The (postal) Times They Are A Changin’ (and so are the rates)

As most of us know already, the United States Post Office is in slight disarray. With an expected record loss of $14.1 billion in 2012, USPS executives are expected to make cuts from the bottom up. Starting in the Spring of 2012, the USPS is expected to eliminate more than 250 processing centers, which would lay off nearly 30,000 employees. To further recover expected losses, a 1-cent increase in first-class mail to 45 cents went into effect starting January 22, 2012.

Besides an increase in stamp cost, how will these changes affect most consumers? For the first time since 1971, first-class stamped letters are not expected to arrive the next day. This is another aspect of updated budgeting efforts which expects to save an additional $3 billion. First-class stamped mail is now expected to be delivered in two days but could take up to five days in some cases. Furthermore, there are tentative plans in place which may reduce mail carries to a five day work-week.

The Postal Service is an independent agency of government which is subject to congressional control in some aspects of operation but does not receive federal or local funding. This makes matters even more difficult for Post Service executives. At times they may be handcuffed by congressional bureaucracy. This has spurred conversation about privatization of the Postal Service. Ohio House member, Dennis Kucinich, who oversees the agency, is opposed to the expected postal changes. This brings up another conversation altogether. Without cutbacks, reductions, and drastic change, can the Postal Service survive in today’s competitive marketplace?

In my expert (we’ll use that term loosely) opinion, the consequences of the expected changes won’t have that great of an effect on most Americans. However, if you operate a small business, or home business, even a mid-sized or large business, these changes could have a great effect on your day-to-day operations. These changes may even lead to exploration of other mail service providers like FedEx, UPS, and so.

Read more about the USPS updates.

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