BREAKING NEWS: Homeowner Receives A Piece of First Class Mail!
This pile represents mail delivered to me over the past few days. Look carefully and tell me what you notice. See it? Yes, that’s it. Right in the middle of the photo. You got it, ONE first class letter, a notice from Marshall Oil that I am due for my annual furnace cleaning. Of the pile, it was the ONLY piece actually addressed to me, not Local Occupant or Resident, or catalogs, some still addressed to the previous homeowner although a dozen years have passed since we bought this home. Add to the junk mail that my children use this address for their boarding school and college mailings and assorted other things they’d rather go to mom, our mailbox is quite the repository for all things recyclable!
Honestly, I think I could go away for two weeks, not have the mail held at the Post Office, and come home to find the mailbox not even half full.
I don’t subscribe to any more hard copy magazines, preferring the online versions now.
A huge portion of my bills are in an electronic format.
No more bulky bank statements with a mound of cancelled checks inside.
And who writes letters anymore? I do. My mother does. So there’s two people.
I got half as many Christmas cards this year than last. Is it that my age group stops sending or should I be worried about my breath?
Yet, the price of a stamp will increase at the end of this month.
From the USPS website: Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 27, 2013 include:
Letters (1oz.) — 1-cent increase to 46 cents
Letters additional ounces — unchanged at 20 cents
Letters to all international destinations (1oz.) — $1.10
Postcards — 1-cent increase to 33 cents
Maybe the price increase is all my fault. Well, a little blame goes to you too, for getting so much mail electronically.
One of my favorite PBS Shows is called Need to Know and one, back in 2011, was Five Things You Need to Know about the US Postal Service. I couldn’t find the episode video, but I did find an article encapsulating the problems relevant to this post the USPS faces.
1. The USPS is not technically “broke” — yet.
Operationally speaking, the USPS nets profits every year. The financial problem it faces now comes from a 2006 Congressional mandate that requires the agency to “pre-pay” into a fund that covers health care costs for future retired employees. Under the mandate, the USPS is required to make an annual $5.5 billion payment over ten years, through 2016. These “prepayments” are largely responsible for the USPS’s financial losses over the past four years and the threat of shutdown that looms ahead – take the retirement fund out of the equation, and the postal service would have actually netted $1 billion in profits over this period.
2. The postal service doesn’t rely on taxpayer funds.
Until 1971, mail delivery was handled by the Post Office Department, a Cabinet department in the federal government. Postal worker strikes prompted President Nixon to pass the Postal Reorganization Act in 1971, transforming it into the semi-independent agency we now know as the United States Postal Service. The USPS in its current form runs like a business, relies on postage for revenue and, for the most part, has not used taxpayer money since 1982, when postage stamps became “products” instead of forms of taxation. Taxpayer money is only used in some cases to pay for mailing voter materials to disabled and overseas Americans.
3. Junk mail sustains the system.
From 2006 to 2010, mail volume decreased by a hefty 20 percent.
But although the days of custom stationery, handwritten letters and scented envelopes may be long gone, the USPS has been increasingly reliant on junk mail — advertisements, catalogs and other unsolicited mailbox “gifts” — to keep the service afloat. BusinessWeek notes that revenue from junk mail increased by 7.1 percent in the last quarter of 2010 – although volume has not increased since.
But here’s the kicker, the reason I think it’s all my fault:
But the lower cost of direct mailings means that more junk mail is needed to circulate in the system to make up for the accelerating loss of first-class mail.
So let’s start a new campaign. I write you. You write me. I write you again.
You know, like 1963…when we did mail alot of letters, for 5 cents each!