Saving USPS Still Not a Priority Item

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For Washington lawmakers already at loggerheads over the country's fiscal mess, the United States Postal Service has not delivered god news.

The USPS has become the latest in line asking for a bailout. Again.

Last week, the USPS announced a $1.9 billion loss in the second quarter. Worse, USPS has $64 billion in accumulated liabilities but only $42 billion in assets to cover it. On top of that, it needs to set apart large funds for capital upgrades as well as provision its retiree health benefits -- for which it has no money.

Who's going to bail out USPS?

If you go by CEO Patrick Donahoe's past pronouncements, he is not looking for a taxpayer bailout. The help he needs from Capitol Hill is for legislative changes allowing him to mitigate two important cost items on his balance sheet -- ending Saturday delivery permanently and removing mandatory pre-funding of retiree health plans.

These proposals are nothing new. For the past couple of years the pro-reform lobby has been bandying about the figure of an anticipated $50 billion bailout that will be inevitable if nothing is done to force the changes Donahoe seeks.

As expected, there is gridlock on this issue in Washington. Many do not want to cut back to five days of deliveries. For some reason there is a strange political imperative that Saturday delivery seems to hold for U.S. politicians even as industry trends are moving towards new models.

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