The US Postal Service issued its required quarterly financial report today, claiming a loss of $740 million for the three months ended June 30, bringing the year to date loss to $3.9 billion.
But you need to check the footnotes to get at the truth. Buried in Note #2 on page 7 is this:
The Postal Service has suffered 7 consecutive quarters of net losses and has had net losses in 16 of the last 18 quarters. The net loss of $3,870 million for the first nine months of the year included $4,200 million of expense accrued for the legally-mandated prefunding payment for retiree health benefits.
Yes, that’s right- the entire loss (and then some!) was due to the infamous PAEA trust fund requirement. Without that $4.2 billion charge, which exists only as an accounting entry, the USPS would be showing a profit of $330 million so far this year.