Sending the wrong message

Published Oct 2, 2013 at 6:59 am (Updated Oct 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm)

Y et again, the U.S. Postal Service is proposing to up the price of a postage stamp by three cents, bringing the cost to 49 cents for first class mail. If anyone still mails post cards, that rate would jump to 34 cents.

The increase would take effect in January, after everyone mailed Christmas or holiday cards, yet in time to send in those credit card payments.

The increase comes at a time when the U.S. Postal Service is seeing lower usage as people turn to online payments and social media to communicate.

Where’s the logic that when usage is dropping, increase the cost of a postage stamp? Just another way to pass the buck. Unfortunately, for many struggling in these times of economic difficulties, the buck does, indeed, stop with them.

There is some good news as far as the postal service is concerned, the losses are less than last year. In the three-month period ending June 30 of this year, the agency lost a mere $740 million compared to the same period last year when it registered a $5.2 billion, yes, $5.2 billion loss. So far, this fiscal year, the agency has registered a $3.9 billion loss, while in all of 2012, the loss was a staggering $16 billion. How many zeroes is that?

Everyday, six days a week—at least for now—the carrier delivers mail to the box, with the exception of communities like Lawrence and Muse in Cecil Township, where some residents must go to the actual post office building to retrieve their mail. In other, usually newer developments, a central unit is installed at the end of the street, where individual boxes, opened by a key, are located. That takes the convenience out of mail delivery.

For now, the proposed rate increase is just that, proposed. Any increase would need to receive approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Seems like year after year, the U.S. Postal Service raises the cost of a stamp. And, yes, even with the new rate, 49 cents is a real bargain to send a card or whatever, from Maine to Hawaii, or Alaska to Florida.

There are several reasons the agency is citing for the increase, such as contributions to pension plans, but it’s difficult to comprehend the staggering debt.

History records that Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General of Philadelphia in 1737. Too bad he isn’t around to sort out the current system.

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