Stamp Prices to Increase in 2012 Says USPS

Stamp prices will rise by one cent – to 45 cents – starting January 22, 2012, the US Postal Service (USPS) announced Tuesday.

The proposed first-class stamp – aka the forever stamp – price hike is part of a series of changes that would additionally boost the price of a postcard from 29 cents to 32 cents and also raise the cost of sending international letters, standard mail, packages and periodicals.

“The overall average price increase is small and is needed to help address our current financial crisis,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe explained in a statement to the press. “We continue to take actions within our control to increase revenue in other ways and to aggressively cut costs. To return to sound financial footing we urgently need enactment of comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide the Postal Service with a more flexible business model.”

For the 2010 fiscal year, the USPS posted losses of $8.5 billion compared to a $3.8 billion loss in the previous year. In the four year period leading to 2010, mail volume declined 20 percent, leading to a $20 billion net loss.

In case you are wondering, laws prevent the postal service price increases from exceeding the rate of inflation, which, according to the most recent Consumer Price Index reading, is 2.1 percent. That being said, the current hikes do not violate the law.

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What are your thoughts on increasing stamp prices and postal services? Are you planning on stocking up on forever stamps before the hikes go into effect?