U is for United States Postal Service

The price of a first-class Forever stamp is going up from 50 cents to 55 cents on January 27, 2019.

United States Postal ServiceFor fun, I was reading the Fiscal Year 2018 Integrated Financial Plan for the United States Postal Service. Because of all sorts of reasons, the Postal Services is currently operating in the red.

One of those factors is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, signed by President George W. Bush. “Up until 2006, the USPS funded [pension] obligations on a pay-as-you-go-basis… But the PAEA required the Postal Service to calculate all of its likely pension costs over the next 75 years, and then sock away enough money between 2007 and 2016 to cover most of them.”

In any case, the United States Postal Service announced changes for starting January 27, 2019. “The new prices will include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 50 cents to 55 cents. The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced to 15 cents [from 21 cents], so a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.”

One of the recent innovations of the USPS is Informed Delivery. “Digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon! Informed Delivery allows you to view greyscale images of the exterior, address side of letter-sized mailpieces and track packages in one convenient location.” I check it every day by email, except Sunday, and it works pretty well.

Arthur, that guy who was born in the US, but is now a New Zealand expat, notes that Kiwi postal delivery changed from six days a week to only three. A flyer he received read, “As New Zealanders do more online, they’re sending fewer letters and more emails. Today our Posties deliver half the number of letters they used to.”

He thinks the US will eventually follow that model. I’m not so sure. I get a lot of mail, still, especially before local elections.

For ABC Wednesday