Pick a number, any number! (USPS “losses” double overnight!)

Just when you’re getting used to one phony number, another comes along! We covered the famous “$25 million a day!” loss figure back in April, pointing out that almost all of it was from the arbitrary PAEA trust fund charges, and that postal operations accounted for just 8/10ths of one percent of the “loss”. We also pointed out that the 99.2% caused by PAEA was strictly a paper loss- an accounting entry, not actual money that the USPS had “lost”.

Now the Associated Press features a story on today’s financial results that appears to have been written by a summer intern with a calculator:

The nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported losses of $57 million per day in the last quarter and warned it will miss another payment due to the U.S. Treasury, just one week after its first-ever default on a payment for future retiree health benefits.

From April to June, losses totaled $5.2 billion, up $2.1 billion from the same period last year.

Notice that the author seems to be blissfully unaware of the fact that most of the amazing “$57 million per day” loss is the same money as the two “defaults” mentioned in the story. And, as we pointed out this morning, some of the “$57 million per day” “loss” was also included in last year’s “$25 million per day” “loss”. And needless to say, the writer never mentions that the majority of the “loss” is just an entry in a spreadsheet, not real money…

Do they still have editors at the AP?

via The Associated Press: Postal Service reports $5.2B loss in 3rd quarter.

Update: for a well written, comprehensive analysis of the USPS financial report, check out this story at Federal News Radio.