Postal Rates Grow Faster Than Inflation
January 18, 2000
The U.S. Postal Service has announced that a first-class stamp will likely go up by a penny -- to 34 cents -- before the end of this year. While that may not seem like much, it will gather in another $1 billion for the organization.
As every American knows, postal rates have a habit of going up every several years.
- If mail costs had risen just at the rate of inflation since 1960, a first class stamp would cost about 26 cents.
- Since 1960, when a stamp cost only 4 cents, there have been 12 rate increases.
- And those who can remember when mail was delivered twice a day can attest that service has suffered.
- Experts estimate that the U.S. Postal Service monopoly costs American consumers between $5 billion and $10 billion a year -- as a result of higher costs and slower service.
Laws called the Private Express Statutes declare that no private entity is allowed to deliver a package or envelope for less than $3 or twice the cost of a first class letter.
Critics have long urged that these laws be abolished -- arguing that private alternatives such as Federal Express and UPS already exist, not to mention e-mail. Abolishing the U.S. Postal Service either by fiat or competition, they say, could not help but improve delivery services at lower costs.
Source: Stephen Moore (Cato Institute), "Cancel Snail Mail?" Washington Times, January 18, 2000.
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