This past week the United States Postal Service announced plans to raise the price of a postage stamp by $.02. What is two cents? Two Cents is virtually nothing to most of us. But to those who depend on the Postal Service that two cents can be an increasing burden on an already difficult life. We submit that the people who will suffer are those in the lowest economic classes – the poor of America. The Postal Service is taxing the poor to pay for decreasing service.
This past year I received a total of six letters in the mail which employed the postage stamp targeted for the two-cent increase. I sent one letter. My mother sent me a Christmas card and a Birthday card – A nephew and a grandson graduated from High School and sent announcements. I sent a cash gift to the nephew in another State. I hand delivered the grandson’s cash gift. I received two thank you cards for the gifts. If the next year follows the same pattern the Postal Service will receive an additional eighteen cents. Obviously – I am not impacted by the raise in stamp rates. Why? Because I use internet banking, email, on-line chats, and a sophisticated cell phone. I am not rich but I am able to take advantage of changing technologies.
I have volunteered and worked in social services in the past ten years. I know a number of people who cannot use standard bank checking accounts because of past abuses. These people must pay all of their bills with money-orders or cashier’s checks. The checks are sent in the regular Postal Service mail. We can scoff and say they deserve their life situation – that is a typical heartless argument by the political right. The point is that the people who most use the regular mail, where the postage increase is applied, are the people who can least afford another penny for anything.
While I have only received six letters in the past year – I am on a first name basis with my mail carrier. I sit on the porch and drink coffee and read the newspaper. The mail carrier comes along and unloads piles of junk mail in my lap. Here are some examples: AARP – three times a month (I don’t belong to the AARP). Insurance companies – Aetna, Mutual of Omaha, State Farm, and Globe Life trying to sell life insurance to my children (My children are all in their thirties and live in different worlds). Firestone and the local Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, and Toyota dealers address me as a ‘valued customer’ while I have never been to any of those places. Direct-TV and Dish Network somehow discovered my address. Then there are the credit card companies – I have been pre-approved for thousands of dollars – if I would only call them and give them my mother’s maiden name.
All of the junk mail is paid for by someone. There are stamped and preprinted postage on every mailing. There are permit numbers, like Permit No 1721, or Permit No. 220. But many of the pre-printed stuff says something like PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID – followed by a company identification, like: Mutual of Ohama, State Farm, Aetna, and Citibank.
Here is the point. If the U. S. Postal Service raises the regular mail stamp rate by two cents they will net about eighteen cents more per year from my household. If they raised the bulk rate by two cents per deliveyry they would make an additional eighteen cents every day on this one household. There are presently 312 mail delivery days in a year – do the math – 312 x $0.18 = $56.16 more revenue per year on this one household alone.
This is really not complicated. This is like second grade mathematics. Raising stamp prices is a tax on the poorest people in the country. The U. S. Postal Service should dramatically raise the rates on bulk mail. This would accomplish several things. The Postal Service would make more money, I would receive less junk mail for my trash hauler to take to the local dump, and about a gazillion trees could be saved, more oxygen would be distributed into the atmosphere, global warming would slow, and Sarah Palin could afford to drop her twitter account. The world would be a better place.