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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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Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:45 | 1949013 Dr. Gonzo
Dr. Gonzo's picture

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

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:50 | 1949025 trav7777
trav7777's picture

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

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:55 | 1949044 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

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

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:07 | 1949091 SilverIsKing
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.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:56 | 1949286 BigJim
BigJim's picture

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

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:14 | 1949341 i-dog
i-dog's picture

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

Is nobody else capable of doing it?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:13 | 1949548 philipat
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?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:38 | 1949622 berlinjames02
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!

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:42 | 1949637 TheSilverJournal
TheSilverJournal's picture

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


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:59 | 1949691 illyia
illyia's picture

Whatever it costs.

We shall see what it costs soon.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:21 | 1949740 AldousHuxley
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)?



Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:29 | 1949760 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

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

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:38 | 1949775 A Nanny Moose
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 01:43 | 1949929 flacon
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. 



Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:46 | 1950025 batterycharged
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.


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 06:13 | 1950241 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

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



Tue, 12/06/2011 - 07:26 | 1950275 Bendromeda Strain
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:33 | 1949764 YBNguy
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!

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:51 | 1950036 batterycharged
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.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:48 | 1949657 rocketroj
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. 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:52 | 1949670 akak
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!"

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 10:28 | 1950668 Elwood P Suggins
Elwood P Suggins's picture

Please.  ANY Obamanista IS a poorly educated sheep.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:30 | 1949600 Moon Pie
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.


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:36 | 1949617 duo
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:27 | 1949754 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture


Just boycott USPS and use email, online billing

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:42 | 1949634 Goldmund
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 07:30 | 1950283 Taint Boil
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 08:14 | 1950315 youngman
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...

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:01 | 1950751 General Decline
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:23 | 1950819 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

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


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:01 | 1949696 IQ 101
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).

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:33 | 1949766 UP Forester
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....

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:52 | 1949808 AldoHux_IV
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 01:28 | 1949913 e2thex
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.




Tue, 12/06/2011 - 07:22 | 1950279 Taint Boil
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:11 | 1950791 General Decline
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. 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:02 | 1949067 DormRoom
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.


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:03 | 1949076 SWRichmond
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.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:50 | 1949264 CrazyCooter
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...



Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:21 | 1949364 i-dog
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:48 | 1949803 UP Forester
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?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:06 | 1949525 TheFourthStooge-ing
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.


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:51 | 1949269 Ignatius
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.


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:27 | 1949753 tekhneek
tekhneek's picture


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:35 | 1949769 logically possible
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?

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:08 | 1949965 Thorny Xi
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:44 | 1950021 goodrich4bk
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.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:54 | 1950039 akak
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.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:10 | 1949107 AldousHuxley
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.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:09 | 1949330 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Rostenkowski(D) must be rolling in his grave.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:28 | 1949145 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

Republicans want this agency to fail? This is completely assinine. If you accept that they want the postal system to fail then I can't wait to here how you would fix it. A failure of the postal system does no one any good. Republican capitalist's included. Expect the services and scale to change but the postal system needs to be supported for our economy to function. Take for instance Cyber monday. The day would not even exist without the current US postal system.

The reason the postal system is failing is because we no longer use it as much. Emails have pretty much eliminated the mailed letter or greeting card. Electronic advertising has changed the system wide use as well. Junk mail used to be a huge user of the US postal system.

Republicans believe it or not are not all about fleecing you. Besides you really haven't made a good case at all.


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:40 | 1949223 Woodyg
Woodyg's picture

Republicans in 2006 passed a law forcing the Postal Service to prefund 75 years of pensions - No other organization is forced to do this.

So they're paying for the pensns for people Not Even Born Yet!

