U.S. Postal Service Has Not Earned a Profit in Almost a Decade

The government-owned enterprise has lost $51.7 billion since 2007

September 22, 2015

The United States Postal Service has lost $51.7 billion between 2007 and 2014 and has not earned a profit since 2006, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

"There is no turnaround in sight," states the report. "The Postal Service will almost certainly register another multibillion dollar loss in 2015; for the first two quarters of 2015, it suffered a net loss of $2.8 billion."

In addition, the report finds that USPS has failed to make legally required payments to the U.S. Treasury and will default on its statutory obligations, which include the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund.

"Although the Postal Service has not yet received an explicit taxpayer bailout, it has failed to meet its legal obligations for several years in a row," the report states. "The odds that a bailout will eventually become unavoidable increase as the sea of red ink continues rising."

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that the Postal Service’s unfunded liabilities grew 62 percent from 2007 to 2013. The Tax Foundation says it is doubtful that the Postal Service will be able to meet its obligations.

The report says that if the enterprise had more operational flexibility, its losses would not be as large.

"While the Service does have greater operational discretion than many federal agencies, it has much less than a typical private-sector business because Congress often micromanages its actions," the report says.

While Gallup found in 2014 that 72 percent of their respondents said USPS is doing a good job and only 8 percent regard its performance as poor, the report finds that there have been issues with service.

In 2014, delivery-time targets fell short seven out of eight times and in 2015, on-time delivery from January to March fell to 63.1 percent, down from 84.1 percent in the same quarter last year.

"USPS is in desperate need of reform," said Curtis Kalin, a spokesman for the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste. "If the agency truly is to act as a business, it must do what failing businesses are routinely forced to do: right size its workforce and return to the basic services where it had peviously operated effectively. However, living up to its government-sponsored reputation, the opposite desire is taking hold at the agency."

Published under: Government Spending