The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a brief report suggesting three options for “reforming” the US Postal Service. You can find some interesting analyses of the report at Save the Post Office and the Courier Express and Postal blog.
But the most amazing part of the report to me is the first paragraph. It states:
Over the previous 4 years, USPS experienced a cumulative net loss of just over $20 billion.
Nowhere in that paragraph, or indeed in the rest of the report, does the GAO mention why the USPS suffered that loss. The report talks about declines in mail volume, but ignores the billion dollar elephant sitting right in front of it: the simple, undisputed fact that despite a drop in volume and a recession, the USPS would have made a profit during that period if it had not been required to divert $5.5 billion a year to an on budget trust fund for hypothetical future retirees’ health benefits.
By ignoring the main cause of the USPS’s financial problems, this report makes something else blindingly obvious: the GAO is a creature of Congress- and it intends to tell Congress exactly what Congress wants to hear.