What Is The Fair Price Of A Postage Stamp?

Tyler Durden's picture

Now that the USPS is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy every day, there are those who say the post office is simply not charging enough for its services. On the other hand, there are those who say no matter what the USPS charges it would always, being a government institution, immediately drown out any revenue increase with a more than commensurate surge in headcount (i.e., expenses) that offset any increase in postage stamp prices, and drown out any possibility for it to stay cash neutral (being non-profit), forget turning a profit. So at the end of the day the age old question arises: should the USPS merely keep hiking prices, or should it do what the US government should have done long ago and cut overhead across the board. Because as the chart below shows, while the nominal surge in stamp prices is more than obvious, it has managed quite successfully to stay indexed with inflation. In which case the question becomes: what would Americans be willing to pay for a stamp?

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Dr. Gonzo's picture

Don't care. I bought 4 stamps this year and only used 2. 

trav7777's picture

A stamp should cost whatever it takes to employ tons of black people

Schmuck Raker's picture

Quite the self-pitying type aren't you Trav.

SilverIsKing's picture

$0.44 is the best deal in America. You can drop a letter in a box anywhere in the country and within a few days it will be hand delivered to the exact place you want...all for $0.44.

They should be charging $5 for this service.

BigJim's picture

I suggest that anyone who thinks that mail services are best kept a government monopoly, research the life of Lysander Spooner.

i-dog's picture

Exactly. Why the fuck is the government in the business of carrying letters??????

Is nobody else capable of doing it?

philipat's picture

Conversely, the USPS SHOULD have been the leading courier company. It had the advantage of all the infrastructure already in place and could have leveraged it to become the lowest cost provider. Just another example of the lack of enterprise in the Government sector and another reminder of how fucking useless Government is.

Ron Paul?

berlinjames02's picture

If the USPS goes away, will Kevin Costner still deliver mail in the post-apoloclyptic world??

Now that's something to think about!

TheSilverJournal's picture

We'll find out the answer to "how much should a stamp be" as soon as the USPS disappears.


illyia's picture

Whatever it costs.

We shall see what it costs soon.

AldousHuxley's picture

In the age of email and internet, why do you need stamps (government's tax on communication of information so that dumbasses can have a lifelong employment putting pieces of paper spam in boxes)?



UP Forester's picture

Can't send herbal remedies through e-mail....

A Nanny Moose's picture

Or snail mail. They often come UPS. FedEx if you are in a hurry. FedEx Custom Critical if you just gotta have it yesterday.

flacon's picture

I worked for the Corzine New Jersey State Government once. They use FedEx and REFUSE to use USPS. Same goes for Federal government - same in Canada too. Nobody wants to use government postal services. DHL, UPS, FedEx, Purolator, anything BUT Canada Post/USPS. 



batterycharged's picture

Funny story, DHL used nothing but the USPS.

In remote areas, UPS, Fed Ex and Airborne default to using the USPS.

All you asswipes won't be laughing when your Fed Ex goes up because they can't count on the subsidized USPS to carry them.

Or better yet, you just won't get mail at all.


AldousHuxley's picture

why subsidize people with huge Mcmansions living in remote areas with money from people living in tiny city condos?



Bendromeda Strain's picture

The other end of town is trailers, what about them? Means testing for subsidized correspondence? It's the "school taxes for childless people" argument.

YBNguy's picture

It didnt help that the congress critters raided their piggy bank for other needs intending to 'pay it back'...


Dr. Paul 2012!

batterycharged's picture


You realize that the USPS, unlike any other carrier, is forced to send postage to every shithole in the USofA? RIght?

Like I say below. Many of the other companies use the USPS to ship where they have no business.

You people are like the folks that slam Amtrak for not making a profit, then totally ignore all the massive subsidies for airports and highways.

The USPS served a purpose, MAIL TO EVERYWHERE at the same price. That in itself is a guarantee to failure.

rocketroj's picture

Clearly this is just one more Health Care like solution.  The only problem with the USPS is competition.  If Obama controlled all the mail it would be far better and cheaper for all.  First the USPS needs to take over FEDX and UPS.  Next all those email servers need to come under the direct control of the USPS followed by texting and twitter just to name a few.

