Over the weekend, the United States Postal Service announced that it had lost $3.8 billion over the past fiscal year, which ended on September 30th. Their report claimed that they also delivered about 26 billion less pieces through the mail then they had the prior year, which translates to a nearly 13% drop.
The Postal Service, as it is quick to point out, is legally prohibited from taking tax dollars. But in order to stay afloat, the agency has been actively borrowing from the U.S. Treasury: At last count, according to Postal Service spokeswoman Yvonne Yoerger, it owes the government $10.2 billion.
Federal law dictates that the Postal Service can borrow up to $3 billion per year - but the debt cannot grow beyond $15 billion. That means that while the agency, which had revenues of $68.1 billion last year, could potentially borrow another $3 billion in 2010, it will soon no longer be able to legally borrow billions from the government.
Meanwhile, the Postal Service is estimating that without significant changes, it will lose another $7.8 billion in the coming year - and deliver another 11 billion fewer pieces of mail.
Which raises the question: Could the Postal Service be doomed?
"I don't think the Postal Service is in danger of going away totally," said Yoerger, the Postal Service spokeswoman. "But our current business model needs to be reviewed and revised to come up with a sustainable model so that we can get back to profitability while still continuing to meet our mission of serving all of the country with affordable, universal Postal Service."