No more mail? What would Ben Franklin think

September 10, 2011 - 8:25 AM
Postal Problems

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe appears before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as the panel examines the economic troubles of the Postal Service, a self-funded federal agency in decline because of the Internet and advertising losses, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Imagine a nation without the Postal Service.

No more birthday cards and bills or magazines and catalogs filling the mailbox. It's a worst-case scenario being painted for an organization that lost $8.5 billion in 2010 and seems headed deeper into the red this year.

The face of the mail? It's the letter carrier or clerk.

But hanging in the balance is a $1.1 trillion mailing industry. It employs more than 8 million people in direct mail, periodicals, catalogs, financial services, charities and other businesses that depend on the post office.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has a plan to turn things around, if he can get the attention of Congress and pass a series of hurdles, including union concerns.