NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

USPS Won't Shut Money-losing Post Offices

June 7, 2001

Although the U.S. Postal Service is nearing $2 billion in red ink a year, it would prefer to raise postal rates yet again, rather than shut down its revenue-losing post offices.

  • Three-quarters of its 28,000 post offices lose money -- but not one of them is slated to be closed.
  • In March 1998, the USPS declared a moratorium on shutting any post office -- excepting those with a postmaster vacancy and no one to fill it.
  • Shutting just one small post office could save taxpayers a few thousand dollars a year, but people in the tiny communities they serve look upon their post office as a gathering place and a source of local identity.
  • Political observers say Washington politicians would rather see postal rates raised before consenting to shut down a post office in their district or state.

Despite the losses, last year the USPS opened 14 new offices and expanded or renovated more than 500 others.

Source: Kathy Chen, "The Sacred Post Offices of Podunk," Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2001.

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