U.S. Postal Service running out of money

Tensions are running high at the U.S. Postal Service as it faces an enormous budget shortfall. Even after announcing it was cutting 3,000 jobs, the beleaguered government agency is still quickly running out of money.

Postmaster General John Potter asked the United States Congress for help on Wednesday, once again bringing up the possibility of reducing mail delivery from six to five days a week. The service reduction would save approximately $3.5 billion this year.

Another way to cut costs could include changes to how it pays for its employee retirement plan, which would save a further $2 billion. Closing small and rural post offices is another possibility that has been discussed.

Many measures have already been taken to stem the agency’s losses. Construction of new facilities has been put on hold and existing ones put up for sale, millions of man-hours have been cut, and executive salaries have been frozen.

House Oversight Post Office Subcommmittee chairman Stephen F. Lynch (DMass.) has expressed reluctance with the plan to reduce service, saying “With the Postal Service facing budget shortfalls the subcommittee will consider a number of options to restore financial stability and examine ways for the Postal Service to continue to operate without cutting services.”

Other than cost cutting, Congress could also appropriate taxpayer dollars to fund the struggling Postal Service, which currently does not rely on public funding outside of a subsidy for international voting mail and services for the blind.

If nothing is done, the USPS will soon run completely out of money, and may be unable to pay many of its bills. Salaries are the agency’s highest priority to continue paying, though other debts may have to wait to be paid, said Potter. Last year the Postal Service lost $2.8 billion.

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