The United States Postal Service (USPS) has proposed a price increase for first-class stamps to 73 cents, marking the fourth such increase in less than two years. This move, part of a broader strategy to address the financial challenges facing the service, would affect not only stamps but also metered 1-ounce letters, international letters, and domestic postcards. The proposed changes, which are now awaiting final approval from the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, could see new rates implemented as early as July.

This latest price hike follows a recent increase in January, when the cost of a first-class stamp rose from 66 cents to 68 cents. The USPS has experienced two price rises in 2023 alone, contributing to an 84% increase in stamp prices over the past two decades. The proposed adjustments are a component of the USPS’s ambitious “Delivering for America” plan, initiated in March 2021 with the aim of transforming the Postal Service into a self-sustaining, high-performing organization.

Public Reaction and the Path to Financial Stability

The proposed price increases have elicited mixed reactions from the public. New Yorkers, for example, expressed a range of feelings, from frustration over the financial burden on fixed-income seniors to resignation about the inevitability of price changes. The decline in first-class mail usage, which hit its lowest level since 1968, coupled with a $6.5 billion net loss in 2023, underscores the pressing need for the USPS to adjust its pricing strategy.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has previously highlighted the necessity of “uncomfortable” price increases to steer the USPS towards financial sustainability, especially in the face of a decade-long struggle with a flawed pricing model and the current inflationary environment. Despite these challenges, a USPS survey conducted in 2023 revealed that stamp prices in the United States remain lower than those in 31 other countries analyzed, indicating a complex balance between maintaining affordable postal services and ensuring the organization’s financial health.