Stop the presses! Hold the phone! Shut! Up! Just when I thought I was blindsided by a stamp rate increase, turns out there's a stamp rate decrease right around the corner. Back in January 2014, when regular letter stamps went up to 49 cents, the U.S.P.S. explained that it was surcharge pricing to help them with the recession. The three-cent increase was approved, but only until the Postal Service could gain 3 billion dollars from it. They will hit that amount this summer and courts have ruled that they will have to roll-back the "surge" pricing.
To quote the article in The Washington Post:
“The Commission sensibly concluded that the statutory exception allowing higher rates when needed to respond to extraordinary financial circumstances should only continue as long as those circumstances, in fact, remained extraordinary,” Circuit Judge Patricia Ann Millet wrote on behalf of the appeals court. “The Commission permissibly reasoned that just because some of the effects of exigent circumstances may continue for the foreseeable future, that does not mean that those circumstances remain ‘extraordinary’ or ‘exceptional’ for just as long.”
So... what will regular letters be priced at? No idea. They've yet to determine that and when the new rate will go into effect. Furthermore, the U.S.P.S. argues that the 3 billion dollar amount was arrived at arbitrarily and wants it re-examined by the Postal Regulatory Commission.
This brings us back to the debate about non-denominated postage. "Forever" stamps purchased will be bought at a higher price than stamps, say, six months from now. It will still purchase the same service, i.e. delivery of a 1oz letter anywhere in the United States, but at a lower cost. I never even considered that prices could go down. Research showed me that this won't be the first time stamps have decreased in price; they went down by a penny in 1919. There was a higher rate used during World War One. Here's a neat chart I found tracking the increases and decreased over time.
P.S. Thanks to all of the members who tweeted and emailed this to us!