A couple of Sundays ago, The Tribune ran a Washington Post editorial titled "Saving the USPS," (Opinion, Aug. 12). While it took the easy and obvious shots at why the postal service is losing billions of dollars per year (drop in first- class mail, unions, Saturday delivery), it failed to mention the No. 1 contributor to the massive losses.
In 2006 Congress passed a law placing a burden on the postal service no other company, public or private, must bear. It has been required to prefund 75 years worth of health benefits for future retirees. This has resulted in annual payments of several billion dollars, the largest percentage of the annual losses by far.
If Congress would allow the USPS to rework the payment schedule or even stop the payments (many have said the fund is already massively overfunded) these losses would drop dramatically.
So before we do any massive overhauling of operations (and, sadly, cutting service as a result), all the facts should be out on the table.