Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

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Richard Kaufman
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Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 16th, 2007, 4:03 pm

This was sent to me earlier today. The new rate hikes are extremely troublesome. If you care about the ability of small magazines like Genii to survive in the marketplace, then I'd appreciate it if you would sign the online petition in the link below.


There is a major crisis in our media taking place right now; it is getting almost no attention and unless we act very soon the consequences for our society could well be disastrous. And it will only take place because it is being done without any public awareness or participation; it goes directly against the very foundations of freedom of the press in the entirety of American history.

The U.S. Post Office is in the process of implementing a radical reformulation of its rates for magazines, such that smaller periodicals will be hit with a much much larger increase than the largest magazines.

Because the Post Office is a monopoly, and because magazines must use it, the postal rates always have been skewed to make it cheaper for smaller publications to get launched and to survive. The whole idea has been to use the postal rates to keep publishing as competitive and wide open as possible. This bedrock principle was put in place by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. They considered it mandatory to create the press system, the Fourth Estate necessary for self-government.

It was postal policy that converted the free press clause in the First Amendment from an abstract principle into a living breathing reality for Americans. And it has served that role throughout our history.

What the Post Office is now proposing goes directly against 215 years of postal policy. The Post Office is in the process of implementing a radical reformulation of its mailing rates for magazines. Under the plan, smaller periodicals will be hit with a much larger increase than the big magazines, as much as 30 percent. Some of the largest circulation magazines will face hikes of less than 10 percent.

The new rates, which go into effect on July 15, were developed with no public involvement or congressional oversight, and the increased costs could damage hundreds, even thousands, of smaller publications, possibly putting many out of business. This includes nearly every political journal in the nation. These are the magazines that often provide the most original journalism and analysis. These are the magazines that provide much of the content on Common Dreams. We desperately need them.

What the Post Office is planning to do now, in the dark of night, is implement a rate structure that gives the best prices to the biggest publishers, hence letting them lock in their market position and lessen the threat of any new competition. The new rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless it is spawned by a huge conglomerate.

Not surprisingly, the new scheme was drafted by Time Warner, the largest magazine publisher in the nation. All evidence available suggests the bureaucrats responsible have never considered the implications of their draconian reforms for small and independent publishers, or for citizens who depend upon a free press.

The corruption and sleaziness of this process is difficult to exaggerate. As one lawyer who works for a large magazine publisher admits, It takes a publishing company several hundred thousand dollars to even participate in these rate cases. Some large corporations spend millions to influence these rates. Little guys, and the general public who depend upon these magazines, are not at the table when the deal is being made.

The genius of the postal rate structure over the past 215 years was that it did not favor a particular viewpoint; it simply made it easier for smaller magazines to be launched and to survive. That is why the publications opposing the secretive Post Office rate hikes cross the political spectrum. This is not a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue, it is a democracy issue. And it is about having competitive media markets that benefit all Americans. This reform will have disastrous effects for all small and mid-sized publications, be they on politics, music, sports or gardening.

This process was conducted with such little publicity and pitched only at the dominant players that we only learned about it a few weeks ago and it is very late in the game. But there is something you can do. Please go to www.stoppostalratehikes.com and sign the letter to the Postal Board protesting the new rate system and demanding a congressional hearing before any radical changes are made. The deadline for comments is April 23.

I know many of you are connected to publications that go through the mail, or libraries and bookstores that pay for subscriptions to magazines and periodicals. If you fall in these categories, it is imperative you get everyone connected to your magazine or operation to go to www.stoppostalratehikes.com.

We do not have a moment to lose. If everyone who reads this email responds at www.stoppostalratehikes.com, and then sends it along to their friends urging them to do the same, we can win. If there is one thing we have learned at Free Press over the past few years, it is that if enough people raise hell, we can force politicians to do the right thing. This is a time for serious hell-raising.
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 16th, 2007, 4:32 pm

Done and Done.

I applaud you for bringing this to our attention. I'm damn proud to sign and hope that others will follow suit.

Elliot G

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Lance Pierce
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Lance Pierce » April 16th, 2007, 4:48 pm

Richard,

I feel ya, man.

There is a rate hike coming down, and it's not a pretty one, but there are several inaccuracies in the petition plea (along with some emotional rhetoric) that makes it a little suspect.

First, the Postal Service does not make rate adjustments with or without Congressional oversight, and they cannot set their own rates, so it's not something the Postal Service is doing or not doing in "the dark of the night."

They must present their case to the Postal Rate Commission, who then provides their recommendations to the Postal Board of Governors (both are comprised of presidentially-appointed members), and they make the approval or disapproval. Most of the time, the Postal Service will make its initial appeal, and three years later, we have a rate change. This time, the Postal Board of Governors managed to provide their recommendation in 10 months. This is why it didn't get the attention it normally did; it went through in less than 1/3 the time, but it wasn't because of anything the Postal Service did, it was due to the urgency of the request and the expediency by the PRC and Board of Governors.

The reason this rate case didn't get as much attention as in the past is partly because of the speed of the process and partly because media can't think of anything better to talk about than what Britney Spears did last Saturday and what's in Anna Nicole Smith's refrigerator. It's no wonder, then, that some publishers are caught off guard. Still, in perusing the "Newsroom" at the USPS website, it looks like all the press releases were made as usual. The information was out there. At this point, I don't think petitions are going to have much push (unfortunately). The decisions are made.

I'm sure the Postal Service would argue that it can't stave off prices forever, and that it's kept ahead of the curve of inflation for a couple of decades now. They might say that if we didn't do something about the rate structure, it wouldn't be long before there would be no periodical service at all, and that would be a much bigger problem.

The Postal Board of Governors was very concerned about the rate increase and approved parts of it. Three items in the rate case were returned for further review. They approved the rate case "under protest," but they didn't have a way around it.

