USPS Seeks Price Increase On Stamps, Pays Futurist $565K To Mull Over Future Of Stamps

You know those stamps you use maybe once or twice a month? They could soon be slightly more expensive after the USPS Board of Governors has requested a three-cent price increase on first-class stamps in order to combat the expected $6 billion in losses this year. But since the USPS is already planning on losing that huge pile of cash anyway, why not throw another $565,000 toward some futurist firm that can ponder the destiny of the once-beloved postage stamp.

The proposed price hike was predicted last week, when the Postmaster General told lawmakers that the Postal Service needed to raise cash quickly, as it only had enough on hand to get it through early October.

Any hikes higher than the rate of inflation must get the approval of the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, so there will still be some time before any increase is actually put in place.

Meanwhile, USPS has decided to pay futurist firm BrainReserve $565,000 to provide “analysis and recommendation on the future of stamps.”

“As part of its ongoing innovation efforts, the Postal Service regularly seeks advice and counsel from mailing industry, marketing and innovation experts,” a USPS rep explains to Reuters. “This is an important activity that helps the organization anticipate changing mailing and shipping behaviors, as well as long-term changes to the evolving communication marketplace it serves,” she said.

Of course, that impressive amount of money is only a fraction of the billions the USPS stands to lose in the coming years. Its own projections predict that the volume of stamped mail — which accounts for around 43% of USPS revenue — will plummet by 40% by 2020. The service is currently losing an estimated $25 million each day.

The Postmaster General has repeatedly asked for the authority to cut Saturday mail delivery for most customers. That alone would save an estimated $2 billion per year, he claims.

USPS proposes stamp hike, hires futurist to study stamps’ fate [CNBC/Reuters]