The Postmaster General is warning that a postal budget crisis could cause mail delivery to be consolidated to just three days a week. Meanwhile, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is trying to convince lawmakers—and taxpayers—to keep all its union jobs.

The APWU’s new radio ad airing in Washington, D.C., says the pounds of mail handled by workers don’t cost you “a single cent.”

“The United States Postal Service doesn’t run on your tax dollars. It’s funded solely by stamps and postage,” the 30-second ad says. That’s technically true (unless you count the legally enforced monopoly on first-class mail as a subsidy). Unless some real reforms are made in how the USPS operates, however, that will change. The USPS owes $5.5 billion—due September 30—to future retirees’ health benefits, which the Postmaster General says it can’t pay. Its continuous hemorrhaging of money is creating the looming specter of a postal bailout.

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