It's called a Poison Pill -

The Post Office could Double the price of postage and still be 10x cheaper than Fed-Ex or UPS.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:14 | 1949338 willien1derland
willien1derland's picture

Thank you for the post - I have tried to educate myself regarding this issue & the Pension Funding issue appears to the most material financial issue that confronts the USPS - I have tried to find information related to this, however, this is the first I have seen the 75 year value to prefund pensions - Could you please share any additional information you may have on this issue OR any site that would be helpful in understanding this particular issue in greater detail? - Many thanks in advance

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:33 | 1949767 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

in private corps, you don't even have pre-funded pension.


convert USPS into 401k and pension problem solved.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:02 | 1949463 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

Republicans passed this law? George Bush was president and was dealing with a democratic controlled House of Representatives and republican controlled Senate. You're stretching the truth and you're out of your league. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 was passed with the good intentions of making sure pension plans stay funded properly for future retirees. Poison pills are usually put in place to prevent a company from being taken over. Hardly likely with regard to the post office. No other organization is forced to do this? Wrong. Not according to this legislation.

Jul 28, 2006: This bill passed in the House of Representatives by roll call vote. The totals were 279 Ayes, 131 Nays, 23 Present/Not Voting. Vote Details.
You are not tracking any senators or representatives. To see their votes here, look up a Member of Congress. Aug 3, 2006: This bill passed in the Senate by roll call vote. The totals were 93 Ayes, 5 Nays, 2 Present/Not Voting. Vote Details. Looks like alot of democrats voted for the bill in both the house and senate. In fact if the house democrats wanted to kill the bill they could have easily because they were the majority party in the house. Does the bill put the post office at a disadvantage. Yeah sure, but it was not a republican sinister plan. But hey don't let facts get in the way.
Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:31 | 1949604 willien1derland
willien1derland's picture

Thank you very much for the insight & information - greatly appreciated!

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:25 | 1949990 Woodyg
Woodyg's picture

Actually republicans did run both branches in 2006 according to wiki -

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 09:54 | 1950510 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

You are right and I was wrong in my thinking the house was controlled by democrats.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 10:53 | 1950732 Woodyg
Woodyg's picture

The poison pill was also used on Medicare..... Charge retail drugs prices - many times more expensive than most of those NIH subsudized drugs cost to produce or even for a 'fair' profit.

Believe it or not one can use the term 'poison pill' in regards to more than corporate governing structures.

Also remember that the republicans Massively FAILED to keep America safe - at the vey freaking least - on 9-11 even though they had Multiple warnings.

And then proceeeded to bankrupt the damn country over and over and over.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:21 | 1950812 GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Do Medicare's poison pills have to be approved/prescribed by the Obamacare Death Panels?


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 03:07 | 1950061 CaptFufflePants
CaptFufflePants's picture

How does a comment like yours get voted up Everybofy All? It is 100% WRONG


In 2006 the Republicans controlled the House of Represenative, The Senate, The White House and the Justice Department.


They controlled EVERYTHING!


God Damn I hate you revisionist thugs.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 09:44 | 1950508 Everybodys All ...
Everybodys All American's picture

You are right and I admit my error in thinking the democrats controlled the House of Reps. Albiet a very minor hold on the house majority they did hold the majority. I appoligize for my error. I still maintain the bill was passed with bipartisan support and with all good intentions for pension plans. Sorry again for the error. 

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:34 | 1950864 CaptFufflePants
CaptFufflePants's picture

I wil conceed that is was passed with bipartsin support.



Tue, 12/06/2011 - 11:44 | 1950890 Chrome Child
Chrome Child's picture

Darell Issa was the one who led the charge to kill the USPS via bathtub drowning.



Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:37 | 1949619 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

" ...prefund 75 years of pensions - No other organization is forced to do this."

Well, that's one pension in this country not horrendously underfunded.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:22 | 1949159 The Axe
The Axe's picture

Of course this is completely NOT true..The US Post office does not own this land.....Myself I own 4 Post Office sites   the US government signs a lease for this land..the lease is very fair..but not crazy I net a 10 % return  If the Post office went belly up..I would make a killing on my sites..which I have had over 30 years,,even in this fucked up stops in the middle of town... I wonder where you people come from ...with this FUCKED up info....We need a post office system... 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:56 | 1949289 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Thank you for sharing your real world experience.

The constitution provided for the USPS (or similar) system. Yes, the pensions and such need to be addressed and brought in line, but for all the NON-constitutional crap we shovel money at (which has negative value) this is an asinine discussion.

