The USPS carries an extraordinary financial burden that no other government agency or company bears.
A 2006 law, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, requires the Postal Service to pre-fund the health care benefits of future retirees. It forces the agency to pre-fund a 75-year liability in just 10 years, which costs the USPS more than $5.5 billion annually.
This mandate is the reason the Postal Service is threatening to end Saturday mail delivery service, lay off 120,000 workers, close thousands of post offices and eliminate hundreds of mail processing facilities.
In addition, the Postal Service is required to overpay billions more into its pension accounts in the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System.
"Congress created this problem, and Congress can fix it," the ad concludes. It will air until the end of November on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News.
Without the mandate, the USPS would have been profitable over the past four years, and rather than having to use up its $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury to cover the pre-funding obligation, the Postal Service would have had significant borrowing authority to ride out the bad economy it now faces.
From medical prescriptions to important financial documents, packages, catalogs and newspapers, the U.S. Postal Service is a critical part of our economy and an integral part of daily life across America. It is the center of a $1.2 trillion industry that employs 8 million people, including printers, mailers, publishers and other businesses that depend on the Postal Service..
The Postal Service and its employees don't want a taxpayer bailout. They have not received any taxpayer funds in nearly 30 years.
What they do want is the freedom to use their own surplus pension funds to pay down the pre-funding obligation.
But this can only happen if Congress changes the current law.