Stamp Price Increase: 50-Cents for 1st Class, USPS Loses $3.3 B in Q4 2011, New 5-Year Plan Presented

on February 17 2012 6:26 PM
A woman mails envelopes at the James A Farley Post U.S. office in New York.
A woman mails envelopes at the James A Farley Post U.S. office in New York. Reuters

The U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of $3.3 billion in the final quarter of 2011--this despite a typical holiday boom during those months. The service has already borrowed $12.9 billion from the Treasury. They've been floating several ideas to solve the dilemma.

Thursday the USPS presented Congress with a five-year proposal called the Plan for Profitability.

The plan includes a provision to raise the price of a first-class stamp to 50 cents. It was last raised to 45 cents in late January, and tacking on the extra nickel could lead to $1 billion a year in revenues.

It also calls for cutting home delivery down to just five days a week, meaning that your local mail carrier may get the entire weekend off. This notion is supported by President Obama, but generally opposed by members of Congress.

The USPS would also like to see its workforce decrease by 155,000 over the next four years, mostly by encouraging timely retirement for all those who are eligible.

Other ideas include cutting down on specialty services like next-day delivery, adopting a cheaper system for employee health benefits, and implementing price hikes for a wide range of services and products.

Opponents argue that it is not feasible for any business to raise prices while slashing offerings. But both sides admit that the situation, as it stands, is dire.

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