Financing Activities


As an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States,” the Postal Service receives no tax dollars for ongoing operations, and has not received an appropriation for operational costs since 1982. We fund operations chiefly through cash generated from operations and by borrowing from the FFB.

The amount borrowed is largely determined by three major factors: (1) the difference between cash flow from operations (which in 2010, 2009, and 2008 included pre-funding payments to the PSRHBF of $5.5 billion, $1.4 billion, and $5.6 billion, respectively); (2) capital cash outlays, which includes funds invested for new facilities, new automation equipment, and new services; and (3) annual borrowings which are limited by statute to $3 billion. Beginning in 2011, an additional determinant will be our statutory debt ceiling of $15 billion. On September 30, 2010, there was $12.0 billion in debt outstanding, an increase from September 30, 2009 of $1.8 billion.

Debt at Year End (dollars in billions)

bar charts shown debt at the end of years 2008, 2009, and 2010