The framers of our Constitution thought a postal system was important because in Article I Section 8, it states: “Congress shall have Power … To establish Post Offices and post Roads.” This was listed before its power to declare war or pay for an army or navy.
The U.S. postal system is now showing a financial operating deficit; it’s been reported as a dramatic loss in 2007 from a $1 billion surplus in 2006 to a deficit of about $5 billion a year later. How is this possible?
In 2006, Congress passed and then-President George W. Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which said the postal service had to pre-fund the retirement of future postal workers and it needed to do it in the next 10 years. This would mean that the future retirement for postal workers not yet born would need to be paid for now. I know of no other governmental or private retirement system that looks that far into the future. This artificially makes the postal service look like it is running at a deficit.
Yes, email and other communicating systems have taken a toll on the number of letters sent; however, we are always looking for a “hard copy.” That is what a letter is.