Guess who just celebrated an anniversary? The Postal Service. Yesterday marked 245 years since Congress created the United States Post Office Department. So, it seems fitting that today is the day we wrap up our series on the value of the Postal Service. This week’s blog focuses on the economic value the Postal Service adds to our country.
Why does the U.S. Postal Service charge the same price for a greeting card going from Washington, D.C., to California as it does from Manhattan to Queens? Because the Postal Service must follow a set of regulations designed to ensure that everyone can send and receive mail at a reasonable price. Those regulations are called the “universal service obligation,” or USO. And it covers many aspects of mail delivery.
Talk of postal finances inevitably turns to the U.S. Postal Service’s retiree pension assets and obligations. With nearly $279 billion in assets, yet $41 billion below their estimated liabilities, the pension plans are a huge part of the USPS portfolio.
Our office has looked at ways to address the Postal Service’s long-term pension and health liabilities, focusing recently on ways to invest assets so they yield higher returns while minimizing risk.