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This is not true. The USPS loses billions every year before pre-funding. However, pre-funding pushes them against their statutory debt limit.

You can see in their annual report that they expect losses of up to $20 billion annually even after 2017 (when pre-funding catchup ends) and their plan to eliminate pre-funding would only save about $8 billion per year -- and do nothing to address that the USPS will not be able to pay pensions since they lose so much money.

I urge you to read primary sources. The USPS' annual report is an easy-to-understand slide deck that explains everything very well. http://about.usps.com/strategic-planning/five-year-business-... Please read it before the next time you say something about this issue.

I leafed through the 37 pages. If I understand correctly, the losses are projected only if they don't partake in some initiatives. If they actually follow their plans and mail volume is in the upper 2 (of 4) projections, they make money.

Correct. I wasn't saying that they have to be unprofitable going forward, just that the pre-funding doesn't entirely explain the losses.

I think it's a sensible document and it shows the USPS understands their situation and is willing to remain solvent in a humane and useful way.

But the pre-funding, which what I can determine, is rare both in public and private sector, brings them from profit to loss.

The USPS pension obligations are around 100% funded (has been overfunded at 105% in the past; may still be the case.)

The average private company funds its pensions at about 80%. It's supposed to be a complete funding when interest rate of investments is factored and the average used to be about 90%. There are (questionable) accounting tricks that private companies can use to underfund pensions that are not available to the USPS because of the way their Congressional mandate is written, and because of the enormous amount of public scrutiny.

So, to bring the USPS in line with what is required of the pensions of private companies, they would reduce their obligations by 10-20% at most. They would still have the same problems.

Public pensions don't have funding requirements. This is a disaster for millions of workers since they won't get their pensions. It's not a good idea to rely on perpetually increasing government revenue without any kind of savings in reserve.

That said, eventually, the USPS will need to reduce pension payments in order to survive if their other initiatives fail, or they will have to obtain direct funding from Congress. If they are required to pre-fund to the end, then retirees will benefit at the expense of current employees. If they are allowed to drop pre-funding and move to the public pension model, then retirees will suffer for the benefit of current employees.

But we're talking about health care, not pensions (similar but different).

Even so, the bill seems designed to make them fail.

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