Postal Service to Miss $5.5 Billion Payment to Treasury – Businessweek

The service, which receives no direct funding from U.S. taxpayers and is supposed to be self-sustaining, last made a quarterly profit in 2009 and has said it is losing $25 million a day from operations. It has forecast it will lose $9.1 billion in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, not including the $5.5 billion payment.

via Postal Service to Miss $5.5 Billion Payment to Treasury – Businessweek.

Many (though not all) of the problems of the Postal Service can be attributed to Congressional mandates that force it to operate so inefficiently. There are towns with populations of less than a couple hundred with their own post offices. Kind of silly.

Some of the other problems point to the quality of service itself. Honestly, when I walk into my local post office and I see more than two or three people in front of me, I’m just as likely to walk out and consider any alternative that will allow me to get that package delivered. It also doesn’t help that too many of the postal workers behind the counter are a surly bunch.

It might also help them quite a bit if they got a LOT better at tracking what goes through their system. The BIG reason I think people would rather spend $25 on a FedEx overnight letter rather than anything to do with the Postal Service is that you can go to the FedEx website and get a much better idea of where within their system your letter/package currently is. Postal Service tracking is a joke.

It’s partly a dysfunctional operation hampered by Congress, its unions, and the state of technology that’s passed it by. On the other hand, the Postal Service itself is mandated by the Constitution. I think the time has come to either amend the Constitution to strike the Postal Service or to forget the notion that it has to make a profit or even break even. Time to make a decision here.