USPS Ties Stamp Rate Hikes To Inflation

The US Postal Service adopted plans to always keep stamp price increases at or below the rate of inflation. The stamp hikes will be annual and capped by the consumer-price index, replacing the old system of periodic and steep increases. The USPS had the right to still do one more hike under the previous rule, but opted to go for the inflation-indexed approach ahead of schedule. Those clever Forever Stamps which were to remain valid forever, will still be forever valid.

Postal Pricing Plan to Conform With Inflation [WSJ]
(Photo: Maulleigh)

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  1. jpx72x says:

    Why is the USPS the only part of our bureaucracy that actually wants to save money?

  2. zolielo says:

    The CPI is not the best developed index. Not enough command and control…

  3. dirtymoney says:

    Good thing I only use 2 stamps a month get THOSE free from work (they come in on customer’s bills that they either drop off instead of mail and forget to take the stamp off, or from customer’s bills that come thru the mail and somehow missed being cancelled). And dont start with legal techicalities of reusing a stamp that has been thru the mail & missed being cancelled! Dang anklebiters! :|

  4. Trick says:

    The USPS wants to *SAVE* money?

    If that were true, they would have started with the bulk mailers who get steep discounts for mailing their crap.

  5. InThrees says:

    Now if we can only get wages and salaries tied to inflation…

  6. Mississa says:

    I don’t mind reasonable increases in postage, keeping in mind that it should always be less then a phone call. The only thing that really bothers me is that a postage stamp represents “proof of purchase” stating that the consumer has paid for the service of the USPS for delivery of the itsm. If I still have a roll of stamps when the postage goes up, I should be able to use those stamps until they are gone. I have paid for it already and shouldn’t have to purchase more or add more stamps to the item.

  7. rg says:

    One things for sure, the increase is not due to better service!

  8. Eilonwynn says:

    @dirtymoney: it’s not even that, it’s illegal to put a stamp on an envelope, then change your mind and rip it back off again BEFORE even going through the mail. The post office has some really screwed up regulations. (note: this is not illegal in canada)

  9. PricklyPete says:

    I was at the post office today picking up my mail, and a man stopped
    me to ask for help purchasing a stamp from the vending machine. I
    hooked him up, but was really surprised to find that a stamp costs 41
    cents now. I haven’t bought a stamp since they were 32 cents…don’t use
    them anymore.

  10. uricmu says:

    the USPS didn’t put the “gas surcharges” that all private carriers (FDX, UPS) use. I would have expected them to go beyond the CPI since energy costs them a lot.

  11. azntg says:

    Does that mean that we can start hoarding forever stamps now? I’ve been told not to hoard forever stamps since postage costs went up slower than inflation, but hey, if that’s not the case anymore and if I mail fairly frequently…

  12. deserthiker says:

    I wish the USPS would just dispense with the one cent or two cent increases and just round all increases to a nickel. It’s stupid to have to deal in pennies all the time and that way increases will be less frequent.

  13. trollkiller says:

    @jpx72x:
    The USPS is a “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States” so it acts like a private corporation. It does not get a subsidy from the Federal Govt. It must make all its own money but as I understand it it can not make a profit.
    [en.wikipedia.org] has some great info on the post office.

    Because the USPS acts like a private company they are sensitive to being competitive. Like any good business one of the best ways to make money is to save money.

  14. trollkiller says:

    @Trick:
    The “steep” discounts that bulk mailers get is due to the fact we do most of the work for the post office. To get that “steep” discount we have to barcode, sort, package, label, weigh, calculate postage, fill out paperwork, deliver the mail to the post office, and unload the mail at the post office. If any of it is done wrong we get fined by the post office. I won’t even go into the cost of a MERLIN failure.

    All you have to do is slap on an address and a stamp to get a rate that is low because the evil bulk mailers pay the majority of the post office’s cost.

    If you don’t like getting bulk mail crap then goto [www.dmachoice.org] and get removed from the lists. Trust me on this, my customers do not want to spend their money sending offers to people that will not be buying.

  15. scoosdad says:

    @trollkiller: “Because the USPS acts like a private company they are sensitive to being competitive. Like any good business one of the best ways to make money is to save money.”

