Conventional wisdom says that the US Postal Service is going broke because it has an out of date business model, and that it is a waste of government resources.
Matt Taibbi reports:
But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers' Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees -- and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.
The impact of this legislation?
The new law forced the postal service to come up with about $5.5 billion a year for the ten years following the bill's passage. In 2006, before those payments kicked in, the USPS generated a small profit. Not surprisingly, the USPS is now basically broke.