Postmaster General Warns He'll Keep Raising Mail Prices: "Whatever It Costs"
Louis DeJoy opened up about the future of the USPS in a new interview.
If you feel like it costs you more money to mail things these days than it used to, that's because it does. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been steadily pushing up its prices over the last few years following the introduction of its Delivering for America (DFA) initiative in 2021. With the goal of getting the agency to financial stability within 10 years, part of the plan hinges on price hikes. Customers have already seen their postal costs go up several times since Aug. 2021—and these increases are far from over. Read on find out what the USPS Postmaster General had to say about raising mail prices, and what else is in store for the Postal Service.
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Another USPS price hike has been proposed for this year.
Mail prices have been increasing steadily since fall 2021. In August of that year, the USPS raised the cost of its Forever stamp from 55 to cents to 58 cents. Less than a year later, in July 2022, the price went up to 60 cents, and this January, we saw the Postal Service increase the cost of the stamp to 63 cents.
Now, the agency has announced plans for yet another price hike in 2023.
According to an April 10 press release, the USPS has filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) about a proposed price change for this summer. The agency is looking to raise the price of its Forever stamp once more, this time by 3 cents, making the price per stamp 66 cents. If approved by the PRC, this increase will go into effect on July 9.
The Postmaster General is warning that he'll likely keep raising mail prices.
Customers should not expect this to be the last time the cost of their mail goes up, however. Based on a new interview with The Washington Post, it appears that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has no plans to back down on his regular price adjustments.
As the USPS official enters his third year in the role, he is committed to raising postage rates as part of the DFA transformation, the newspaper reported.
The price of a stamp was just 55 cents when DeJoy took office in 2020. When asked what that cost will look like at the end of his 10-year plan, he indicated that it could keep increasing well past the 66 cents it's expected to reach this summer.
"Whatever it costs, it will still be the cheapest in the industrialized world," DeJoy told the Post. "It can go up to 90 cents, and it will still be the cheapest."
DeJoy said these changes are necessary to keep the agency operational.
Continuous price hikes are essential, according to the Postmaster General. He told The Washington Post that these increases are part of what will help the USPS survive.
"Higher prices will be a contributing factor to why we will still have the United States Postal Service," DeJoy explained. "For those who want to reach the American public and want to do it with a mail piece, we will be the best and only way to do it. That's what the law requires me to do. It doesn't say, 'Go do all things at all costs.'"
DeJoy told the newspaper that the agency has to start covering its operational costs—even if that means it falls back on customers.
"If we have kept alive things by a false business model—which is what we have done for 15 years, and we have abused the organization—well, that's not something we're supposed to be doing. That has to change," DeJoy said. "Yes, at some point, things come out of the marketplace. But is it the U.S. Postal Service's job to support and fund those things with its own resources? I think that's a recipe for disaster."
He also indicated that the USPS is currently behind on its goals.
DeJoy told the Post that he believes the agency is in a better place than it was before the DFA plan was introduced.
"For 15 years this place had been constructively destroyed with an operational strategy that was devoid of any logic," he said. "We couldn't keep people, our infrastructure was falling apart, there was no real plan to stop it and we were in the middle of a pandemic."
Nevertheless, the Postal Service is unlikely to meet the Postmaster General's initial goal of breaking even in 2023.
"We thought we'd break even in two years [but] we're behind," DeJoy admitted. "I have to reconcile where we started from. The pandemic took longer to get out of. Inflation is significantly higher than we thought it would be."
In fact, the USPS has referenced a need to "offset the rise in inflation" in many of its price hike proposals.
"I think in the mailing industry, inflation has been an issue," DeJoy told the Post. "Paper costs are higher."
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2021/0528-usps-proceeds-with-request-for-postal-rate-change.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2022/0406-usps-new-prices-for-2022.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2022/1007-usps-announces-new-prices-for-2023.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0410-usps-files-notice-with-prc-for-new-mailing-services-pricing.htm