Coming soon to everyone is another postage rate hike.
At this moment, I’m sure many are probably thinking, “We just had a postage hike,” and they’re right. The reason we’re getting this hike is because the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has the authority to raise rates every six months.
To be fair, USPS is an easy target to kick around, but they also bring about lot of issues to kick around. The service always says they are going broke, threatening to close post offices, especially in rural communities. In response, rural communities have a lot of emotion behind hearing their post office may shut down, since they are so important in those communities.
A number of years ago, labor unions encouraged Congress to pass a bill where USPS had to keep five years of retirement funds on hand. This broke USPS, since this sum of money was so huge and they couldn’t touch it.
Looking back, I believe the downfall of USPS was when unions got into the post office. Currently, I have heard there are six labor unions involved in USPS. This is too many, but it tells us the post office is big business, and we realize wherever there are unions, there is a lot of money.
A few years ago, USPS consolidated its regional post offices, which turned out to be a huge mess. A letter sent from Sundance to Gillette had to first go to Sioux Falls, S.D., and a letter sent from Big Piney to Pinedale had to go through Salt Lake City.
The service also extended the delivery time for newspapers and other mail, such as catalogues, to at least 10 days. There were some cattle sales where sale catalogues didn’t reach customers until after the sale. Common bills didn’t get paid on time and your Wyoming Livestock Roundup was a week or two late.
It all caused an uproar, especially in rural areas.
The Roundup asked our senator and representative at the time, Mike Enzi and Cynthia Lummis, for help. It finally got squared around.
Now, we need help keeping postal prices down.
With the new postal rate hike, a first-class stamp will rise to 68 cents from 66 cents. The last increase raised the price of a stamp from 60 cents to 63 cents, and if this hike is accepted, the price of a first-class stamp will increase 13 percent.
All other mail, such a newspapers and catalogues, will have an even larger raise, so it will all trickle down to the consumer.
I can’t imagine Benjamin Franklin ever envisioning USPS as it stands today. He would most likely tell us to take it away, give it to a private company, and in some areas, tell them to keep their government electric delivery vans.
I can honestly say I really don’t know what would be best for USPS, but as someone who pays the post office thousands of dollars every week, some changes are needed.
Unions are tough to go up against for help from Congress, but maybe a Congressional hearing would be a good start to get these issues out in the open. Here at the Roundup, we try to keep costs down for our readers – USPS should do the same.
Dennis Sun is the publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, a weekly agriculture newspaper available online and in print.