I get pretty pissed off when folks want to toss the USPS out the door. I am a software engineer people. I HATE online commerce because of the possible scale of abuse. I only do it when I don't have another choice. I still pay bills ... by writing a check. I often call my credit card company every six to nine months and tell them ... "I can't find my card, do I have crazy charges?" ... best way to get a new CC number so it doesn't sit in a database and get stolen. I also refuse to do ETF transactions with a debit card; I visit an ATM 4 times a month and I pay cash for everything.

Please stop and think before you decide to shutdown the USPS. It needs leadership and fixing, like pretty much everything else in this country.



Tue, 12/06/2011 - 06:09 | 1950237 valley chick
valley chick's picture

Agreed Cooter!!  Here is a good article regarding the post office.


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:01 | 1949302 Paladin en passant
Paladin en passant's picture

...I wonder where you people come from...

Axe, he gave it away with his name: DormRoom.  The children today, even with a batchelor's degree, are the most ignorant group of people, on average, of any generation since the dawn of man.  They're suckers for any misinformation their leftist professors, John Stewart or some lame-o website presents them.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:02 | 1949304 carguym14
carguym14's picture

I know of people out here in Iowa that lease to the P.O.-they make damn good money.

And being in podunk towns,when the P.O. moves out,they will have a hard time getting the kind of money from anyone else.

And speaking of podunk-do we need a P.O. in every little town??We have a bunch of towns around here of around 300 people-can you justify the expense of a P.O. and all the associated costs??Cutting locations would go a long way,as well as reducing delivery days.

This should have been taken care of as the amount of mail was declining,instead of waiting.Piss poor business planning.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:06 | 1949311 carguym14
carguym14's picture

double tap

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 06:46 | 1950263 valley chick
valley chick's picture

@The Axe--- alot of the post offices are rental and if you are a "landlord" you would be required to have the facility to their standards to rent.  I am also surprised of some of the misinformation here too.  There are many workers in the PO that have "college degrees".  And yes preference to veterans was given via test scores 5 points for veterans and 10 points for disabled vets for admission.  The post office is in the transportation business picking letter up from point A and delivering to point B.  Once you leave the immediate area of delivery it becomes transportation via air.  So you got your bang your few cents in mailing a letter.  It was always common knowledge that mailing the letter was not cost effective.  Bulk mailings aka junk mail was the backbone to the post office.  Alot of that was transported via truck and train.  As for the employees alot of them are hard workers.  Requirements of lifting 70 pound sacks, working hours that suck...either mandatory overtime or 3 way split shifts.  Takes years to get decent hours so no it is not paradise.  Like to see how many people would actually work in such conditions.  As for the retirement in the 1980's they went with the FERS program where the bulk load of your retirement goes to social security and the employee can opt to put additional money into investment accounts.  In the spring of 2011 the gov raided one of the accounts the G fund.  Do not know if the money has been put back. 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:19 | 1949352 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

The Postal Service bought those properties so long ago, in down town areas, and it wasn't PRIME then.   It was centrally located to make it convenient for everyone.  They will have to put the properties up for auction and the high bidder will get the properties. Not Republicans, nor Dems...anyone.  And they will make money.  You my friend are a bit slanted in your OPINION!

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:31 | 1949390 Dixie Rect
Dixie Rect's picture

DoucheRoom showing he is young and naive, still thinks there is a difference between Repubics and Damnocrats. Pelosi and Barney would just as quickly sell out to make a few million for their corporate donors as Boener or any Repub.. Wake the fuck up. Obummer and his Wall Street banking buddies who funded his billion dollar purchase of the WhiteHouse are drooling just as much at the chance to make a buck.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:56 | 1949485 oogs66
oogs66's picture

Great point. How much is the post office at grand central station worth?

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 01:40 | 1949926 Sheens Liver
Sheens Liver's picture

Yall? Really? Backward ass country fucks like dorm room should be worried about the 98% (those who wear shoes and don't marry their sisters and cousins) ruling over him. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats alike will continue their plunder.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:08 | 1949096 Teamtc321
Teamtc321's picture

Trav, I have some friend's that are black, they are some of the hardest working men I know. They are good people, fathers, rancher's, equipment operator's and just good guy's. 

