The United States Postal Service® is facing the most urgent financial challenge in its history. Unfortunately, the tools it has to respond to the challenge are not sufficient. Constraints imposed by current laws and regulations make it nearly impossible for the Postal Service to successfully respond to the combined effects of the economic recession, the diversion of mail to electronic alternatives, and the statutory requirement that it pre-pay $5.4 to $5.8 billion every year through 2017 to a future retirees’ health benefits fund. Fundamental restructuring of the Postal Service’s business and regulatory framework is essential.
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (the Act) requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete a study on the future business model of the Postal Service by 2011; the study’s requirements are fully outlined in section 710 of the Act. But due to the Postal Service’s precarious financial situation, GAO is planning to produce its report of the study in spring 2010, well in advance of the 2011 deadline. The report is to contain GAO’s recommendations for a business model that will ensure the continuation of affordable, universal postal service to the American public. The report must also address how to minimize any adverse effects on all stakeholders that could result from adoption of the recommended model. During its study, GAO is required to consult with the Postal Service and others.
The following Postal Service report, “Assessment of the U.S. Postal Service Future Business Model,” represents just one aspect of that consultation process, and serves as a starting point for an ongoing discussion. While the law does not specify a timeframe for potential changes to the future business model, the Postal Service believes any changes should be more than incremental and address not only the current financial crisis, but also how to best serve the country for the next 10 to 20 years. This is considered an interim report, as the Postal Service continues to analyze potential options.
In addition to creating its own report, the Postal Service hired several external authors to provide independent written assessments of the future business model. Their papers are also provided.
Papers by External Authors
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