The U.S. Post Office is requesting to raise the price of stamps again. The post office wants to raise the price of stamps another two cents this time, pushing the price of one stamp up to 46 cents, if they get that approval. This is also just one of many price increases that the post office wants to see go into effect, all during a time when the use of regular mail is decreasing. That declining volume of mail has put the U.S. Post Office into a financial crisis, according to USA Today. In order to get the price increases that they want, the request now goes in front of the independent Postal Rate Commission, which has 90 days to respond to this latest increase suggestion.
The 2009 Increase
It was in 2009 when the last increase in the price of stamps occurred, making the price the current 44 cents per stamp. In addition to the obvious increase in stamp prices that everyone will notice, there could also be increases in the cost of sending packages as well. This is the place where consumers could see the stiffest increase, especially with the holiday mailing system fast approaching in the United States. It’s unclear if the postal increases would go into effect right away, but, if they are approved within the 90 days that the Postal Rate Commission has to review them, then we could indeed see the increases by the first of January.
It’s starting to seem like the U.S. Post Office is quickly becoming an entity of the past, and that the costs associated with using it are just going to keep going up as people move away from “snail mail.” This is an agency that keeps losing money, no matter how many price increases they try to put in place, and even this two-cent increase in stamps, as well as a percentage increase on package shipping, may not be enough to overcome that deficit.
The next step will be to take away Saturday coverage in order to cover the costs of sending first class mail from coast-to-coast, but maybe more options need to be sought to keep direct mail within the states much more affordable than mailing a letter from Los Angeles to New York. Something has to be done soon, or the U.S. Post Office is going to fold, and the private competitors are going to swoop in. The black hole that is currently the U.S. Post Office doesn’t have a ray of light on the opposing side, and this is one organization that really needs a new overview of its money management if it wants to survive.