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A Penny for Your Postage?

May 23, 2017

According to Fortune.com, the Post Office aims to raise stamp prices by at least a penny after the reported quarterly loss of $562 million this past quarter. Though that number may seem daunting and there are countless reports about the state of the Postal Service®, here are some of the facts.

The USPS® is not funded by taxpayer money, and reported strain on their bottom line is actually in large part a consequence of factors beyond its control. This includes strict legislation that requires them to fund 75 years’ worth of retiree health benefits in advance—a mandate unique to the Postal Service as neither the government nor private companies are required to do this. Plus, current federal law limits the price-setting ability of the Postal Service; it can’t raise stamp prices more than the rate of inflation without approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission. The commission will be meeting this fall to rule on the current system and the postal service is hoping to get the flexibility to raise the stamp price by a penny or more.

The demise of the Postal Service has been greatly exaggerated in recent years, but that fact is, it’s actually doing more business than was projected five years ago. Though first-class and marketing mail volume are down, the USPS reported double-digit growth in revenue as well as volume in the Shipping and Packages business for fiscal year 2016, and thanks to online retailers like Amazon, continues to show double-digit growth in the packages business into 2017.

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