Opinion

Commentary: Congress should help U.S. Postal Service

A direct link can be drawn between the Postal Reform Act of 2006 and the U.S. Postal Service finding itself short of cash beginning in 2007. In 2006, Congress required USPS to prefund 80 percent of future postal retiree health benefits. This congressional mandate, a burden exclusive to the USPS, cost it $2.8 billion in 2008.

Of course, a sour economy and increasing Internet communications also abet the postal service's financial woes. Postmaster General John E. Potter this week said the 235-year-old agency faces a cumulative loss of $238 billion over 10 years unless more cost-cutting measures are taken.

Only Congress can come to the rescue, and it should -- now.

Among the solutions: Cut mail delivery by one day a week (most likely Saturdays) and ease back on the overly generous retiree prefunding rules. Mr. Potter says that if it hadn't had to pay out that $2.8 billion in early benefits in 2008, USPS would be in the black today.

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