There is really not much of a reason to stomp on black's, white's, brown's, europe, usa, china, muslim's, christan's, catholic's, etc. Fiat has been the wedge and I'm sure you are sharp enough to know that.

Enough said..........

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:44 | 1949236 trav7777
trav7777's picture

whatever does that have to do with what I said?

BTW, don't put a fucking apostrophe for PLURALS

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:16 | 1949344 akak
akak's picture

BTW, one is supposed to use a fucking capital letter at the start of every sentence --- and end every fucking sentence with a period.

More helpful advice brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:52 | 1949471 oddjob
oddjob's picture

Trav gets green. It was apostrophe misuse on a scale rarely seen.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:00 | 1949502 akak
akak's picture

It' certain'ly was'.

The rules for the use of apostrophes are so common-sensical and simple, I never fail to be amazed, and appalled, that so many post-third-graders have such a seemingly impossible time dealing with them.  But oh, that's right, they are rules --- can't have any of that in today's educational system!  That would hurt the little brats' self-esteem!

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 07:48 | 1950294 Taint Boil
Taint Boil's picture

A Grammer Nazi's worst's enemy's

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:11 | 1949112 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

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

And I dont -1 very lightly...except MDB of course.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:24 | 1949164 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

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

44 cents huh?... I'm trying to 'cost analyze' how much of that 'used' to feed a herd of ponies to take 5 days to deliver something versus nowadays where most of the cost is sucked up by affirmative action pensioneers to deliver the mail in the same timeframe...

Anybody got some charts on that?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:43 | 1949233 yabyum
yabyum's picture

Liberal sodomy...Dat you?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:49 | 1949245 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



The demographics of the postal service are overwhelmingly white.

Once again, you're just spewing your white-supremacy propaganda without the slighest regard for facts. 

You know, I'm beginning to think your father is black.  So much hatred toward your absent father (motherfucker never cared about me!").... so much hatred toward blacks.... could it be that you're mix breed, and you're mad as hell because of it?

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 23:30 | 1949599 johnu78
Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:49 | 1949022 Just Observing
Just Observing's picture

Also don't care.  Pay almost everything online now days, and the mail that comes to the house is mostly junk I could easily live without.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:06 | 1949069 Don Birnam
Don Birnam's picture

Ironic, that the USPS has just recently stated that it will seek to enhance revenue by increasing the amount of third-class bulk ( i.e., "junk" ) mail it accepts. Just what postal patrons want -- more Little Caesar's and Domino's circulars, while their first-class languishes in some postal sorting bin.

The road to insolvency is paved with bulk rate Family Dollar mailings.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:52 | 1949031 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

The biggest problem, according to my research, is junk mail being subsidized by everybody else.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:57 | 1949050 molecool
molecool's picture

So, let me get this right. Junk mail, which everyone hates, is dragging down regular delivery? Once again corporations externalize their true cost on the rest of us.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:01 | 1949070 Golden Boy
Golden Boy's picture

I see you've been tempted by the ZH dark side too, Mole.

Oh I see ...


Does Tyler know you've named your program in his honor?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:36 | 1949210 CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

Actually, junk mail subsidizes everything else! It must come to the PO sorted and bundled and machine readable. The PO loses money on hand written single letters.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:53 | 1949035 Fluffybunny
Fluffybunny's picture

Funny, the postal service in Finland is also closing a good chunk of their postal offices. Someone has to cut govt. expenditure to keep Greece afloat.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:56 | 1949036 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

In defense of the Post Office, imagine the amount of bitching and screaming from spoiled Boomers when they have to pay $1 for a stamp. Some of them would have to be tranquilized and carried out on a stretcher.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:59 | 1949059 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

