The May 23 letter to the editor "Drop postal delivery on Saturdays" mischaracterized U.S. Postal Service finances. Given the Postal Service’s importance to Madison’s residents and businesses, I’d like to offer some information.

The Postal Service, which delivers to 155 million addresses six and increasingly seven days a week, doesn’t use taxpayer money. By law, it earns its revenue through the sale of stamps and related products and services.

It’s the centerpiece of the $1.3 trillion national mailing industry, which employs 7 million Americans in the private sector, including 180,238 people in Wisconsin.

For years, the Postal Service has averaged a $1 billion annual operating profit. The red ink you hear about stems from congressional politics. In 2006, lawmakers mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits. No other entity has to do this even one year in advance. The Postal Service must pre-fund these benefits decades into the future. That $5.8 billion annual charge produces the "red ink."

The Postal Service, postal unions, lawmakers and industry groups are working to address pre-funding while strengthening the invaluable postal networks. If Wisconsin’s elected representatives in Washington act on targeted reform legislation, the Postal Service can continue to provide all Americans with the industrial world’s most affordable delivery services.

Fredric Rolando, president, National Association of Letter Carriers

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