Opelika-Auburn News: Postal Service rate increase will leave many ‘stamping mad’

Next year will bring higher prices at the post office. Anyone who didn’t see this coming hasn’t been paying attention, but it’s sure to make consumers “stamping” mad.

It makes sense that the advent of e-mail and instant messaging apps would have a deleterious effect on the Postal Service.

Between 2001 and 2016, correspondence mail between households dropped by more than 60 percent, according to a study by the USPS inspector general.

During the same period, changes in the way the postal service funds pensions and new requirements passed in the Bush administration have had a significant effect on the service’s finances.

Now with the coronavirus pandemic, the postmaster general anticipates a $13 billion shortfall, projecting the USPS will run out of money in 2024 without significant regulatory changes from Congress.

Despite this, the proposed increases are negligible and likely won’t be noticed by the ordinary consumer. The cost of Forever Stamps is unchanged, and the rate hike doesn’t come into play until additional ounces are involved.

Even then the hike is 1.8 percent for first-class mail, and 1.5 percent for other categories.

For many Americans, even a small increase is an aggravation, particularly considering the wage stagnation suffered by many U.S. workers.

Still, the U.S. Postal Service remains a bargain compared to postal services in the rest of the industrialized world.

For those looking to beat the system, here’s a tip: Buy additional Forever Stamps this year before the rate increases take effect next year.

Eventually, the cost of those will likely increase, too.

The U.S. Postal Service has filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission that it intends to raise rates in the coming year.

The Dothan Eagle on a proposed amendment to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution:

Two hundred thirty two years ago, the U.S. Constitution received ratification by the ninth of 13 states, sealing it as our nation’s guiding document. In the years since, our nation’s people have seen fit to tweak the constitution several times; the most recent, Amendment XXVII, staying changes in compensation of federal lawmakers until the following election, was proposed with the Bill of Rights in the 18th century and mulled over for more than 200 years before its 1992 ratification.

In contrast, Alabama’s bloated 1901 Constitution has been amended 946 times in 119 years, and on Nov. 3, voters will be asked to approve a handful of additional amendments. One of those, Amendment 4, would finally address at least one component of the constitution’s myriad embarrassments.

Amendment 4 could allow the state’s Legislative Reference Service to comb through the document and eliminate racist language that dates to the constitution’s origin. The proposed changes would go to the legislature; if approved, they would be put before the voters. The Alabama Informed Voter Act of 2016 would ensure that the ballot explains in plain language exactly what voters are asked to do. The people of Alabama would have the last word.

That would be a good start on repairing our state’s constitution. It also needs a significant overhaul granting home rule to local governments, eliminating the requirement for many local matters to seek legislative approval and statewide support through constitutional amendment.

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