Employee benefits claims are a large contributor to Postal Service losses

According to the Government Accountability Office, employee benefits and compensation claims made up almost 80 percent of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)'s total costs for the last fiscal year, contributing to a record loss of $8.5 billion.

The USPS paid more than $5 billion for retiree health benefits alone last year, and legislation has been proposed that would give the federal government a greater share of the agency's pension obligations.

Additionally, the Postal Service owes $12 billion to the U.S. Treasury, and projects a $3 billion increase in its fiscal year 2011 budget. This would bring the agency to its $15 billion statutory limit.

A variety of cost-reduction measures have been proposed by the USPS, including closing some of its 31,871 post offices.

"They have the capacity right now for something like 300 billion pieces [of mail], and there are only about 170 billion pieces in the system," said Gene Del Polito of the Association for Postal Commerce, quoted by Bloomberg. "It’s time to reduce that capacity."

According to Judicial Watch, the USPS also has the most tax-delinquent employees of any federal agency - nearly 30,000 owe just under $300 million. 

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