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Postal Service caught in the crunch of coronavirus

A postal worker wearing protection against the COVID-19 coronavirus walks along Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge last week.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Congress has neglected postal reform for years

Your April 14 editorial “The postal service has never been more valuable — or more endangered” lets Congress off the hook for long neglecting postal reform.

Starting in 2009, the Government Accountability Office has included the US Postal Service on its government agencies High Risk List. In the decade that followed, Congress was derelict in addressing the Postal Service’s mission and business structure. The Postal Service continued to register huge losses. At the end of fiscal 2019, it had a negative net worth of $71.5 billion, and unfunded liabilities exceeded $140 billion.


The Trump Administration sought to break this pattern by way of a comprehensive Postal Service Task Force report, issued in December 2018. Half the recommendations involved actions the Postal Service could take and half require legislation. Privatization was not recommended.

Subsequently, the House of Representatives has held only one hearing on postal reform legislation, and reform legislation has not been introduced.

The Trump administration also strengthened the Postal Service by negotiating a new deal in 2019 with the Universal Postal Union, the UN agency that sets international package rates. This could eliminate up to $500 million in annual Postal Service losses.

The administration has shown a willingness to address postal issues. It is nice to see Congress finally step up.

Paul Steidler

Senior fellow

Lexington Institute

Arlington, Va.

The Lexington Institute is a public policy think tank.

Pandemic is threatening Postal Service’s future

Somehow the current administration can fund $2.2 trillion to help corporations and individuals recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, but it can’t help the US Postal Service? We can provide hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out airlines, banks, cruise lines, and others deemed vital to the economy, but the one federal agency with a 90 percent approval rate by the public — one that touches all individuals and business daily — doesn’t warrant assistance?


The Postal Service has struggled with declining mail volumes for 15 years, as a result of technology changes in communications, bill paying, and banking transactions and declines in advertising. It has handled these long-term declines well, but a pandemic calls for immediate financial support.

Officials should put aside partisan politics and any motives they might have to dismantle the Postal Service, and treat it the same as other large companies critical to our economy. Let’s recognize the service the Postal Service provides on the front lines every day.

William Nickles