The United States Postal Service is a federal agency that receives no taxpayer funding. If the Post Office receives no taxpayer funding and can carry out its mission sustainably if not for that whole "pension" business, why does the Federal Government place the Post Office in a position where the Government can legally dictate Post Office policy?

I'm not necessarily talking about privatization, by the way. At least not in the sense that the common folk understand it.

I'm just trying to make sense of why the feds want to retain control of an agency they don't fund, as opposed to - say - giving full ownership and decision-making over to the Postmasters.

To me it's basically the feds saying: "We're gonna boss you around like a government agency, but we're not going to fund you like one."

  • Even ignoring pension liabilities, the post office does not operate profitably. It's had an operating deficit for the last 15 years.
    – eps
    Sep 30, 2021 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution explicitly gives the United States Congress the authority to establish the postal service and its requisite infrastructure. It's one of the few government agencies whose existence is directly implied by the founding document of the United States government.

For better or worse, this is the whole of your answer. The Constitution gives dominion over the post offices to Congress, and the USPS is the agency which they created to enact their will in that regard. It's arguable (albeit only by implication) that they're not even allowed to cut the USPS entirely loose.

As a matter of jurisprudence, while a legislature may delegate its authority, it may not do so irrevocably - the hand that giveth may always take away. Without an amendment to the Constitution which strips the Congress of its powers to create the Postal Service, no private entity could ever be truly free of Congress' thumb on this matter.

  • 1
    Giving them the power to establish post offices does not mean they're required to do so.
    – Barmar
    Sep 30, 2021 at 20:44
  • @Barmar It does not, you're correct. But it means that anyone else doing it is only able to do so without competition from the U.S. Gov't because Congress has decided that it should be so. And once they've established it, it's not clear that they have the power to fully cut it loose, because of how the power arises. Sep 30, 2021 at 20:47

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