Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is reportedly in talks to pay back some of the sponsorship money he got from the U.S. Postal Service.
The Postal Service may have spent at least $30 million to underwrite Armstrong's team during his most successful years between 2001 and 2004. Armstrong is struggling to restore his reputation after allegations of doping and cheating. He's facing an uphill climb. But the U.S. Postal Service is facing an even bigger challenge.
Even if Armstrong pays back $30 million in sponsorship money, it's not enough to cover even one day's worth of losses for the USPS. The Postal Service loses an average $42 million per day. It lost almost $16 billion last fiscal year. The Postal Service doesn't rely on federal tax dollars. It costs you nothing as a taxpayer to have the USPS delivering mail. But in 2006, Republicans in Congress passed legislation requiring the USPS to contribute $5.5 billion dollars every year to a retirement fund. No other government agency or corporation has ever been strapped by that massive funding requirement.
Some congressional members fear the USPS could be extinct before the end of 2013. Ironically, 15% of the bills Congress has passed in the last 5 years were about naming post offices. Not saving them.
The U.S. Postal Service manages to do some amazing things every day, even though they've been set up to fail:
- The USPS covers a bigger geographical area than any other postal service in the world, delivering to 151 million homes, businesses and P.O. boxes every day.
- The USPS has the world's biggest retail network. It's bigger than McDonalds, Wal-Mart and Starbucks combined in the U.S.
- It's got the world's largest civilian fleet and the most vehicles running on alternative fuel.
- The USPS can deliver a letter to any of the 300 people who live in the most isolated region of northern Alaska. The Anaktuvuk Pass Post office is the only link for those Americans. There are no roads. Everything has to be flown in.
- The USPS delivers mail on mule trains to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
- 546,000 career employees work for the U.S. Postal Service.
- The Postal Service has been delivering for Americans for 238 years.
- Did I mention the USPS costs taxpayers nothing? Perhaps it is worth saving.