U.S. Postage Rate Increase

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.---The U.S. Postal Ser­vice to­day raised the cost of a first class stamp from 45 to 46 cents.

The in­crease, which af­fects more than two mil­lion stamp col­lec­tors in the Unit­ed States, was ap­proved by the Postal Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­mis­sion in Novem­ber amid grave con­cerns about the agen­cy's fu­ture sol­ven­cy.

Once a cab­i­net-lev­el de­part­ment of enor­mous po­lit­i­cal clout, the Postal Ser­vice is an in­de­pen­dent bu­reau re­quired by statute to be fi­nan­cial­ly self-suf­fi­cient. Although tech­ni­cal­ly a part of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, it re­ceives no pub­lic fund­ing ex­cept for a $15 bil­lion loan, and re­lies on sales of stamps and oth­er sou­venirs as its pri­ma­ry source of rev­enue.