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‘Stamping’ mad about increase

Next year will bring higher prices at the post office. Anyone who didn’t see this coming hasn’t been paying attention, but it’s sure to make consumers “stamping” mad.

It makes sense that the advent of email and instant messaging apps would have a deleterious effect on the postal service.

Between 2001 and 2016, correspondence mail between households dropped by more than 60 percent, according to a study by the USPS Inspector General.

During the same period, changes in the way the postal service funds pensions and new requirements passed in the Bush administration have had a significant effect on the service’s finances.

Now with the coronavirus pandemic, the Postmaster General anticipates a $13 billion shortfall, projecting the USPS will run out of money in 2024 without significant regulatory changes from Congress.

Despite this, the proposed increases are negligible and likely won’t be noticed by the ordinary consumer. The cost of Forever Stamps is unchanged, and the rate hike doesn’t come into play until additional ounces are involved.

Even then the hike is 1.8 percent for first-class mail, and 1.5 percent for other categories.

For many Americans, even a small increase is an aggravation, particularly considering the wage stagnation suffered by many U.S. workers.

Still, the U.S. postal service remains a bargain compared to postal services in the rest of the industrialized world.

For those looking to beat the system, here’s a tip: Buy additional Forever Stamps this year before the rate increases take effect next year.

Eventually, the cost of those will likely increase, too.

The U.S. Postal Service has filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission that it intends to raise rates in the coming year.

* Guest editorial from the Opelika-Auburn News in Opelika, Ala.

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