By charging the over wealthy 1% for each email, text, twit, ...  they send we can provide free email service for the other 99%.  The email charge will be a small fraction of $0.44 it costs to send First Class Mail.  

FedX and UPS have been plotting to drive our poor USPS out of business for years.  Then along comes email, texting, twitter, ... completely uncontrolled and regulated by the only one looking out for our interests, our US Gov't.  What is it going to take to stop this attack on the USPS. 

akak's picture

Careful!  Some of the Obamaistas and poorly educated sheep (see neighboring thread) will undoubtedly take all this as a serious analysis and policy proposal.

"Chain Letters We Can Believe In!"

Elwood P Suggins's picture

Please.  ANY Obamanista IS a poorly educated sheep.

Moon Pie's picture

There are two reasons why the US Post is screwed up.

1.  Starting in the late 60's, direct mail marketing (catalogs, subscriptions, credit card offers) starting taking off.  From then until the late '90's, they were able to keep rates low AND BLOAT their workforce, union, etc.  When AOL and email appeared, they were fooked, but didn't know it yet.  The icing on the cake was the mortgage and credit card companies, who were making SO much fookin money, they didn't care about postage....they'd have paid $1.oo a stamp.  But then in good 'ol 2008, the TWO LARGEST VOLUME MAILERS by category...didn't cut back...they WENT AWAY altogether.  Meanwhile, the US Post is now over employed and over unionized/contractized and they are fooked.  Blame the TBTF's, AOL, Yahoo, Google in that order. 

2.  The US Post is a necessary function the US Corp.  The whole legal system goes to shit if the US Post closes down or is privatized.  They'll stay open, and we'll pay for it.  Bet on that.  How else are they going to continue with their Star Chambers and Kangaroo courts?

On the pure biz tip, the USPS should and could raise individual postage ($.60-.65 cents?), but keep the rates low, or even lower them for commercial mailers (encourage commercial mail) AND do some "getting rid of the dead wood" and re-negotiate union contracts.  

Naw, that's too easy.


duo's picture

If postage went up to $0.80 or $1, would I still get as many credit card offers?  They average 4 a day, plus some charity asking for money (2 a day on average), and every 4 days or so I would get a bill or magazine or something I would actually open.

AldousHuxley's picture



Just boycott USPS and use email, online billing

Goldmund's picture

Make it 50 dollars and maybe my box wouldn't fill up with crap that I have to empty and throw away once a week.

Taint Boil's picture

95% of what I receive goes into the trash without me opening it. I did consider saving everything to see how much I get and what the BTU value is for all the junk that comes in.

youngman's picture

yes they have it backwards..junk mail should cost more than a first class letter...I travel alot and when I come back home I have two boxes of junk...seriously some companies send me 3 catalogs a week...what a waste...

General Decline's picture

That's exactly what I do with my junkmail.  Burn it for heat.  Works great when you supplement it with a few pieces of dry, red oak.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

You're not the only one. Hey, free fuel is free fuel.


IQ 101's picture

Possibly, but i have heard of mail being returned as undeliverable if the carrier has to get out of the jeep,(Rural and recently).

UP Forester's picture

If you don't shovel the snow in front of your snow-plow-target, they give you a "Nasty-Gram," then start holding it at the old-folks home (post office), then they return-to-sender....

AldoHux_IV's picture

I asked a postal service employee why prices increase very infrequently to which she responded it had to do with their fuel costs which basically means without all the market manipulation and central planning control of commodity prices oil should be about $44/bbl.

Just goes to show the magic of central banking and the corporations they seek to maintain full employment and price stability for.

e2thex's picture

I have a problem if you wanna live in a fuckin' two class society.  The post office in recent times didn't really exist to deliver the mail as much as to create a middle class.  How many of you know postal workers? The ones I know never graduated college but their high salaries, yes high salaries for sorting fucking mail, payed for their kids to go to college.  In Central American countries you join the army to escape poverty. Here you either go into the military, become a fireman or policeman, or work for the post office. 

Conservatives now want to run everything lean and mean. They don't want to pay for anything. They  want the government out of their business until they get hit with a tornado, hurricane, forest fire, flood or cancer. Shit happens, but not to them.

