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Postal Rate Increase

The US Postal Service, a public-private agency with the worst of both worlds, wants you to remember that starting tomorrow it will cost you 44¢ for First Class and 28¢ for a postcard. Unlike a real private company, they can’t exceed the rise in inflation or pay their top management millions per year.


1 Reality { 05.11.09 at 5:45 am }

The USPS may call itself a private agency, but their facilities are owned and maintained by the government. It’s employees are paid with taxpayer money and, because of their union, are paid more than other government employees. No company in the U.S. may compete with the USPS on first class mail service. It’s hardly private; that’s just a ruse to make us think the government is saving us money. The USPS delivers little more than junk mail and bills anymore. It’s time to make it either entirely private and allow others to compete with it or make it entirely public so that its employees are accountable to the people who pay them.

2 Patricia Reynolds { 05.11.09 at 6:48 am }

USPS workers have probably the best benefit package of anyone in the US. If the auto industry has to rethink their employee benefit packages in order to survive, why shouldn’t USPS. They have employees that remain out on sick leave for over a year before they retire! And when they lose your mail, no one holds them accountable. Twice recently they failed to deliver a paycheck to a single working mother of two. No one suffered except the mother, who had to pay fees to her bank when her bill payments bounced, and the non-profit organization she works for, who had to pay to stop the checks. And now they want a fee hike. I don’t care to give raise to those that don’t do their job properly!

3 Andrickson Alix { 05.11.09 at 8:36 am }

I do not think increasing postcard will affect people a hole lot for the simple reason that most people are always on the go so with little to be say they send more email then they send letters. If the government want to put their hands on people pocket they need to hit them were it hurts the most, and we know that is people on the go electronic device.

4 Dr. X { 05.11.09 at 9:02 am }

I agree Junk Mail and Bills. Except I’ve got most of my bills coming electronically. Certain things I must still mail. But, If I can avoid using the Post Office I do so.

5 Steven { 05.11.09 at 9:05 am }

Postal Rates up AGAIN!
If my salary will increase as fast as the US postal services, I would be a
millionare today! Ridiculous.

6 Steve Bates { 05.11.09 at 10:31 am }

The existence of federally established “Post Offices and Post Roads” is mandated in the Constitution (Art. I, Sect. 8). Congress has the power to establish them; that power is listed right after the power “‘[t]o provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.” Sometimes I think our founders got the clauses intermixed: they really meant to provide for the punishment of Post Offices…

Using our Postal Service is a real trial. I speak from personal experience, as an ordinary mailer of payments and letters, a holder of a P.O. Box (don’t get me started), and a volunteer preparer of bulk mailers for nonprofit organizations (a corporation that sponsored a musical ensemble and another that sponsors a major environmentalist organization). I suppose one could make those mundane activities more difficult than USPS does, but I don’t see how. And the whole notion that some sort of virtuous change was accomplished by creating the USPS to give the appearance that the Post Office had been privatized is just one more bit of Reaganesque claptrap. It isn’t really a private entity, and it certainly isn’t an improvement.

(Thanks for the notice, Bryan. I had let this increase slip past me. Fortunately, I still have a lot of “forever” stamps left from the last rate increase, which wasn’t all that long ago…)

7 Bryan { 05.11.09 at 3:25 pm }

1. Ronald Reagan did this to screw the workers and he did a pretty thorough job of it, as the USPS has a two tier employee system, with the employees who came from the original Post Office system having rights and benefits, and the recent employee getting nothing. For those who don’t know, if a civil service job is eliminated, someone loses their job. There are layoffs at the Post Office, just like everywhere else.

2. Postal regulations have to be approved by Congress, which means that many of the changes and most of the complexity in the system are a product of lobbyists getting favors from their pet Congresscritters, and have nothing to do with the people who actually work for the USPS.

3. You can’t successfully compete with the USPS, and no one with a minimum amount of business sense wants to try. What people want to do is grab the profitable parts of the operation, like the mail between major cities, while ignoring the losing parts, mail to small towns. At 44¢ an ounce you can’t pay for shipping anything from Hinckley, New York to Eagle, Alaska, no matter who you are, but the USPS is required to do that. The profits from the cheap city-to-city routes subsidize the money losing services to other areas. The USPS is not supposed to make money, it is supposed to provide a service.

4. Many public utilities, like my local water company, use post cards to send bills, which I find to be a egregious violation of my privacy, but it saves a lot of money.

5. Pay attention when buying cards, because many of them now note that they require extra postage. If an envelope can’t be processed by the automatic sorting machines you are going to need two stamps.

6. No, Mr. Duff, like me, Steve wants a single payer system which deals with paying for health care, not providing it. The problem in the US is how health care is funded, not how it is provided.

8 Bryan { 05.12.09 at 11:41 am }

No, you have always had to pay a fee for the service, and it uses the same publicly financed infrastructure that private enterprise uses but refused to build.

9 Badtux { 05.12.09 at 12:06 pm }

Indeed, the fee to use the service pays 100% of the cost of the service, *plus* transfer payments to the U.S. Treasury to “pay for the infrastructure” that the USPS inherited from its predecessor government agency. There is no tax money involved in the operation of the current U.S. Postal Service.

Regarding why we have a U.S. Postal Service in the first place, Ben Franklin wrote it into the Constitution because he knew first-hand just how lousy private enterprise was at providing postal service to remote areas — some areas of the country didn’t get his almanac until it was pretty much obsolete, because the private postal carriers that preceded the U.S. Post Office simply wouldn’t go there, meaning that any mail to that area had to wait until someone from that area travelled to someplace that the private carriers *would* go and picked up all the mail for the folks in that area. Which might take six months, since travel back then was rather more arduous and expensive than today…

Right now the only reason UPS and FedEx will go to rural areas is because the major shippers simply won’t use a package carrier that won’t go to rural areas — if UPS and FedEx don’t go there, the major shippers will just use the USPS for everything and say f-u to UPS and FedEx, it’s simply too much a PITA to deal with multiple shipping companies. But eliminate that semi-government competition with the free market, and it becomes a race to the bottom between UPS and FedEx as to how low they can go with the amount of service they provide for the amount they charge…

10 Bryan { 05.12.09 at 12:48 pm }

Private enterprise is always ready to step in after the expensive and difficult problems are solved by the government and taxpayers.

11 LadyMin { 05.12.09 at 1:07 pm }

Exactly … one needs only to look to the airlines for an example of price cuts, deteriorating service and the race to the bottom.

The post office may not have perfect service but I doubt Fed Ex, UPS or any private for profit service would deliver mail for anywhere near 44¢. And considering the amount of mail they process, they don’t do that bad a job. I file hundreds of tax returns a year and we use the postal service as that is considered proof of mailing by the due date, and rarely does one not arrive at it’s destination.

That said, I receive and pay my own bills online. It’s more convenient and cheaper.

LadyMin´s last blog post..Baby Robins

12 Bryan { 05.12.09 at 2:48 pm }

The postmark is an accepted proof of date and time, and I have used letters mailed to myself as part of the copyright process for significant pieces of my software, as well as notary stamps.

People who have never been in business make a lot of assumptions about what business can and will do in a given situation.