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First-class stamp prices to rise as of Jan. 26

Postal Problems
WASHINGTON (AP) - Mailing a letter is about to get a little more expensive.

Regulators on Tuesday approved a temporary price hike of 3 cents for a first-class stamp, bringing the charge to 49 cents a letter in an effort to help the Postal Service recover from severe mail decreases brought on after the 2008 economic downturn.

Many consumers won't feel the price increase immediately. Forever stamps, good for first-class postage whatever the rate, can be purchased at the lower price until the new rate is effective Jan. 26.

The higher rate will last no more than two years, allowing the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses. By a 2-1 vote, the independent Postal Regulatory Commission rejected a request to make the price hike permanent.

The higher cost "will last just long enough to recover the loss," Commission Chairman Ruth Y. Goldway said.

Bulk mail, periodicals and package service rates rise 6 percent, which is likely to draw significant consternation from the mail industry.

Its groups have opposed any price increase beyond the current 1.7 percent rate of inflation. They say charities using mass mailings and bookstores competing with online retailer Amazon will be among those who suffer. Greeting card companies also have criticized the plans.

The Postal Service is an independent agency that does not depend on tax money for its operations but is subject to congressional control. Under federal law, it can't raise prices more than the rate of inflation without approval from the commission.

The service says it lost $5 billion in the last fiscal year and has been trying to get Congress to pass legislation to help with its financial woes, including an end to Saturday mail delivery and reduced payments on retiree health benefits.

The figures through Sept. 30 were actually an improvement for the agency from a $15.9 billion loss in 2012.

The post office has struggled for years with declining mail volume as a result of growing Internet use and a 2006 congressional requirement that it make annual $5.6 billion payments to cover expected health care costs for future retirees. It has defaulted on three of those payments.

The regulators Tuesday stopped short of making the price increases permanent, saying the Postal Service had conflated losses it suffered as a result of Internet competition with business lost because of the Great Recession. They ordered the agency to develop a plan to phase out the higher rates once the lost revenue is recouped.

It's unclear if that would take rates for first-class postage back to 46 cents in 2016 or to a level somewhere in between that takes into account future inflation.

The new price of a postcard stamp, raised by a penny to 34 cents in November, also is effective next month.

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WwDynamo December 27 2013 at 12:50 AM

Because the US Postal service denied my injury claims I have no benefits to live on from all of the injuries carrying mail - I was young, did not understand the harassment, cussings out on my route were so I would hurt myself, so I would quit. They hated women making $ in this town and they hated black residents at that time 1988 to 1991 there was only one black family on my route - now the town is large suburban area with new homes....If I could have won a lawsuit I would be rich, but no, the uspo got "rich" abusing their employees now they say they need more $$$$???? They are corrupt.

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stan December 26 2013 at 6:52 PM

postal govenors make the rules for the usps and they don`t even work for the post office .we can`t be competitive with ups fed ex any of the independent carriers.that`s why you pay $20. to ship something with ups and if they don`t go there they pay the p.o. $10. to do it for them.let the post office fail due to bureaucracy. who will pay the unemployment benefits for some 800,000 employees. the feds need to find some other place to rob

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Alaras December 26 2013 at 6:51 PM

Congress could solve ALL of this by changing the law so that the Postal Service only has to fund retirement accounts to the same extent as all other federal entities. Right now, they must FULLY FUND ALL RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS, BECAUSE CONGRESS MADE THAT A REQUIREMENT BACK IN THE 90S. If this were reversed, the USPS would be able to do its job MUCH cheaper than it currently does, and much more efficiently. In fact, it would easily put UPS and FedEx out of business under those conditions, which is why they were implemented in the first place!

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fullmetljacket December 26 2013 at 6:50 PM

Have you noticed that when the price is raised, the volume goes down even further? The correlation of price and volume will never be exactly even, but dollars are what is taken to the bank, not margins. Hire a Marketing Director. UPS and FEDX seem to be doing ok.

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2 replies
CreativeKimberly fullmetljacket December 26 2013 at 7:10 PM

NOT! UPS screwed up!

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user349842 fullmetljacket December 26 2013 at 7:10 PM

UPS and FedEx don't have to go hat,n hand to a PRC to adjust their prices, they can do it instantly, and have to answer to no one!

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rayandkrisneu December 27 2013 at 1:35 AM

They claim this is only "temporary" & in 2 years it will go back to the original price. Does anyone believe that? And why they didn't just go to 50 cents instead of 49 cents is beyond me.

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2 replies
Chris and Robin rayandkrisneu December 27 2013 at 2:09 AM

to make you people happy

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Squeek rayandkrisneu December 27 2013 at 2:13 AM

Ask ANY AND ALL salesman...sell ANYTHING w/ 9's and not 0's and it sounds better!!
Would you pay $40,000 or $39,999.... its one buck but it looks better... THATS why.

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bob December 27 2013 at 1:35 AM

The higher rates will last no longer then 2 years? Really? How naive do you think we are? When was the last time prices were reduced?

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2 replies
Chris and Robin bob December 27 2013 at 2:08 AM

you're whining about pennies ??

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Squeek bob December 27 2013 at 2:11 AM

""How naive do you think we are? ""

ummmm obummer took a 2nd term (ahhhhemmm not counting the millions of bussed in and rigged ballots as a proven FOREIGNER!!)
What ever do you mean how 'naive we are' ??

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firstinchina December 27 2013 at 1:38 AM

Use the Postal Service and the content of your communication remains private.
Use the Internet and every 'Tom, Dick, and Harry' in The Government may read it.
The Post Office gives a level of privacy that the Internet cannot.
Privacy alone makes the Postal Service vital in a country that used to believe in private communications.
Further, if you think the USA Postal Service is expensive - WAKE UP! It is probably the cheapest to use in the developed world!

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1 reply
rdmeylan firstinchina December 27 2013 at 1:46 AM

hi stupid the other mail co make a profit only the postal office are loosing our money just fire few lazy postal worker seating in and be impolite the job are for life so ??? guet those fired.

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debnaert December 26 2013 at 6:46 PM

What a laugh......... blaming the 5 billion in debt to the 2008 financial slump! This has been going on for years! The GOVERNMENT run Federal UNPS is in trouble because of HUGE costs to RETIREMENTS! Just some more lies from the government folks! Computers have put the PO in the dumps....... NOT the 2008 financial slump. The government couldn't RUN the Girl Scouts!

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1 reply
user349842 debnaert December 26 2013 at 6:56 PM

What huge retirements are you refering to? Would it suprise you to learn that the postal service doesn't pay retirees their retirement? The PO and the employees pay into a retiremend fund administered by The Office of Personnel Management! So much for your republican rant!

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sun1045 December 26 2013 at 6:44 PM

Can you imagine the USPS ever reducing the rates back after they recoup the 2.8 billion and why just admit the continual rate increases are to keep up with the unions and union pensions...

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2 replies
user349842 sun1045 December 26 2013 at 6:59 PM

Oh ok. so being taxed by congress an extra 5 billion a year doesn't mean anything, right?

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lawayne sun1045 December 26 2013 at 7:05 PM

We don't get a union pension.....duh....know the facts before you make a stupid statement

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1 reply
luvhairymen2 lawayne December 26 2013 at 7:51 PM

You are like a broken record...Sounds like just the kind of employee who will believe any malarkey dished out by the unions as long as it makes you more money for doing less of a job, and you would be proud of that!

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spike December 27 2013 at 1:44 AM

It is still a good deal.I think the Postal service is wonderful.Thanks guys.

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