As the federal government approaches its (latest) borrowing/debt limit, it’s important to realize just how close to the edge individual government agencies are already.

The Wall Street Journal reports the United States Postal Service (USPS) is close to running out of the $15 billion loan it acquired from the U.S. Treasury.

The U.S. Postal Service in September hit its $15 billion borrowing limit from the U.S. Treasury for the first time in its history, leaving the agency with only the revenue it takes in from selling stamps, shipping and other services to cover its operating costs.

Does a post office bailout loom? You can rest assured USPS officials are working on it.

“Being at the limit is a serious situation because our limited liquidity does not give us operating flexibility,” [Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer] said. “Without passage of comprehensive legislation as part of the Postal Service’s business plan to return to financial stability, we continue to project low levels of cash.”

Volume of mail during election and holiday seasons will help the USPS with increased revenues, but there’s no getting around the fact the postal service costs a lot more to operate than its customers are willing to pay.

Instead of a post office bailout, how about asking whether, in the 21st century, the federal government needs to be in the business of delivering mail at all?