At the same meeting the Postal Service will present a new financial forecast for FY 2012 that will likely include losses greater than what is now in the public record.
The new forecasts raise an important question that stakeholders need to demand that the Postal Service answer.
When does the Postal Service now expect to shut down operations because it has run out of cash?
In May, the Postal Service stated that the shut down would occur in July, 2012. The new forecasts should push that date up by at least a month or two.
While a Postal Service shut down may have been ludicrous in the past, the state of politics in Congress makes a Postal Service shutdown a real possibility. The debt ceiling crisis and the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration indicates that Congress is not adverse of allowing gridlock to shutdown a Federal agency or bring the economy to the brink. The FAA example also indicates that if a shutdown of the Postal Service occurs, Congressional gridlock could cause a shutdown of a month or more before legislation to provide financing to cover the Postal Service's cash shortfall passes.
Right now mailers and postal employees need the Postal Service to provide a more current estimate of a possible shut down date so that that they can begin planning for how they will run their business or pay their bills if the Postal Service shuts down. The experience of parcel shippers during the shutdown of United Parcel Service during a Teamsters strike in 1997 illustrated that early planning for the shutdown made the difference between thriving and struggling during the time United Parcel Service was unavailable.