The US Postal Service, despite being in the midst of a supposed financial “crisis”, is still showing a fiscal year to date profit of $105 million as of January 31. USPS revenue for the first four months of the fiscal year was $23 billion, while actual operating expenses were $22.9 billion.
So in terms of actual cash, the USPS is doing pretty well. Unfortunately, as a result of the 2006 PAEA law, the USPS is required to record $4.5 billion in losses that don’t actually exist. $532 million of that is what’s identified as “non-cash adjustments; the impact of discount and inflation charges and the actuarial revaluation of existing [OWCP] cases”. The rest, just over $4 billion is the infamous “Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund” charge. The USPS hasn’t actually paid the Treasury that much this year- the full annual payment isn’t due until September 30. But the USPS is required to show a portion of the charge on its books each month. Even at the end of the fiscal year, of course, any transaction would be a strictly paper exercise, with the Treasury loaning the USPS billions of dollars that the USPS would immediately loan back to the Treasury. Welcome to the mysterious world of Congressional accounting!