The long, slow decline of the U.S. Postal Service is old hat at this point, but the magnitude of the failure still makes it feel like genuine news sometimes. As this Bloomberg report (h/t Zerohedge) shows, in the past quarter alone, the USPS lost $5.2 billion—nearly 70 percent higher than a similar figure last year (when, we should note, it was already clear the agency was in deep trouble):
The U.S. Postal Service’s announcement yesterday that it lost $5.2 billion in its third quarter added to calls for Congress to help the agency that’s supposed to run itself like a business and in many ways can’t.The Washington-based service yesterday reported its 11th consecutive quarter of losses and said it may lose $15 billion in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. The loss was more than any quarterly net deficit in the past 12 months among companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Even for an institution as poorly run as the Postal Service, this is a lot of money to lose in three months. As we’ve said before, many of the problems affecting the Post Office are not entirely the fault of the service itself; congressional reluctance to allow the postal service to make the changes it needs to survive is also partially to blame. But it is sad to see one of America’s oldest public institutions in such an embarrassing state.The only silver lining here is that a crisis of this magnitude may be the only thing that can spur Congress to action. We can only hope.