There is no defense, or excuse, for the post office.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:50 | 1949251 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Without the USPS, Fedex and UPS would have a helluva time with those last mile deliveries.   Ain't no way you're getting a birthday card from Mom in Podunk, Alaska unless the USPS is alive.   Same for that package from   Lots of those Fedex and UPS planes are carrying USPS letters and packages.  It has become symbiotic over time and losing the USPS would be a big hit to the private carriers.   My last comment would be to agree with the consensus on removing the deadwood from the USPS employment roles.   The best thing Congress could do would be to mandate some hiring/firing/promotion guidelines.  BUT that would mean some riled up USPS union folk.  Congress ain't likely to shoot itself in the foot.  So, the problems are endemic and won't be changed until TSHTF.  Just like the national debt won't be fixed until they break the system completely.  Why does it take a crisis to get something done?   It's just politics as usual.   The problems aren't in the COMPONENTS of the system -- it's the SYSTEM itself.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:21 | 1949358 akak
akak's picture

How can you be so clearly knowledgeable and intelligent, yet at the same time can never refrain from knocking over my curbside garbage cans every Thursday night?  And stay the FUCK out of my attic already!



Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:36 | 1949397 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

'Tis the nature o' the beast.

Think about the "End the Fed!" folk in the same way.  If it just disappeared there would be disruptions and dislocations galore.   I'm all fer it, but the folks here who just say the USPS should just somehow disappear are not thinking past their own junk mail laden letter boxes hanging on the wall.   Narrow thinking will just result in chaos.   Not that I don't LIKE chaos, don't get me wrong.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:04 | 1949080 DosZap
DosZap's picture


 imagine the amount of bitching and screaming from spoiled Boomers when they have to pay $1 for a stamp. Some of them would have to be tranquilized and carried out on a stretcher.

Screw your dickwad.Your a mental midget.

How about doing what should have been done 50yrs ago?.Privatize the SOB,and get rid of the Fabulous bennies, and ins.

Run it like a regular company, and it will prosper.

Most there (carriers) work hard,inside is a WHOLE nuther game.

5 Windows 2 working, and 4 cutting up doing nothing.Except ignoring the line out the fukin door.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:12 | 1949116 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Charge fees for using public roads for Fedex, UPS, USPS, etc. Let's see how profitable enterprise they are.




Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:15 | 1949135 tmosley
tmosley's picture

They already do.  All commercial trucks pay special taxes based on the number of miles they drive.

Which is exactly the way to fund a private road network in this country.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:46 | 1949241 trav7777
trav7777's picture


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:48 | 1949238 Teamtc321
Teamtc321's picture

AldousHuxley, you will need to see the fee's charged by DOT and the road tax carrier's pay. It is outrageous, carrier's are ass hammered by more taxes than you can imagine. 


But, on a good note, < Sarc. Accorn got renamed, still has the same tax ID # and address, the Obama O is right back to funding them even though there funding was cut by congress.  

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:19 | 1949138 dwdollar
dwdollar's picture

Profanity aside, I agree that a private company would do it infinitely better. At the same time, it is ironic that two of the more useful government services (Post Office, NASA) are being gutted, while the real fucking money pits are growing exponentially without bound. It's fun to see the beast begin to eat itself.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:44 | 1949235 Howard_Beale
Howard_Beale's picture

Apparently you don't live in Canada, where it is private. Waiting on that special letter? You have an 80% chance of it actually making it.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:53 | 1949271 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

No kidding.   I sell a helluva lot of stuff on eBay and when the shipping address comes up CANADA I cringe.  I don't ship to Italy either...   When the job is to do something seemingly as simple as delivering an envelope to a house, the logistics can be horrendous!  That's why it takes so much complexity and cost to perform said task with little or no error factor.  

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:23 | 1949743 IQ 101
IQ 101's picture

Italy, China,H.K. No go zones for an E bayer.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 00:47 | 1949800 infinity8
infinity8's picture

I used to have to ship a lot of small packages internationally (mostly canada, netherlands, italy and various south american countries - and, not drugs). The fucking paperwork alone made my teeth itch no matter who the carrier. Now I work for myself mostly and am happy for overseas business but I always put the shipping on them as far as who, how/what do you want to pay, etc.

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 04:16 | 1950152 Howard_Beale
Howard_Beale's picture

hey RR..

