Postal Service: Meltdown of the Mails

The U.S. Postal Service is in a growing financial crisis as mail volume continues to plunge. The Government Accountability Office says that a “comprehensive package of actions is needed to improve USPS’s financial viability.”

In House testimony last week, I argued that such a package should include privatizing the USPS and opening postal markets to competition. Background on the USPS is here.

The USPS is being squeezed by rising costs and falling mail volumes. My testimony proposes ways for the USPS to cut costs including closing post offices, reducing delivery from six to five days, and cutting employee retirement benefits.

The chart below shows the falling mail volumes. First-class mail per capita has dropped 53 percent since 2000. First-class mail is the USPS’s most profitable product. It includes personal letters, bills, bank statements, greeting cards, some advertising mail, and other items.

 

Source: First-class mail volume from here divided by U.S. population.