Some of the rural post offices throughout the nation set to be closed by the Postal Service could be retained if Congress provides the agency what amounts to an $11 billion bailout.
But the reprieve will be only temporary unless the Postal Service finds ways to balance its bottom line.
The Senate approved an $11 billion infusion of cash this week, by a 62-37 vote.
If approved by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Barack Obama, the measure will postpone closings of about 3,700 post offices and 252 mail sorting facilities. But providing the $11 billion will merely delay cutbacks that are inevitable unless the Postal Service finds and implements basic reforms.
At present, Postal Service officials seem to have no long-range plan to modernize the agency. By that, we mean the Postal Service continues to operate under a 20th-century model, with little recognition of how to deal with competition from electronic message delivery and efficient private-sector package shippers.
Until and unless that riddle is solved, the Postal Service will continue to hemorrhage money - and actions such as post office closings will remain on the table.