Postal Service Follies: It’s No Laughing Matter –MichelsonOctober 2011
In what could end up being a devastating blow to the printing, publishing and direct marketing industries, the Obama administration is said to be in favor of an exigent (emergency), higher-than-inflation increase in postage rates. Periodical class mail rates reportedly would rise by as much as 9 percent, and increase by 5.8 percent for Standard mail, which includes catalogs and other types of direct mail. How ironic, since even the USPS itself had backed off recently on a similar rate hike request it made earlier, this time noting the razor-thin operating margins that these industries are already facing.
The Postal Service realizes that such large rate increases, in today’s harsh economic climate, would drive more magazine publishers, catalogers and direct marketers to reduce their mail volumes, potentially even putting some of them—and the printers and mailers that serve them—out of business. It pushes its largest-volume customers to disband print and pursue cheaper, electronic alternatives, which many are doing already.
Founding father Benjamin Franklin, the patron saint of printing and our nation’s first Postmaster General, must be rolling over in his grave watching how our dysfunctional government and broken postal system are helping to ravage an industry that played such pivotable roles in the birth of America and the spread of democracy.
Mark T. Michelson