In a May 9, 2014 press release, the Postal Service issued another quarterly press release turning an operating profit (of $261 million) into a loss. The supposed loss, an accounting fiction, was caused entirely by the 2006 law which generates a long-term loan to the Federal treasury, under the guise of “pre-funding” employee benefits.
In fact, the Postal Service is making a $1 billion operating profit in the first six months of its fiscal year. In their own press release in response, the National Association of Letter Carriers pointed out that the Postal Service has been turning an operating profit since October of 2012.
But the USPS release included this apparent misstatement: “’revenue…was up $379 million over the same period last year — the third straight quarter of revenue increase,’ said Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe” (underlining added).
The Postal Service has actually been reporting revenue increases for five straight quarters, dating back to January 1, 2013 (see below). So why is Postmaster General Donahoe minimizing that winning streak? Perhaps someone in Postal HQ’s statistics department was snoozing that day.
But there is a more disturbing explanation, that is consistent with the Postal Service’s “doom and gloom” reporting of its finances.