Thursday, May 17, 2007

Post Office, 1; Amateur personal financiers, 0

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the Post Office has come out with a non-value first class stamp called the "Forever" stamp. 41 cents per stamp now will send a first-class letter for life with that baby.

Better stock up, right?

Wrong. Read this tersely worded write-up from Slate:

Should we all be stocking up?

Absolutely not. Since 1971, postal rates have increased more slowly than the actual inflation rate, as measured by the U.S. Consumer Price Index. So, despite the numerous rate hikes over the last 36 years, stamps have actually been getting cheaper. ... Should this historical pattern hold, you'd be paying more for today's forever stamps than you would for any stamp in the future, no matter how high the rate goes.

In fact, this pattern must hold—as a matter of law. In December, President Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which ensures that future price increases will be kept below an inflation-based ceiling. In other words, postage hikes will never surpass inflation—and the forever stamp will never become a good investment.

Cue the Debbie Downer waaah-waaaah sound effect.

Related: can we please call a moratorium on complaining about the cost of postage? Last time I checked, the ability to send a letter anywhere in the country and have it get there in a few days (even Saturday!) for only 41 cents is a miracle. You can't even get a soda for that price anymore.

Side note: anyone catch The Office finale? 1) I've never been happier with the writers' decision to make Ryan a douchebag. 2) Dear NBC: Give Creed a blog. For real. 3) I guess something big happened between Jim and Pam as well.


cher cher said...

Thank you for making me feel better about spending $8.40 on a book of stamps.

It's like "Only 41 cents? That isn't too bad." And then you buy the whole book and you're like "Well shit, I didn't ask for this!"

But yeah, the postal system IS pretty good. I put a card in the mail one afternoon for my sister in Kent, and she called me the next morning to thank me for it. What the crap, that was almost faster than I could drive there.

cher cher said...

PS I got a post card in the mail from the Post Office the other day, and I'm pretty sure it included some Family Circus characters. It's not Cathy, but I still wanted to say "Ack!"