GOP http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/opinion/bob-dole-misses-his-republican-party.html?hp&_r=0.
What these elected officials don’t see, or more likely don’t want to see, is that the U.S. absolutely needs both the postal and physical infrastructures to survive and prosper in the years ahead.
How else can they and/or their constituents conduct business efficiently?