Stamps Increase By 3 Cents Under Proposed Postal Rate Hike

Stamps will increase by three cents if the US Postal Service gets its way.

The Board of Governors of the Postal Service is seeking this 6.5 percent increase in first-class postage from 46 cents to 49 cents effective January 26 because the money-losing agency is continues be billions in the red. Other mail, including postcards, packages, and bulk mail (which consumers refer to as junk mail) would also cost more. Postcards would increase by a penny to 34 cents.

If you already have a stash of "forever stamps," the proposed first-class increase -- if it goes through -- won't affect you until you run out of them. This particular stamps increase proposal must be approved by the Independent Regulatory Commission because it exceeds the rate of inflation.

The Postal Service obviously has lost huge chunks of its market share as people have obviously opted for electronic mail rather than snail mail. It expects to lose $6 billion in 2013.

ABC News reports that an official with the Greeting Card Association "said the rate increases were 'no substitute for common-sense, structural reforms' and the group hoped they would be rejected."

Similarly, a magazine industry trade group executive said that "No private company would increase prices when sales are already plummeting. (This) will cause significant declines in mail volume and further job losses across the industry without addressing the USPS' core issues."

A proposal to eliminate Saturday mail delivery and implement other reforms is still pending in Congress. The Post Office is obligated to make a $5.6 billion payment each year for future retiree health and is having serious problems coming up with the cash.

Despite its dire, day-to-day financial straits, the Postal Service is reportedly paying a consulting firm more than $500,000 -- believe it or not -- to predict the future of stamps themselves. According to the Federal Times, the firm "is to devise strategies both to slow the 'predictable decline' in stamp use and to 'reinvent and reimagine' stamp relevance to promote growth."

Do you still use the US Post Office? If so, will the proposed stamps increase have any affect on your doing business with the Postal Service?

[image credit: Johan Burati]