The area of undeliverables in Toronto is about the size if a high school gym with one guy working it piece by piece. It's a complete joke. I think getting a letter across the country for a buck is a helluva deal. And the fact that it actually gets there is what is important.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:09 | 1949097 philipdybel
philipdybel's picture

"In MY day, we had to walk 2-1/2 miles in the snow to the Post Office downtown, to get a stamp for 2 pennies. But remember, back then I was making 8 cents an hour."

Maybe if (when) we go back to this wage ratio, everyone will be OK with it...

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:53 | 1949037 ghostfaceinvestah
ghostfaceinvestah's picture

Comparing the price of a stamp over time is the wrong way to look at it, since the USPS has never made money.  What is the private sector equivalent?  Say a 3 day document package using UPS?  That's the competition.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:55 | 1949046 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

I live for the day i can throw the fuckin mailbox away. I don't use stamps, all electronic.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:29 | 1949187 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

That's why nobody will ever remember you when you're gone...

The Egyptians built pyramids & other cultures carved messages & mosaics into & out of stone...

What a relief to know that no future civilizations will have anything to remember our pitiful culture by...

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:55 | 1949280 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

You don't get packages?   UPS delivers that, you say?   Ok.   Remove the USPS and you won't get half of what you order from

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:30 | 1949380 akak
akak's picture

In Alaska, at least, UPS is a complete and utter joke: "Unreliable Piss-poor Service".  NOBODY relies on them, or uses them when at all possible.  The Post Office is light-years ahead of them in reliability.

It is clearly no coincidence that UPS chose the color of shit to represent themselves.

Every time we would hear that commercial, "What can Brown do for you?", the stock answer from an Alaskan was always the same: "Not much!".

Tue, 12/06/2011 - 01:45 | 1949932 mt paul
mt paul's picture

fed ex

delivers to my door

interior alaska

from seattle

in 3 days...

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:57 | 1949049 SHEEPFUKKER

I would rather pay to have the USPS ponzi go away. 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:00 | 1949065 molecool
molecool's picture

Do you actually know what a Ponzi scheme is?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:42 | 1949230 CuriousPasserby
CuriousPasserby's picture

Do you know that Mr. Ponzi started his scheme by buying coupons from the PO that were good for a stamp in any country? He figured out which countries the amount was out of whack. (i.e buy a coupon for 3 cents, find a country where you get a stamp worth US 5 cents).Then he shipped them to someone in that country to exchange for stamps which were sold.

This worked for a while and he gave a good return to people who invested with him, but the PO changed the rules and he couldn't buy so many and you know the rest.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:59 | 1949294 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Postal Reply Coupons are still used today, and they are an active philatelic area.  Both the old ones and the newly issued ones are sought for collections.   It was an interesting idea that Ponzi had.   As you say, had they not changed the coupon rates he would have done okay.  And if he hadn't spent the "profits" on his lifestyle.  Just a steady little business would have served him well.  Greed took the upper hand.   Hmmm.  Where have we seen this story before?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:46 | 1949239 SHEEPFUKKER

You mean pouring more and more money into an institution that is insolvent at taxpayer expense against the will of the people? Ok, I guess I don't know what a ponzi is, sorry Moley. Please keep buying stamps then and enjoy having junk mail delivered to your home. Oh yea, and all those fat fed pensions? I hope those work out great for ya. peace. 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:57 | 1949052 GoodMorningMr.V...
GoodMorningMr.VanRumpoy...'s picture

USPS is going to be a money pit no matter what. All government bureaucracies  are. But the  whole thing may be on the chopping block this or next year.


Oddly enough, the USPS is actually one of the few explicitly Constitutional things about the current American government. Hence the reason it's facing the chopping block instead of the 5 undeclared wars, and the thousands of ABC soup government agencies, the U.S.'s own technocrats that have been "delegated" legislative power that is constitutionally reserved for congress, Executive power to enforce their "regulations" (laws) and judicial  powers to have "administrative hearing" (trials) on their laws. End-run-around Separation of Powers?

