Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Postal Rates to Increase?

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) yesterday recommended that the cost of a first-class stamp (the stamp we put on our bills and birthday cards) rise to 41 cents, a 2 cent increase. They also recommended the introduction of a forever stamp, that would work even when the cost of a stamp increased.

Want to read the documents related to this decision? Check them out on the PRC's web site. In addition to the 502-page opinion, you can also find a 34-page summary for the press.

Who is the PRC? It is an independent regulatory agency made up of five commissioners. This group makes recommendations on new domestic mail rates, fees and mail classifications. The Board of Governors for the U.S. Post Office generally follows these recommendations. According to the Washington Post article "Postal Commission Favors Selling Stamp That Locks In Current Rate" the last time they deviated from the recommendations was in 1980.

Want to know the historical cost of mailing a letter? Check out this letter to Thomas Jefferson in March of 1792 from Thomas Pickering of the Post Office (from the Thomas Jefferson collection at American Memory). In this letter he recommends against carrying the mail 100 miles a day, due to the increased cost.

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