Ridiculous: USPS proposes raising the prices of 1st class stamps to 73 cents


(WASHINGTON) — If the U.S. Postal Service gets its way, the price of a first-class stamp will go up for the fourth time in less than two years.

The USPS is proposing hiking the cost of a first-class stamp to 73 cents, or roughly 7% on all forms of postage.

If approved, the plan, which was announced on Tuesday, will raise the price of metered 1-ounce letters to 69 cents, international ounce-size letters and postcards to $1.65 and domestic postcards to 56 cents.

The proposal has been sent to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for final approval. If the commission signs off, the new prices will take effect in July.

The price-hike proposal comes after the USPS raised the cost of a first-class stamp to 68 cents from 66 cents on Jan. 21. Stamp prices rose twice in 2023.

In the past 20 years, the price of a first-class stamp has climbed about 84%.

“It’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” New Yorker Jacqueline Pollen told ABC News as she exited a post office on the upper West Side of Manhattan. “I’m a senior on a fixed income. I cannot really afford stamps that much. I do have a lot of Forever stamps that I bought years ago and I’m using them up, but I don’t know how I’m going to afford 73 cents for one stamp.”

Like millions of Americans, Pollen said she has cut back on mailing letters, even Christmas cards, saying, “I use E-cards and email. That’s what I use now to save money.”

But Manhattan resident Albert Quiles, who was going into the post office to purchase stamps, said he’s resigned to paying the higher postal prices.

“I’ve got to deal with it. What else can you do? You’ve got to go with the flow, man. Times change,” Quiles told ABC News. “There’s nothing you can do. The government says this is what you’ve got to do. It’s not like it’s just me — it’s everybody. I don’t feel bad about that.”

The postage price jump is part of a 10-year “Delivering for America” plan launched in March 2021 to transform the USPS from a money-strapped organization to one that is self-sustaining and high-performing.

The USPS reported a $6.5 billion net loss in 2023 as revenue fell 0.4% to $78.2 billion and the use of first-class mail dropped to its lowest level since 1968, postal officials said.

In 2022, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy issued a warning for customers to expect “uncomfortable” increases in postage until the USPS gets on track to be self-sustaining.

“While our pricing decisions are ultimately made under the authority of the Board of Governors, in the near term, I will most likely be advocating for these increases,” DeJoy said during a meeting with the USPS Board of Governors in 2022. “I believe we have been severely damaged by at least 10 years of a defective pricing model, which cannot be satisfied by one or two annual price increases, especially in this inflationary environment.”

Despite the price hike in postage, a USPS survey done in 2023 showed the prices of stamps in the United States are still lower compared to 31 other countries it analyzed.

“The 2023 price of a standard domestic letter in the U.S. was nearly half the average price in our 31 sampled countries,” according to the USPS Office of Inspector General report released in March.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.