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The U.S. Postal Service Is in Even Worse Shape Than You Think

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Anja Wilson prepares mail for delivery at the Brookland Post Office in Washington on May 9
U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier Anja Wilson prepares mail for delivery at the Brookland Post Office in Washington on May 9Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The U.S. Postal Service’s fiscal difficulties have been well publicized. The agency lost $15.9 billion last year. Its leaders are pleading for the power to end Saturday letter delivery and restructure its employee health benefits to save money. The situation, however, is far worse than most people realize. Last week the conservative Heritage Foundation released a study that put it into grim prospective. The study’s broad conclusion: The USPS may not be salvageable in its current form.

It might be tempting to dismiss the report, Can The Postal Service Have a Future?, seeing how it comes from a think tank that’s openly hostile to government spending and union complaints, both of which are front and center in the Postal Service saga. My colleague Josh Green recently chronicled Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint’s behind-the-scenes role in shutting down the government in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. Carefully weighing opposing points of view isn’t Heritage’s calling card.