Tuesday, March 10, 2009

USPS in crisis: stamp issues delayed!

Reported by the 23 March 2009 issue of Linn's Stamp News, is a news unenvisageable in France, even by this damned collectors who buy everything. The United States Postal Service decided to report three issues planned for 2009, for financial reasons and due to the forcoming change of postal rates.

The fourth part of the Flag of Our Nation series, that previewed the flags of the fifty federated States and the United States' possessions, is reported in 2010. Two others are now previewed in the next years: one on painter Edward Hooper and one on a christian topic (an angel playing lute).

On one side, the finances of United States historic operator are in the red: mail transport, opening of offices, the delivery of mail five days a week weight on the insufficient revenues, caused by the postal competition and the decrease of posted paper mail in favor of e-mail. Modernisation costs to remain competitive and fluctuations of gas prices don't help.

We may imagine that the philatelic activity would be spared because it is thought very beneficial in postal income non used on mail. But we forget the problems of the USPS statutes: all modofication in the universal service has to be accepted by the Congress... For example, changes in the postal rates, always previewed, but never on the number of cents allowed. One, two cents? Consequences: new philatelic costs to be decided just too few months before. Do we reprint one cent stamps? Print enough of two cent ones? But what do we do with them if the accepted rise is only one cent? And this commemorative stamp, at which face value do we print it? How much hours of unpreviewed work to be paid to printers?

Last point that regularly came black in talks on the US-based The Virtual Stamp Club, but whose cost is difficult to esteem: is a success of the Forever stamp, very current politic in Europe, penalising USPS' finances since its introduction in 2007?

Problems well known by European postal operators for a consequence that would never imagine: to postpone philatelic issues.

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