The postage increase coming on Jan. 26, 2014, is supposed to last only for two years. The temporary postage stamps increase for first-class mail from 46 cents to 49 cents was approved on Tuesday by regulators. "The higher rate will last no more than two years, allowing the Postal Service to recoup $2.8 billion in losses. By a 2-1 vote, the independent Postal Regulatory Commission rejected a request to make the price hike permanent," reported the Associated Press this week.
The postage increase is an attempt to help the Postal Service recover from the severe mail decrease dating back to the 2008 economic downturn and the increasing internet competition. However, as the past few years have shown, even despite continuous postage stamps increases, the Postal Service is continuing to struggle. The independent Postal Regulatory Commission, which voted for the time-limited postage stamps increase on Tuesday, is hoping to recoup $2.8 billion in losses by increasing the postage stamps.
In addition to first-class postage stamps, the rate increase is also affecting bulk mail, periodicals, and package service rates which will rise six percent. The new price of a postcard stamp, which was raised by a penny to 34 cents in November, also is effective next month. Forever stamps, good for first-class postage whatever the rate, can be purchased at the lower price until the new rate is effective on Jan. 26.
Even though the postage increase is supposed to be temporary and the stamps are supposed to return to 46 cents by 2016 according to Tuesday’s vote, taking into consideration that the Postal Service is an independent agency under congressional control (which has been unable to pass any supportive legislation to help with the Postal Service’s financial woes) it would be extremely surprising if the price would actually go down again.