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:58 | 1949053 Jendrzejczyk
Jendrzejczyk's picture

Sadly, the Snailmailasaurus will soon be extinct.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:59 | 1949058 monopoly
monopoly's picture

And cut out Saturday deliveries. Now, today,not next spring. Does not take a Masters in economics to understand they are broke. We do not need junk mail on Saturday.

And wouldn't it be nice if we could have a "Do not mail" law like we have "Do not call". I update that every couple of years. Love it. 

Of course if we did that then the Post Office would be less than 1/2 its current size as it advises bulk mail is the bulk of its income. And they will do nothing till after the election. Do not want to upset voters by firing postal workers.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:10 | 1949110 hmmmstrange
hmmmstrange's picture

Cut out all but Saturday delivery. Then postal workers can get a monday-friday job.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:47 | 1949249 trav7777
trav7777's picture

USPS would WORK if it WASN'T an organization that HIRES PEOPLE FOR RACIST REASONS

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:03 | 1949293 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



I humbly disagree with the despicable gentleman from the trailer parks.

Black mail clerks - a minority of USPS workers - are NOT responsible for the rise in oil prices (huge expense for the USPS), nor are they responsible for the growth of the internet (primary competitor of the USPS).  And they aren't responsible for the MASSIVE drop in revenue caused by the real estate crash (far less credit card solicitations, advertisements and junk-mail compared to pre-2007)  Those were big revenue drivers for the USPS.

You're a freak, bro. (and your dad hates you)  

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 20:59 | 1949060 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

i am willing to have stamps go to $5..........i have still have a bunch of forever stamp rolls that i paid .40 cents for

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:01 | 1949073 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

As a disincentive to junk mail, which has to constitute the overwhelming majority of residential mail volume and likely has a net-negative environment impact, raise postage to $5 or $10 a stamp.  It is insane that one can fetch prison time for email SPAM yet dead tree, snail-mailers can legally, in fact it is being subsidized, send out hundreds of millions of junk mail a year.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:13 | 1949123 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Milton Waddams

Postage costs(stamped mail) is not the issue.

RAISE the price of BULK mail, TENFOLD, and the carriers save tons of fuel, and time, and sorting.And cut the shit out.


Cut ALL Saturday service, and Adjust pensions, and retirement packages, COL increases after leaving, and all the perks that MOST humans do not get.


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:19 | 1949151 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Or cut ALL service, and remove the prohibition against private entities delivering first class mail.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:01 | 1949074 Golden Boy
Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:03 | 1949077 realitybiter
realitybiter's picture

I would like some brainiac researcher to tell me what the carbon footprint is for junkmail.  Seems to me that it would be pretty squatchie.


Junk mail must be 90% of the weight or maybe even 95%....all at "bulk rate".  Most people probably just throw it in the recycling or trash.  So we end up driving paper around the Country so we can throw it away.  And they are worried about cow farts......


The whole system should be canned.  ...

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:16 | 1949140 philipdybel
philipdybel's picture

Valid point about paper -- but with our current fragile recovery, you must remember that companies like Dunder Mifflin are now half of our "New Service Economy".

Like their company motto says: "Limitless Paper For A Paperless World".

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:28 | 1949385 Tuco Benedicto ...
Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez's picture

"fragile recovery".  Ha, ha, ha!  Turn off CNBC and read more Zero Hedge!  What happened to all those "green shoots"?  They got shot down by reality.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:04 | 1949079 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

So the PO is the low cost leader when it comes to shipping parcels--and that could change if they wish--obviously Fed Ex and UPS would be overjoyed. The reason why the PO is going out of business is because the politicians and the retarded unions (yes that's plural--they have three and they all should de-certified immediately) have no interest in running it like a business. there is no retail in the retail--no coffee, no gift cards, no place to sit down and shoot the breeze. The American people love the Post Office and these clowns have completely destroyed it. Some of the PO's in this area are the most beautiful and historic buildings in town. Eh. "Yet another Atlas Shrugged moment."

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:50 | 1949258 trav7777
trav7777's picture

don't you people listen?

