8:47 AM PDT, May 29, 2021
Not only are gas prices nationwide increasing this summer, but now so will the cost of stamps. According to a press release, the U.S. Postal Service is raising rates from 55 cents to 58 cents for postcards, letters and various other mail services.
This is all part of the “Delivering For America” initiative Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy has put into place. “Delivering For America” is a 10-year plan that aims to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence.
“For the past 14 years, the Postal Service has had limited pricing authority to respond to changing market realities,” DeJoy said in a statement. “As part of our 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence, the Postal Service and the Board of Governors are committed to judiciously implementing a rational pricing approach that helps enable us to remain viable and competitive and offer reliable postal services that are among the most affordable in the world.”
Mail volume has steadily declined over the years, but the proposed price changes are expected to offset declining revenue, the statement said. “In the past 10 years, mail volume has declined by 46 billion pieces, or 28 percent, and is continuing to decline. Over the same period, First-Class Mail volume has dropped 32 percent, and single-piece First-Class Mail volume — including letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 47 percent.”
There are some critics, however, who that think this approach could do more harm than good. Paul Steidler, a senior fellow with the Lexington Institute and an expert on the USPS, told CBS News that this price increase comes at a time when on-time delivery rates have worsened. Just in the first three months of 2021 alone, one in five pieces of mail going to households and businesses in the U.S. arrived late.
“People are willing to pay more for mail but want a guarantee, or at least an assurance, that it will be delivered on time,” he said. He added, “To come out and say you’re going to ask for close to a 7% hike in that atmosphere, and at a time when there is fragility in the economy, that is, I think, going to do more harm than good.”