The more things change at the U.S. Postal Service, the more they stay the same.
Consider this statement written 31 years ago by then-Postmaster General William F. Bolger:
"The main disadvantage of the Postal Service's present status is that the 'safeguards' that accompanied independence have tended to grow to the point that new fetters have been substituted in part for the former ones. The Postal Service continues to be overregulated, and its managers continue to have difficulty finding the authority to execute certain decisions that are necessary to modernize the service and operate the postal system efficiently."
Bolger's reference to "safeguards" came from a 1970 Congressional report that called for making the Post Office Department an independent agency, which happened the next year. Bolger quoted the committee as writing that the only way to fix the Post Office was "fundamental reform that puts complete responsibility in a single place, with appropriate safeguards. . . . Top management must be given authority, consistent with its responsibilities, to provide an efficient and economical postal system."
The overregulation of the U.S. Postal Service has become even more apparent and more damaging today. Congress demands that the agency break even yet hamstrings its efforts to reduce costs and mostly prevents it from building new sources of revenue. For too many Congress members, "appropriate safeguards" mean preventing any changes that would hurt anyone in their district regardless of the greater harm to mailers, employees, and the Postal Service from doing nothing.
Bolger's letter in answer to a questionnaire from the National Academy of Public Administration provides quite a lesson on the history and legal standing of USPS. I have posted the entire letter on Scribd.