By Ron Daly
Well, my plan to invest my retirement in forever stamps is paying off nicely.
Yesterday, the United States Postal Service increased the price of a stamp to $0.46. The rest of the postage prices jumped, too, but it’s good news if you’ve got a bunch of forever stamps sitting around – they’re gaining value all the time.
The USPS has the right idea – postage prices should increase, considering the fact that letter volume’s dropping the way it is (heading to about 150 billion pieces of mail – seems like a lot, but that’s actually waaaay down). And, lest we forget, the post office is bleeding about $25 million every day according to the postmaster general. Some estimate they’ll be out of money and out of service in the next six months to a year. Will a penny more per mailed letter really save them? No, but it’s better than standing still.
Wait a minute, Mr. Postman…
In 2006, the USPS turned a $900 million dollar profit – yeah, you read that correctly. A profit. Hard to believe about an organization that in 2012 lost $16 billion. Where’s all that money going? Is the sharp drop-off in mail volume to blame? Is it all the Postal Service’s fault?
No, it isn’t. As with just about everything these days, you can blame Congress.
See, 2006 was the year Congress passed a law requiring the USPS to fund pensions through the next 75 years. I can tell you, this is unheard of in business – nobody’s shoring up that much cash to pay employee pensions. Nobody. It’s suspected that $11 billion of that $16 billion lost in 2012 went to pension funds and labor. Add to that the fact that mail volume’s dropping off and Congress has been inflexible on the idea of killing off Saturday delivery (a measure that could save the USPS about $2 billion annually), the USPS has been fighting with one hand tied behind its back.
So, what’s the solution?
There are plenty of people nationwide who are eager to see the post office saved for future generations. This Esquire article goes in-depth about the problem’s the USPS is facing and how a complete dissolution of the entire postal service would be a blow to the American way of life. There’sa new petition on WhiteHouse.gov to “save the postal service”. But how to save it?continue reading »