48% of the USPS's recent hires are minorities. They are NOT HIRING for competence, they are hiring for SKIN COLOR.

And they are OVERstaffed as a result of their DECISION to make themselves a JOBS program, fucking makework for lazy people! This is why it appears that when you go to a USPS, people aren't working!

They hire and promote people on account of their skin color! This is COMPLETE racism.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:14 | 1949342 Max Fischer
Max Fischer's picture



Your statistic is utterly meaningless unless you prove the demographics of the APPLICANTS, in addition to those hired.  If half the applicants were black, then it makes since that half those hired would be black, too.

Your conclusion is rendered meaningless by your lazy and unprofessional ability to demonstrate cause and effect.  In short, this is a failure of basic science.

Furthermore, your claim that postal workers don't work is bullshit.  The vast majority are out in the streets delivering gay porn to fatherless perverts like you.  All you see are counter workers, who are usually vastly understaffed.

Max Fischer, Civis Mundi


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 01:45 | 1949933 Dantzler
Dantzler's picture


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 02:33 | 1949994 sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

You can get rid of the unions when you're willing to make unionbusting by any name or type a felony, along with the required public disclosure of all employer-labor relations firm contact and communication.

What's wrong with a bit of sunshine into the people that intimidate yes-voters?  If they're trying to intimidate those out of voting for a union, they deserve no protection.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:04 | 1949084 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

hmmm, stamps barely raised in price for 80 years UNTIL 1970.......1970 that year seems to be coming up alot lately ???????????

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:36 | 1949209 Nigh Eve
Nigh Eve's picture

They should have graphed it the same way that a market index for that same time period would have been graphed - logarithmically.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:59 | 1949298 akak
akak's picture

Noticed that too, did you?

I'm sure it is just a coincidence.  Just like Hank Paulson's secret visit to Congress immediately preceding the overturning of their prior votedown of the TARP bill in 2008 was just a coincidence.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:06 | 1949089 ZeroPower
ZeroPower's picture

Let them eat stamps

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:08 | 1949094 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

The service will be degraded repeatedly until profitiblity returns...  They announced this today. 

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:09 | 1949100 infinity8
infinity8's picture

They are doomed for too many reasons to go into. So, on a more interesting note, why is it that every mail man I've ever known (several, and then there's Bukowski, who I never met) is extremely cynical, hates the government, and parties like hell? And the guy that owns my most localest liquor store was showing me the other day on the interwebs some postman in TN that got busted with a seriously impressive pot growing enterprise that he had built in a cave.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:13 | 1949117 bankonzhongguo
bankonzhongguo's picture

My great grandfather was a postman for 45 years.

I mail one letter a month.

Junk mail is the bane of all human existence.

The USPS basically exists in order to circulate rubbish.

Put a bin next to your front door and throw everything that winds up in your mail into it for a week.  At the end - weigh it.  99% of the mass will be in the form of junk-mail paper that you and everyone else on the planet just puts in the trash can.

We need a public letter carrier to be sure, but start with Monday and Thursday deliveries only and work down from there.  No more bulk mail.

The USPS is a bureaucracy in search of a mission.  If they were smart they would be advocating for supplying every citizen with an official email account and Facebook page. Make Big Brother smile.

Mon, 12/05/2011 - 21:14 | 1949124 Uber Vandal
Uber Vandal's picture

Who would have thought that the ROI of a roll of "Forever" stamps would be better than a number of "investments" on the market?

Cost basis of Forver stamp $0.41 (2007)

Present Value of Forever Stamp $0.44 (2011)

7% increase in 4 years.

Also, the price of postage is a good gauge of inflation. in 10 years, postage has increased 10 cents. ($0.34 in 2001 vs. $0.44 in 2011, or about 23%)


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 22:03 | 1949305 akak
akak's picture

Also, the price of postage is a good gauge of inflation. in 10 years, postage has increased 10 cents. ($0.34 in 2001 vs. $0.44 in 2011, or about 23%)

While your premise is more or less true over the long haul, in this case I would have to disagree with you --- the overall price level has increased FAR more in the last ten years than just 23%; I would estimate at least 50%.

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