Fiscal Crisis at the USPS
The ongoing recession has left the United States Postal Service facing a projected $12 billion budget shortfall this year, with no indication that the agency will see an end to the red ink for at least another five years. Last week, after Congress turned down its latest request to raise the cost of a first-class stamp to $1.73, the Postal Service rushed to devise ingenious new budgetary strategies in an attempt to cut back on expenses and raise revenues.
The USPS will be unable to achieve any additional savings by further reducing the wages of its employees. Clave Gullimafrey, the president of the American Postal Workers Union, told reporters, “Last year our people saw their pay cut to $63 an hour. They can’t take any more ‘austerity’. It’s no longer reasonable or possible to balance the budget on the back of the American postperson.”
At a press conference yesterday, Postal Service spokesperson Medula Aspartama said that her agency must now consider draconian reductions in other parts of its budget. As a first step, the Postmaster General has ordered the implementation of a long-planned move to cut service hours at all post offices to 8:00am-9:30am every other Thursday.
Ms. Aspartama unexpectedly announced an additional cost-saving initiative: all post offices in cities of fewer than 50,000 inhabitants will be closed. “According to the most recent census figures, 71% of Americans live within an hour’s drive of a city having a population of 50,000 or more. This new measure will cause no major hardships, and it is expected to save the Service eight to ten billion dollars next year.”
In addition to cuts, the Postal Service is looking at new ways to increase revenue.
“We’re issuing a new series of official stamps next month,” said Ms. Aspartama. “These stamps will feature Lady Gaga, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Bill Ayers, and other major exemplars of American culture. We expect them to have wide popular appeal, particularly among collectors.”
Ms. Aspartama also described another line of stamps that is currently in the design phase. “It will be a series representing Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual, and Asexual farm animals. The market for these stamps is projected to be middle-schoolers, especially those 4-H members who are participating in the National Diverse Animal Husbandry Program.”
Further cost-cutting and revenue-enhancing measures will be announced next week, she said.