A task force has been formed by the U.S. President Donald Trump with the aim of studying the operations and finances of the United States Postal Service. This comes less than a fortnight since Trump accused online retail giant Amazon of exploiting the U.S.P.S. According to the U.S. president the country’s postal service was on a financial path that was unsustainable and there was therefore a need for restructuring in order to avoid a bailout funded by taxpayers down the road.
Per Trump the postal service has incurred cumulative losses totaling $65 billion since the Great recession. The postal service has also struggled to make payments for retiree health benefits as required by law. According to the executive order that Trump signed all these factors are putting at risk efficient, reliable and prompt universal mail services.
Heading the task force will be Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary and will be joined by directors of Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget. Some of the issues that the panel will be tasked with looking into include the pricing and expansion of the delivery market for packages.
Just like brick-and-mortar stores are suffering due to the wave of online shopping sweeping the land, the postal service is also a victim of technology since Americans no longer send as much mail as they used to as they have turned to email and other forms of electronic communication. Analysts however say that the post office has benefited from business it has obtained from Amazon as alongside courier firms offers last mile delivery service.
Decline in mail
In fourth quarter of last year for instance the number of packages that the United States Postal Service handled was 7% more compared to the same period in 2016. Mail on the other hand fell by around 5%. Earlier in the year the chief executive officer of USPS and the Postmaster General, Megan Brenna, indicated that the package business was growing though not at a rate that would help in offsetting the declines in mail which is the main revenue source.
Part of the problems that the postal service face have been brought about by unfair legislation. For instance Congress in 2006 mandated that the postal body prepay benefits and this was a special requirement that does not apply to other agencies.
“We’re trying to pass reform legislation that will allow USPS to compete without the multi-billion dollar burden imposed on it by Congress in 2006,” saidRepresentative Gerry Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, and a House Oversight Committee member.