    If only more of the US federal government could convert to this business model.

  16. fishing-ace says:

    they still get all the tax benefits of a govt agency, and like most govt agencies, they are slow as heck at what they do. imagine if UPS or FedEx didnt have to pay corporate tax; they’d be even richer or could provide even better service.

    for years they have increased their rates at a speed outpacing inflation. it’s about time this happened.

  17. WV.Hillbilly says:

    @trollkiller: “Because the USPS acts like a private company they are sensitive to being competitive.”

    They don’t however, have to compete since other companies are forbidden to carry first class mail.

  18. lalahsghost says:

    I love how a federal agency is acting like they are a free-market business that wants to make profit instead of their intended job of providing a service for the amount of money it costs to do.

  19. they should make vending machine-like devices where you can walk up to it, feed your envelopes and pay whatever postage is due based on size/weight/qty/etc

    my BoA ATM did this with checks (not in envelopes) and perfectly I might add, even when the check was handwritten poorly, it read the amount perfectly.

  20. trollkiller says:

    @WV.Hillbilly: “They don’t however, have to compete since other companies are forbidden to carry first class mail.”

    It is true that third party companies can’t carry First Class mail, but they are allowed to carry “urgent” correspondence.

  21. trollkiller says:

    @lalahsghost: The USPS is NOT allowed to make a profit.

  22. trollkiller says:

    @fishing-ace: “they still get all the tax benefits of a govt agency, and like most govt agencies, they are slow as heck at what they do. [edit]

    for years they have increased their rates at a speed outpacing inflation. it’s about time this happened.

    Sounds like you have waited in line at the post office one too many times. My suggestion is to find a little out of the way post office to do your business at. ;)

    In all fairness the post office moves an incredible amount of mail daily, much more than UPS, Fed EX and all the others combined. If you think about it, the post office delivers to at least 80% of addresses in the country on any given day and they do that very well. What percentage of the addresses do third party carriers deliver to? 10%, 20%?

    Inflation takes into account the price increases on ALL goods and services. The post office like other businesses do not use all goods and services. Fuel, utilities, equipment, vehicle, labor, land and building costs would seem to me to be what the post office would have to base their cost increases on.

    Fuel costs have gone up higher than inflation, steel costs for building and equipment have gone up higher than inflation, and land costs have gone up higher than inflation. The question would be, have the rate increases outpaced the cost increases?

    I am not a post office fanboy, they can piss me off too, but fair is fair.

  23. trollkiller says:

    @discounteggroll: Add in an explosives, anthrax sniffer and you have a marketable product.

  24. lukobe says:

    @deserthiker: Yes, stamp prices ending in anything but 0 or 5 are rather inconvenient. I could really go for a radical simplification. Even raising the price of additional ounces wouldn’t be terrible–who really keeps those additional-ounce-rate stamps around?

    In addition to which, how about better APCs that can print postage in any amount and for any service, not just $1 and over? And how about allowing same over the internet–would love to print out postage at home w/o having to send Priority or FCM+service.

  25. vladthepaler says:

    @trollkiller:

    If your clients don’t want to send ads to people who won’t be buying, why do they charge a fee to take you off their mailing lists? “Thank you for saving us money by telling us not to send you junk mail, that will be $1 please, check or charge?” WTF

  26. trollkiller says:

    @vladthepaler:
    The DMA is not the customer, the DMA is an association of direct mailers. The customer would be the business that is doing the advertising. (i.e. car dealership, video store, pizza joint..etc.)

    The DMA makes no money off of the mailings. The customer is the ONLY one in the food chain that would save any money. The rest of us make money on volume, the more the customer mails, the more we get paid.

    The DMA is providing this service as a convenience to consumers. It costs money to provide the service so they charge for it. If you like, you can deal with the individual list companies, or you can just pony up a buck and have someone else do it for you.

    I hope that answers your question, if not feel free to post another.

  27. lalahsghost says:

    @trollkiller: You have given me a new view on some of the factors that I have not taken into acct. I appreciate your factual comments~

  28. trollkiller says:

    @lalahsghost:
    Thank you.