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Bailing Out the Mail

Like the airlines, which received a government boost after Sept. 11, the US Postal Service now needs a leg up. Postmaster General John Potter said he needs $2 billion to offset the loss of revenues after the anthrax attacks and another $3 billion to pay for increased security, such as buying supplies to better protect employees who handle the mail.

The post office is doing its part to cut costs. But a rate hike for first-class letters was just recently enacted, and another increase is on the books for 2002. If Congress does nothing, consumers will bear the brunt during an economic recession. A one-time infusion of money toward maintaining the integrity of this necessary institution makes sense. It should not, however, be used to help pay for a projected loss of $1.35 billion in 2002.

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