Last year the USPS was running losses of about $1 Billion per quarter. Email and the proliferation of broadband connections was eating away at consumer demand for sending mail, while fuel costs were skyrocketing.
They answered by increasing the cost of sending a letter (and postcard) each of the last three summers. The result: they've driven down business further from consumers. In addition, direct-mail advertisers (the original spammers) are turning away in droves, as consumers get used to only looking for bills and junkmail in their mailboxes.
What would you do if you were US Postmaster for a day?
I would implement a few changes:
1. Reduce delivery to every-other-day. (Maybe there could be exceptions for signature-required mail or something like that.) This would save a ton on fuel costs, but could also reduce the number of letter-carriers.
2. Require neighborhood mailboxes (where possible). Grant home-delivery exceptions for those who qualify (handicapped, rural, unable to drive, etc.), but let the majority of people pick up their mail at the end of the block.
3. Offer some sort of credit to people willing to pick their mail up from their local post office (without waiting in line - they would have a mailbox on location assigned to them.)
I don't know if any of these ideas will help the USPS turn a profit, but I'm sure they would reduce the red ink.
Here's an interesting site with additional information, including a historical look at postage rates in the United States: http://www.akdart.com/postrate.html
Your can't remember the last time he sent a regular letter to somebody Realtor,