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Beyond Postal Panic

Commentary The panic over whether the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) could deliver election ballots is past. So is fear it would run out of cash and stop all deliveries—Congress provided it with $10 billion in emergency relief to cover COVID-induced losses and expenses. But fundamental problems still threaten its future viability as mail delays continue. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will soon offer reform plans, and the new Congress and administration also are toying with reforms, some of which would make matters far worse. Thus, it’s important to frame the issues for the coming debate. Money Matters For years, the USPS has lost revenue as individuals, businesses, and advertisers shift to electronic communications from paper delivered by mail carriers. Cumulative losses since fiscal year 2007 were some $87 billion, including a loss of $9.2 billion in fiscal 2020 against revenues of $73.1 billion. In that year, with COVID-19 raging, First-Class Mail volumes dropped …

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