$25 million daily USPS loss? More like $300 thousand!

Yesterday the Postmaster General went on the right wing Fox Business Channel to talk postal finances, and made the claim that the USPS is losing $25 million a day. It’s a claim that also pops up in many of the news stories that have been published about the Senate vote on S. 1789. Where did that number come from? Let’s take a look at the USPS’s most recent financial statement.

Through February, the postal service’s net loss is $5.7 billion. That covers 152 days of the current fiscal year. If you divide $5.7 billion by 152, you get an actual daily loss that’s even worse than the PMG claimed- $37.5 million a day.

However– the USPS publishes two different bottom lines these days- one shows the financial results PAEA style (including the PAEA required pre-funding of future retirees’ health benefits). The other (“Controllable Operating Income/Loss”) shows the net results without pre-funding- in other words, the way every other organization does business.

Without PAEA, the USPS loss so far this year is just $46 million. That works out to $302 thousand a day. So of the total year to date net loss, actual postal operations account for just 8/10ths of one percent. PAEA’s arbitrary accounting gimmicks account for 99.2%!

Politicians like Darrell Issa and Dennis Ross like to point out that the USPS would be facing a loss this year even without PAEA- and they’re right. PAEA doesn’t account for ALL of the postal service’s financial woes- just 99% of them!

USPS February 2012 Financials