USPS Racks Up $5.2B Loss

Service is rapidly running out of cash
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2012 1:58 AM CDT
Updated Aug 10, 2012 7:33 AM CDT
Postal Service Racks Up $5.2B Loss
The nearly bankrupt US Postal Service has reported losses of $57 million per day in the last quarter.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

The hole in the US Postal Service's finances in the second quarter of this year was so big that it would not have been filled if every American bought a first-class stamp every day for a month. The struggling service has reported a $5.2 billion quarterly loss, and says it's nearly out of cash, reports the Wall Street Journal. Last week, it defaulted for the first time in its history, failing to make a legally required $5.5 billion payment for future retiree health benefits, and it may fail to make a similar $5.6 billion payment at the end of September.

Most of the quarterly loss came from retiree benefits payments, but the service also lost $1 billion on its normal operations as the long decline in letter-sending continued. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said that the service would do whatever it takes to make sure mail is still delivered, although some vendors might go unpaid. Lawmakers have left for a month-long recess without creating legislation to return the service to profitability, Reuters notes. "Congress needs to act responsibly and get on with things so that we can get these things in our rearview mirror," Donahoe said. (More US Postal Service stories.)

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