There's information on the Postal Board of Governers statement here and some info on how the process generally works here .

And I guess to make matters worse, there's an even bigger inaccuracy in the petition plea: The effective date isn't July 15; it's May 14.

Cya,


Lance

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Pete Biro
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Pete Biro » April 16th, 2007, 5:29 pm

DONE :whack:
Stay tooned.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 17th, 2007, 5:21 am

Done

Terry
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Terry » April 17th, 2007, 5:31 am

First, the Postal Service does not make rate adjustments with or without Congressional oversight, and they cannot set their own rates, so it's not something the Postal Service is doing or not doing in "the dark of the night."
Sounds like a political issue and I thought political discussions were taboo here?

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 17th, 2007, 5:32 am

Done!

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » April 17th, 2007, 6:36 am

Lance said:
And I guess to make matters worse, there's an even bigger inaccuracy in the petition plea: The effective date isn't July 15; it's May 14.
Lance,
From my digging around, the date is May 14th, except for the rates for periodicals, which will go into effect on July 15th. This is indicated on at least two press releases on the usps.com site. (March 19th, 2007 and April 5th, 2007)

-Jim

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Lance Pierce
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Lance Pierce » April 17th, 2007, 9:25 am

My bad! Thanks, Jim!

:)

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 17th, 2007, 9:31 am

Richard,

I guess this is the right time to upgrade my subscription to 3 years before you hike the subscription price?

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 17th, 2007, 10:09 am

Rates have already gone up by $1 for one year subs, $2 for two years, and $3 for three years.

The increase in foreign airmail in January was worse (these rates are dictated by the private companies who do overseas airmail drops into the local postal system), and we absorbed that for a few months before increasing those rates.
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 17th, 2007, 1:02 pm

Done-I'll voluntarily agree to higher rates when some kind of performance improvement goes along with it. There is too much inconsistancy in the mail system as it operates now.

Don B

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 18th, 2007, 10:01 am

Done.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Steve Snediker » April 18th, 2007, 12:59 pm

Fin.

Thanks for the heads up, Richard.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 18th, 2007, 10:36 pm

signed, sealed & delivered.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 25th, 2007, 6:25 am

Richard: got this message from my Congresswoman, Thelma Drake, after signing the petition. I've left out the "pleasantries":

"The recent decision to increase periodical rates, which will be implemented on July15, 2007, is a result of the recommendations of the Postal Rregulatory Commission in order to sustain the long term financial solvency of the United States Postal Service. In accourdance with these recommendations, the USPS also found that changing the rates would allow for a more efficient delivery service while maintaining current customers.

That being said, I encourage you to contact the USPS directly with your opposition to this ruling as they are seeking comments on the new standards for periodicals. You may contact them directly by sending a letter addressed to the Manager, Mailing Standards, US Postal Service 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 3436, Washington, DC 20260-3436"

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Jeff Eline » April 25th, 2007, 9:44 am

For what it's worth, after signing the petition I got a call (two in fact) from my representative Roscoe Bartlett expressing his opposition to the rate hike. At least his office took the time to call.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 25th, 2007, 11:47 am

I'm tremendously disappointed at how few people here have noted in this thread that they've signed the petition.
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » April 25th, 2007, 12:34 pm

Done...

jerry lazar
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby jerry lazar » April 25th, 2007, 12:37 pm

Done -- I'm guessing that perhaps not everyone who signs is reporting they've done so here...

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Frank Dudgeon » April 25th, 2007, 12:51 pm

I dood it.

Frank Dudgeon

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Mark Collier » April 25th, 2007, 12:52 pm

I signed it but hadn't posted about it.
Oops.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Joe McIntyre » April 25th, 2007, 1:06 pm

I did it.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » May 17th, 2007, 6:22 pm

I haven't been keeping up with the Genii Forum, but I just signed it. I hope it's not too late, though clearly the price hikes have already happened.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 17th, 2007, 7:37 pm

The price hikes on regular mail have already taken place: a first-class letter now costs 41 cents to mail.
The price-hikes for periodicals have been scheduled for July.
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » May 22nd, 2007, 8:44 pm

Signed it.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » May 22nd, 2007, 9:22 pm

Done!

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby David Oliver » May 22nd, 2007, 9:49 pm

Done.

-DO
- DO

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Guest » May 23rd, 2007, 5:41 am

Richard,

The second and third links in your initial post do not work, due to punctuation. The first one works fine.

You might want to edit a bit to isolate the second and third links from the period and comma.

That situation may be the reason you have not had many members over there...

opie

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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby Bill Mullins » May 19th, 2008, 1:40 am


bagelsandlox
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby bagelsandlox » June 24th, 2008, 7:47 pm

This isn't 1776. The world has changed and how it gets its information has changed.

There used to be thousands of independant radio staions. The rules changed and the indie stations are almost all gone.

Was it better the old way? I think so. Did the world and free speach end? No.

Raise the rates. Poeple are trying to survive and don't really care if certain publications stop or don't get launched, no matter how good the argument is.

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mai-ling
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Re: Postal Rate Hikes Coming--YOU Can Do Something About It

Postby mai-ling » June 24th, 2008, 11:05 pm

There needs to be a coalition (maybe there is?)
for things, like those who are extremely affected
by postage hikes.

For a while, the threat of a copyright fee increase
was glooming. And there, preventing it for at least 4-5
years happened due to ASCAP backing and its board who fought
the change of increase fees (+$15).

Now there is only a +$5 for electronic.

I've not sent anything to the copyright office in
a couple of years. I don't know if I will try the
electronic version yet. Maybe when the next
record or the book is done.
you will remember my name
http://www.mai-ling.net
world's youngest illusionista



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