Why a stamp should cost a buck
The Postal Service badly needs more revenue, and when you think about it, the 44 cents you're paying now is an incredible bargain for what you get.
This post comes from John B. Saul of MSN Money.
Here's how we can all pitch in to save the U.S. Postal Service: Pay $1 for a first-class stamp.
Sure, that's going to cost the average U.S. household about $80 more a year to mail its 2.8 letters a week, but think of it like football on campus: That muscled-up activity brings in the most money and supports volleyball, water polo and other sports that don't fill stadiums. First-class mail plays the biggest financial role in making it possible for the Postal Service to reach every address in the nation -- 150 million residences, businesses and post office boxes.
A buck a stamp might not be a bargain for mailing letters across town, but if you're in the Lower 48 sending happy birthday wishes to an oil-worker friend in Barrow, Alaska? You can't beat it -- and some argue that the post office should charge according to the distance the mail will travel.
We could avoid that if we all just ponied up $1 to mail a first-class letter. It would still spread out the actual costs of mail delivery and would get the post office out of the $9 billion deficit hole it sees up ahead.
Plus, right now the Postal Service is giving away the store compared with other nations. What cost 44 cents in the U.S. costs 60 cents to mail in Australia, 59 cents in Canada and 70 cents in Great Britain -- where there's no place 3,000 miles away.
Besides, what company would promise to take your envelope and fly it across the country and take it to the right person for a mere 44 cents?
So what does the post office think of the idea?
Raising the cost of a first-class stamp by a penny once brought in an additional $1 billion in revenue each year for the Postal Service, said Ernie Swanson, communications program specialist for the USPS Seattle District. Under that formula, $1 stamps would pour $56 billion into the post office's annual revenue stream of more than $67 billion.
But that old formula is broken. Now when the price of a stamp goes up, more people turn to email, other delivery services and online bill paying.
"A one-dollar stamp might have the opposite effect," says Sue Brennan, national spokeswoman for the Postal Service, driving consumers away and actually decreasing revenue.
Use of first-class mail has been declining for years: down 25% in five years and nearly 50% in the past 10. That trend (.pdf file) is expected to continue, even without a $1 stamp.
Let's say enough people realized what a bargain even a $1 stamp would be and decided to stick with the post office, bringing in half of that former billion dollars for each penny increase. That would still bring in more than $25 billion.
Once again, problem solved.
But there's another hitch in getting a $1 stamp: By law, the post office can only raise the price of a first-class stamp by the rate of inflation, which has been historically low the past few years. The Postal Service did file for a 2-cent "exigent rate increase" last year, an emergency measure that was turned down by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The Postal Service appealed, but on Tuesday the commission told it to concentrate instead on cutting costs, which is in keeping with the latest post office plans: layoffs, reductions in processing facilities and slower mail delivery to save $3 billion. Post continues after video.
What the post office really wants is more flexibility. For instance, that would make it easier for the post office to do away with Saturday delivery, which now takes an act of Congress.
There's lots of support for that. "If the Postal Service is supposed to survive on its own, Congress must give it more true independence," a Los Angeles Times editorial said. "That means allowing postal managers to decide how many days a week to deliver, to set the rates and to look for innovative ventures such as Internet services that might redefine its mission for the next century."
Here's another idea.
This week the Postal Service dedicated its fourth semi-postal stamp, which sells for 55 cents -- 11 cents more than a first-class stamp -- and $11 for a sheet of 20.
Semi-postal stamps, authorized under a 2010 law, raise money for selected causes. The extra money from the "Save Vanishing Species" stamps goes to help save tigers (this week's stamp shows an Amur tiger cub), African and Asian elephants, rhinos, great apes and marine turtles. The net proceeds from the stamps go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Fund.
How about a semi-postal stamp to save the Postal Service?
More on MSN Money:
I use to work for the USPS for 26 years, so here is an insider point of view with bold changes. Stop the waste and corruption first. Here are my ideas.
1) Deliver only 3 days a week MON, WED and FRI
2) Get rid of dead beat employee who cheat the system with false disability claims or people who commit fraud, and employee who are lazy. Honest day of pay for honest work
3) Get rid of the union who protects these dead beat employees who commit fraud and have false disability claims.
4) Stop Over Time pay(time and a half), V-Time pay(double time), Sunday pay( plus 10% of your pay), Night difference( plus 10% of your pay) and working on Holidays( double your pay). USPS does not have the volume of mail to justify the labor force to stand around and do nothing.
5) Stop buying multi million dollar sorting machines that don't work or go obsolete as soon as the machines are installed
6) Have only two shifts and not three. Again no mail volume to justify extra shifts.
7) Stop sending 53' truck out only half full. You are paying to ship air.
8) Stop calling for over time when there is no mail, This is only done to justify budget dollars for the following year.
The Post Office is the best option going for small businesses and the everyday consumer (even many large companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Walmart and Ebay). Compare prices of FedEx and UPS to the Post Office. Their prices are ridculous. I purchase 2 CD's online the other day. The options were to pay $4 to have them delivered by the Post Office or $8.50 to have them delivered by UPS. Same delivery time. More than double the cost !! If you think prices in the stores and online are expensive now, just wait !!! If you reduce the competition of the Post Office by eliminating them, FedEX and UPS will be able to charge anything they want. Everyone get ready for even higher prices on everything we purchase every day !!! Once again, who will be the losers in all of this - us the consumers.
Sure, I'll pay $1.00 for first class postage just as soon as they eliminate bulk mail which is SUBSIDIZED by first class postage. Why should anyone be able to mass mail UNWANTED "OFFERS" for credit cards and other "junk" at reduced rates?
Make the mailing costs identical for every piece of mail sent.
Bet you could raise even more revenue that way....or at least stop the dam credit card companies from "spamming" consumers with garbage!!
Don't any of you people actually read and find out the true cause of the post office problems. The government does NOT subsidize the post office. It is funded by the sale of stamps and postal products only. The reason there is a budget problem is because the post office is required by federal law to prefund its retiree programs 75 years into the future within 10 years. At the cost of almost 5.5 billion dollars a year, no other business in the world is forced to operate under these circumstances. With out this the post office would have been showing a profit each year of this recession.
Take the time to learn what you are talking about before you get on a public forum and spew your nonsense!
Here's an idea, I would pay a dollar to have USPS send all the junk mail back where it came from!
Lets look at this another way. Don't raise the cost to the public first!
We can reduce cost, save trees, and eliminate JUNK MAIL. The post office gives breaks to people who use bulk mail. WHY DO THAT?
Charge them the same for each "item" they mail. Then if the post office is still in the red, raise the cost of a stamp "EQUALLY" !
I just hate getting mail to me or current occupant, it just goes into the trash, and raises my trash collection bill, and fills in the dumps faster.
I dont understand why people is so against the post office.. I understand that more and more people are paying bills online BUT you can believe me that in the near future these places that you are paying your bill to will start charging you and it will be more then 44cents..i have some already charge more then 3 dollars just to pay your bill..i will use my usps..its a great deal
first clean up the pension system which pays more to a retiree than when he was working.
second close down all post offices that are with in 10 miles of one another .
third one delivery per day not two for businesses.
fourth three type of service for domestic addresses first class, priority & express
no more discounts for circulars, charities mass mailers or governments.
business wants the service they will pay like credit card companies and utilities.
fifth cancel saturday deliveries.
in urban ares their are three post offices within 1 square mile.
start runing it like a real business. in certain areas out source
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Tired of your wallet taking a beating at the grocery store? Here are some creative ways to save big on food costs.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'