Effective January 27, the cost for mailing a first-class letter will rise to 46 cents; from the present rate of 45 cents.

Why doesn't the Postal Service just increase the rate to 50 cents?

The U.S. Postal Service is in terrible financial straits and a penny per stamp increase won't alleviate the situation. There are other cost-cutting measures occurring, including cutting hours at rural post offices, but one thing that is needed is more revenue.

Increasing the cost of a stamp to 50 cents would unlikely discourage people from utilizing the mail service.

In fact, the 46 cent per stamp rate can be annoying. People will be waiting at the lobby windows of post offices for pennies in change, whereby a 50 cent stamp would make it easier both for the consumer and the postal clerks.

Also, for the consumer, if they buy three or four stamps, they are unlikely to quickly add the cost for postage as opposed to a nice round number like the 50 cents would present.

If the rate was 50 cents, consumers probably wouldn't have to worry about another rate increase for some time.

One of the problems the U.S. Postal Service is having is decreased mail volume. A five-cent increase for stamps wouldn't make the problem worse. The reason for the decrease is the computer. More people pay their bills on-line and write letters via E mail or social networks than sending traditional pen and paper mailings.

A 50 cent stamp would be convenient and give the U.S. Postal Service more money.

The one cent increase must still be reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The commission should immediately make a recommendation for a 50-cent rate.

Very few commodities – groceries, beer, even gasoline – are increased by a single penny. The postage stamp deserves more respect.

Incidentally, there is one great piece of news from the Postal Service for people who do international mailngs.

Beginning early next year, the Postal Service will introduce a First-Class Mail Global Forever Stamp. The new stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]