Just when we were getting used to the $.46 cent price tag for one postage stamp, things are going to change again. The new postage stamp as of January 26th will cost American's $.49 cents. Imagine, nearly $.50 cents to mail a letter.
Due to the financial struggles the United States Postal Service (USPS) has endured since the beginning of the economic crisis, many small towns seeing their only post office either shut down entirely, or hours cut back dramatically. This hike is an effort to help them recover from their economic downturn.
The Postal Service has claimed that its financial problems are due to the lack of interest in paper mail, what many call snail mail. So along came staff reductions -- about a quarter of its workforce, or 150,000 postal jobs being eliminated by 2016 and closing post offices as well as ending Saturday mail delivery, a measure currently pending in Congress, but we knew something was amiss.
"There is red ink -- but the overwhelming share has nothing to do with mail volume, the Internet, or other factors related to the mail," says Fredric Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers
Some expert’s claim the financial downfall is due to mismanaged funds and Congress not acting as quickly as required. As well as extensive retirement health payments, a cost that in the first 3 quarters of 2013 was a whopping $9.2 billion dollars.
"The prefunding of retiree health benefits for future retirees is a major cause of our financial crisis -- but not the only cause," says a USPS spokesman, citing decline in first-class mail as another major cause.
Usually stamp prices increase $.01 per year, however, supposedly - the higher rate is only going to continue for two years. This will allow the Postal Service to try and make the $2.8 billion dollars they have lost over the past few years. Perhaps this will bring them back to making a profit.
With a 2-1 vote, the independent Postal Regulatory Commission rejected a request to make the price hike permanent, although considering inflation over the next 24 months it just may make stick. It is too soon to determine.
The surcharge "will last just long enough to recover the loss," Commission Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway said.
Of course, it's not just the first class stamp that will increase. Stamps.com - the USPS website that sells their mailing essentials online gives you a full overview of what it is going to cost to do business with them in 2014.
Sounds like they need a major restructuring of funds, and congress needs to step up and get this issue dealt with.
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