Ideas For Saving USPS From Bankruptcy

Before it even has a chance to deliver the next letter to Santa, the US Postal Service could be bankrupt. The USPS might not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment it owes this month. Lawmakers will hear all about it and ideas for staving off default in a Senate committee hearing today called “U.S. Postal Service In Crisis: Proposals To Prevent A Postal Shutdown.”

The mail service, an independent government agency that doesn’t directly receive taxpayer dollars, is getting hit from two sides. On the one side, declining revenues in a digital age. On the the other side, rising costs, in the form of contracts that require them to fund workers’ pensions 75 years out into the future.

Some of the floated ideas to save the USPS include:

  • Dropping Saturday delivery
  • 220,000 in layoffs
  • Removing billions in what the agency says are overpayments to employee pension plans
  • Being allowed to deliver wine and beer
  • Becoming “last mile” deliverers for UPS and FedEx
  • Adding options for hand-delivered service for sensitive items
  • Selling ad space on the sides of trucks

In the hearing today, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is expected to argue that they’ve overpaid into the pensions and that they should be allowed to recoup the overpayment. He’s also expected to beg for the USPS’s life.

Postal chief to testify on Capitol Hill as USPS could face default [CNN]
Postmaster Donahoe to beg Congress for Postal Service’s life [Washington Post]
Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount [NYT]