The Postal Service estimates the deal will bring in $107 million over three years.
To be sure, even if it increases junk mail, the deal won't necessarily add to the total national pile of paper. The particular ads USPS would deliver - pitches for durable goods sold by brick-and-mortar retail stores - already reach consumers via newspaper inserts.
What the deal would do is alter the national flow of advertising, to the financial detriment of newspapers like the one you may be holding. Struggling print media need this like a hole in the head.
Small wonder that the Newspaper Association of America - of which The Post is a member - has sued to block the deal in federal court.
This gives me a conflict of interest, of course. Still, even people who don't draw a newspaper paycheck should be able to appreciate what's wrong here.
The rationale for a Postal Service is that the U.S. government should facilitate national integration and economic expansion. That's why the Constitution gave Congress the power "to establish Post Offices" and why Congress used that power to give the Postal Service a monopoly on first-class mail delivery, preferential access to federal credit and other advantages.
It was envisioned as a utility, providing a delivery network to all companies and individuals on more or less equal terms.
Now, in its technological obsolescence and financial decrepitude, and with the encouragement of both Congress and its regulator, the Postal Service has been reduced to helping one private-sector entity outcompete another.
The fact that all parties concerned - USPS, newspapers and junk mailers - are scrapping over the same shrinking paper pie only heightens the poignancy.
Many proposals for reviving the Postal Service would compound the error by letting this federally advantaged entity compete with the private sector in businesses such as check-cashing or beer and wine shipment.
Without serious cost-cutting, such gimmicks would probably fail anyway.
Our far-flung postal system used to epitomize American democratic efficacy. Today, however, Congress' failure to deal with mail's inevitable decline is a case study in democratic dysfunction.
Charles Lane is a member of The Washington Post's editorial board.