President Donald Trump tweets that the U.S. Postal Service “has been failing for many decades.” Other critics predict its demise. In Congress, the future of the USPS — including its vital role this November in handling what’s expected to be a tide of mail-in ballots — has become yet another partisan firing line.
What’s lost in the political furor is this: The Postal Service is on track to have its best year in more than half a decade — that’s even after taking a severe financial hit, like businesses around the country, from the coronavirus.
In the first six months of 2020, the USPS’ operations generated $2.3 billion in cash, an increase of $700 million from the year-ago period. Notably, none of that is from cost-cutting. Expenses are actually up $2 billion, or just under 3%, in the past nine months due in part to an increase in paid sick leave as a result of the pandemic, as well as the purchase of personal protective equipment and other services to keep workers safe.