Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The seamy underside of the postal rate hikes

Well, well, well. I was under the impression that the new rate hikes coming our way from the post office would be the standard sort of stamp increase that we've been getting. But no--this is going to hurt, and maybe wipe out my subscriptions (which finally, after nine years, went up to 151 subscriptions--yay!). According to Robert McChesney of Common Dreams:
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....

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.
A thirty percent increase in my subscription mailing cost means I'm going to have to up the cost of the subscriptions from $20 per year to $24 per year. At least. That is a humongous increase.

The Free Press has more:
Earlier this year, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) rejected a postal rate increase plan offered by the U.S. Postal Service. Instead they opted to implement a complicated plan submitted by media giant Time Warner.
What? a corporation is writing our postal plan? since when did we become a subsidiary of Time Warner?
Under the original plan, all publishers would have a mostly equal increase (approx. 12 percent) in the cost for mailing their publications. The Time Warner plan overturned this level playing field to favor large, ad-heavy magazines like People at the expense of smaller publications like In These Times and The American Spectator.
Sooo....if you want to help out your local small publication and send a note to Congress and the Postal Board of Governors, use this link to the Free Press. I'll be grateful for your help!

No comments: