A few facts would have bolstered the April 16 editorial “Trouble in the mail.” Yes, U.S. Postal Service revenue has declined, but the Postal Service remains one of the largest businesses in the world. Last year it generated $67 billion in revenue. It is the central pole of a trillion-dollar industry that employs almost 9 million people at a time when job creation is critical to our economy.
Taxpayers are not at risk for postal pension and health-care liabilities — the Postal Service does not need or want tax dollars. The Postal Service has set aside more than $300 billion for this purpose, funding obligations at more than 80 percent. This is not counting $82 billion of overcharges my office has documented, which if returned, would fund the obligations at more than 100 percent — an uncommon feat anywhere. If the Postal Service went out of business tomorrow, its real estate holdings, worth tens of billions of dollars, would more than cover remaining liabilities.
The government has grown addicted to overcharging the Postal Service to rescue itself. It demands $11 billion more every year. A good question is whether the Postal Service is losing money or whether these overpayments represent an unauthorized tax on the American people, endangering a historically successful enterprise.
David C. Williams, Arlington
The writer is inspector general for the U.S. Postal Service.