The US postal service is in need of reform

U.S. postal service workers enjoy spending time bowling, gambling and participating in other recreational activities… all on the government’s dime. According to the Washington Examiner, U.S. postal service reports have shown that employees have used agency credit cards for personal expenses. One account shows an employee spent $32,000 gambling, while another employee used the agency credit card to spend $1,700 on “personal hotel stays” and his son’s bowling games.

 According to an ad by the American Postal Workers union, the U.S. postal service does not cost the taxpayer a single cent,” and receives no other federal assistance for financial needs. The agency claims it is entirely self-funded through postage revenue and delivery fees.

However, this claim is not entirely true. Congress actually gives the U.S. postal service $100 million a year to offset the loss of revenue that results from providing free mailing to the blind and to overseas voters. But the Postal Service has been borrowing from the US Treasury for years; amassing debt that is ultimately up to taxpayers to pay.

 According to a 2013 congressional report, the U.S. postal service has lost $41.1 billion between fiscal years 2007 and 2012 as people rely more on email than post to communicate. The postal service reached its $15 billion borrowing limit in 2012 after it began borrowing from the U.S. Treasury Department in 2009 to attempt to relieve its $10.2 billion debt.

According to politifact, the postal service has tried to cut expenses by enacting a hiring freeze and by closing some district offices. The political pressure from workers' unions combined with the parochial incentives for politicians to oppose post office closures has restricted the amount of reforms enacted.   

 To avoid a massive taxpayer bailout,” the postal service needs to save at least $20 billion a year. It is living on borrowed time, and borrowing money to fund its employees' leisure activities. If politicians and the service lack the will to make necessary reforms to ensure solvency, perhaps they should at least start with making employees pay for their own bowling.

TAGS: Spending, Budget Reform, issues

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