I have no management expertise but about fifteen years ago I did some work on a project for the Postal Service, and I remember noticing some structural problems back then:
Everyone would always get annoyed about the way the price of a first class stamp would go up in awkward increments, from 29 cents to 32 cents to 33 cents to 34 cents etc. Why couldn’t they just jump to the next round number (for example, 35 cents) and keep it there for a few years? The answer, I was told, was that the Postal Service was trapped by a bunch of rules. They were required to price everything exactly at cost. If they charged too much for first class mail, then UPS and Fed-Ex would sue and say the PO was illegally cross-subsidizing their bulk mail. If they charged too little, then the publishers and junk mailers would sue. Maybe I’m getting the details wrong here but that was the basic idea. There was actually a system of postal courts (it probably still exists) to adjudicate these fights. Basically, the post office is always broke because it’s legally required to be broke. It’s not like other utilities which are regulated in a gentle way to allow them to make profits. Looking at this from a political direction, things must somehow be set up so that the Postal Service’s customers have more clout than the Postal Service itself. I don’t really have a sense of why this would happen for mail more than for gas, electricity, water, etc.