Within five years people in Southern Texas will be moving out of their state because of the drought that's killing their livelihood.  I'm gonna be curious to see how many people here will want the government to come to their aid.  Right now it's okay to have the IMF give our money to Europe but fuck our postal workers. Let's install a few more SELF check-out machines in Home Depot and Costco.  Automate the whole supportive infrastructure and then complain how lazy workers are and how the Post Office is taking us for a 46 cent ride.




Taint Boil's picture

I get junk mail from AT&T trying sign me up to something almost every day, about 5-7 pieces every week. I figure they spend at least $100 a year on just me alone. Gee, wonder why your cell bill is so high ….. Anyways, AT&T must think the price for postage is OK, well actually the price is just passed on to the consumer so really not a problem.

General Decline's picture

It's fun to take the prepaid postage envelope you get with the credit card application and tuck a little note with the bumper sticker slogan of your choice printed on it.  Somebody, somewhere is going to open it and maybe, just maybe, your succinctly worded string of alpha-numeric chracters might provoke some new, independent thought in an otherwise closed mind. 

DormRoom's picture

 Guess what US agency has one of the most lucrative property portfolio in the US?  Yup.. The US Postal Service.  Under FDR, the postal service bought prime real estate across the country.  Real Estate US taxpayers own. They hold amazing property in Manhanttann & San Fran & the other big 20 cities.

you do know that the Republicans want the postal service to fail, so they can sell/auction off those prime real estate for pennies on the dollar to big business.

Oncea again, the fleecing of America goes on, and all yall cheer.   The Republicans will sell off these lands for pennies on the dollar, and most yall wont' give a damn.  No wonder, the 1% will always rule over yall.


SWRichmond's picture

Asset-stripping is the final phase.

As for the postal service, they should charge whatever they need to after firing all the useless drones and keeping the productive ones.

CrazyCooter's picture

I agree 100%.

The constitution provisions for a national mail system. Just because said system is run with gross inefficiencies (labor, benefits, whatever) doesn't mean we shouldn't have a mail system.

I would also submit having a national mail service is important to economic activity. I don't mean subsidizing junk mail (charge what needs to be charged), but real activity such as mailing letters, documents, bills, and that sort of thing. If this USPS were shut down, UPS/FedEx/etc would have carte blanche to charge what ever the hell wanted for postage.

Not everyone has a PC and can pay shit online...



i-dog's picture

I suspect that the only reason it was originally put in federal government hands was because it had to cross state lines. It is now an anachronism.

UP Forester's picture

If they sold all the POs, what would they do with the new-and-improved ones with the Criminal Investigative Offices in them?


TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Cooter, while I agree with you, I must point out that junk mail is not subsidized. Junk mail actually subsidizes first class mail.


Ignatius's picture

In 1961 a stamp cost  $0.04 with gold at $35.00/oz..  1/87,500th of an ounce of gold.

In 2011 a stamp costs $0.44 with gold at $1750.00/oz..  to 1/397,700th of an ounce of gold.


God, I think they're getting better at what they do.


logically possible's picture

If you were to include the "entire" cost of a postage stamp (taxes, retirement benifits and other future promises) what are we really paying for a postage stamp?

Thorny Xi's picture

The requirement that the USPS prefund 75 years of retirement, imposed by congress under Bush, is why it's going broke now.

goodrich4bk's picture

What an idiot. The answer to your question is 44 cents.  A mere mouse click would tell you that the USPS receives NO TAXPAYER money.  It pays for ALL of its expenses with stamp revenue.  And, as the other reply states, these expenses include the present value of 75 years of future pension obligations.

As for me, I use USPS priority and express mail services that cost less than half of the FedEx or UPS equivalent service.  Moreover, the USPS version goes to PO boxes and every address in America.  Not to the private services.

Finally, to the Tea Partiers who love to cite the Constitution as a limit to government power, the Constitution expressly created a government postal monopoly.

akak's picture

Finally, to the Tea Partiers who love to cite the Constitution as a limit to government power, the Constitution expressly created a government postal monopoly.

Actually, not quite true.  Yes, the US Constitution did create a postal service, but it did NOT specifically mandate that it be a monopoly.

AldousHuxley's picture

funny how republicans never go after highly competitive state assets but only the most monopolistic ones.


Monopoly is the game of the wealthy. Free market is game of the labor.

oddjob's picture

Rostenkowski(D) must be rolling in his grave.