Putting a pricetag on Postal Service woes
Loyal Federal Eye readers and close observers of the U.S. Postal Service flagged an exchange from last week's House hearing about the mail agency that is worth highlighting here.
Though the Postal Service estimates it could lose $238 billion in the next decade, it's a worst-case scenario estimate based on assumptions that fewer postal workers than anticipated will retire, that Congress won't take any action and that the agency won't institute $123 billion worth of planned cuts.
Under questioning by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), Postmaster General John E. Potter admitted last Thursday that the figure "is a theoretical number" (see video of the exchange above).
Connolly called the $238 billion figure "hard to believe," adding later, "It looks, frankly, a little bit like a scare tactic to get us to make some decisions that may or may not be popular."
Well duh, Mr. Connolly, this is Washington, where "the sky is falling" estimates are made all the time.
Potter wants Congress to lift restrictions that currently prohibit him from ending Saturday mail deliveries, closing post offices and raising postage rates above the rate of inflation. The proposals were endorsed last week by government auditors.
Still -- as debate about the Postal Service's future continues, let's remember that it's unlikely the Postal Service will lose $238 billion.
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| April 19, 2010; 3:43 PM ET
Categories: Agencies and Departments, Congress
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