Businessweek has a lengthy cover story about what it says is the imminent collapse of the US Postal Service. It’s a bit odd- here’s how it starts:
Phillip Herr looks like many of the men who toil deep within the federal government. He wears blue suits. He keeps his graying hair and mustache neatly trimmed. He has an inoffensively earnest manner. He also has heavy bags under his eyes, which testify to the long hours he spends scrutinizing federal spending for the U.S. Government Accountability Office
The GAO’s Phillip Herr is presented as a kind of bureaucratic Indiana Jones, even sending agents across the Atlantic to get to the bottom of the deep mystery of what ails the USPS. (It’s good to know that he keeps his moustache trimmed. We are not told if he wears a fedora.)
The writer brushes quickly past the elephant in the room, the $5.5 billion annual trust fund pre-payment. It’s mentioned as an item the USPS expects to default on, and as something the PMG would like to get rid of, but there’s no explanation of how it came about, and no mention of the fact that the USPS wouldn’t be in debt at all without it!
The simple fact is that the US Postal Service faces an extremely difficult future. But it is only facing financial collapse in 2012 because of the misguided and self-serving actions of politicians. The one thing the writer does get right is the fact that the political stalemate in Congress makes it difficult to see any chance of positive legislative change before it’s too late.