But why exactly is USPS $7 billion in the hole? Is it inherent government waste and inefficiency? No: it seems the postal service is just subject to economic factors, like everyone else:
- 70% of households with computers are paying bills online, up from 64% last year.
- Increased use of e-filing for tax returns takes two bites out of postal paper volume: fewer papers sent to IRS, fewer refund checks sent to all corners of the map.
- The recession means less junk mail. USPS estimates its total volume will drop 13% this year, from 202B to 175B pieces [see Andrea Fuller, "As Internet Booms, the Postal Service Fights Back," New York Times, 2009.08.]
The fact that USPS is losing money says nothing some inherent flaw in government services. The real reasons for the USPS's deficit—less paper waste, easier tax filing, fewer credit card offers and ads cluttering up the mailbox—are all reasons to cheer.