Postal Service hopes to be self-sufficient? Good luck with that!

We hear a lot in media about the issue of inflation and the increasing cost of living. Through it all, it seems, the price of a gallon of gasoline tops the list. There seems to be no end to the increases, and those who are old enough can remember when gas was really cheap.

I found a family photo of an uncle standing in a gas station next to the pump showing the price: 17 cents a gallon! Prices like that make our eyes spin!

Something else makes my eyes spin – the changes in the cost of mailing a letter. In going through papers after the deaths of my parents, I came across a folder of varied postage my mother had saved: first-class stamps – 3 cents each! Penny stamps to be used for letters mailed unsealed. And, of course, the ever popular and well-remembered penny post cards!

Yes, they were a penny each! But those days are long gone.

Over time, I have written about the increases of postage. The feds do it every couple of years, and it appears this year it’s time again. In fact, it was reported this week that the price of a first-class, “Forever stamp” has just been increased from 60 cents to 63 cents each. That’s a 4.2% price jump. And keep in mind, that the price also went up in July, when first-class postage increased from 58 cents to 60 cents. Before the increase to 58 cents in 2021, those stamps cost 55 cents each.

This time, we didn’t get any major warning from the feds that the prices would increase, no ‘heads up.” Just a low-key announcement in the news of the changes; take it or leave it. As if we’ve ever had any choice in such matters.

I was interested to see buried in a news story that there was an announcement of this impending increase in October, but it was pretty low-key. I doubt anyone remembers it; I know I don’t.

Regardless, the reason for the increases, we are told, is because post office operating expenses and losses are increasing. The Postal Service says that the increases will continue as the organization needs the revenue to achieve the financial stability for its “Delivering for America 10 Year Plan.”

The goal of that is for the Service to be “self-sustaining and high-performing.”

Are you holding your breath? This, when delivery times get longer and the service has discontinued the possibility of tracking and insuring that your letter even gets to its destination.

That’s right. The P.O. has discontinued selling “Certificates of Mailing,” which provided evidence that your mail was actually presented to the post office for mailing.

I have used them for every piece of mail I’ve sent for years, ever since I went through a period when ALL of my outgoing mail never reached their destinations. It all just disappeared.

Now, this method of tracking my mail is gone. Thanks, Mr. Postman.

If you’re interested in what the P.O. is up against financially, consider that in 2021, the Postal Service projected losses totaling $160 billion over the next 10 years. It hopes to wipe that out!

Postal officials say that customers can expect prices to increase twice a year through at least 2024. There will be increases for all classes of mail, the amounts to be announced in January and June of each year and, at this point, there is no estimate of what the various increases might be.

Speaking of current increases, other rates, in addition to first-class postage, have been increased.

The price of 1-ounce metered mail has gone to 60 cents from 57 cents.

Domestic postcards increased to 48 cents from 44 cents each.

If you want to send a 1-ounce letter overseas, it will now cost you $1.45, increased from $1.40.

Keep in mind, these are the January increases. There will be others in June, as the agency has promised. What they will be remains to be seen.

One thing for which I’m grateful is that several years ago, I bought a pile of forever stamps – after they first came out. I don’t recall what I paid for them, but I know it was substantially lower than the price today. Fortunately, I have enough to last me for quite a while, so I’m not worried about increases, except for packages! So there is a little light at the end of that tunnel!

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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