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US Post Office Best Deal in the World

| Written by David Morris | 2 Comments | Updated on Apr 18, 2012 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

The US Post Office needs money.  As this chart shows, US postal rates, at 45 cents for a first class stamp, are the lowest in the world, often by far, excluding a few small island countries.  Yet Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, set up by Congress in 2006 to oversee the Post Office, has proven unwilling to allow that rate to rise to any significant degree.  In 2010 the Post Office asked for a 2 cent increase, from 44 to 46 cents.  The PRC approved only a penny.

A few days ago,  the Senate rejected an amendment that would have allowed the Post Office to raise the price of a first class stamp by a nickel.  That would have raised sufficient money so that no local post office or processing facility would have to be closed and the US would still have been the leader in world wide rates.

We all save a nickel.  The Post Office, the most ubiquitous and I dare say, beloved public institution in America continues to disintegrate.

             Stamp Rates World-Wide


US First Class Equivalent

Aruba $0.48
Australia $0.55
Austria $0.75
Belgium $0.97
Bermuda $0.34
Brunei Darussalam $0.15
Canada $0.57
Cayman Islands $0.24
Cyprus $0.46
Czech Republic $0.58
Denmark $1.46
Faroe Islands $0.96
Finland $1.02
France $0.82
French Polynesia $0.82
Germany $0.75
Gibraltar $0.47
Great Britain $0.72
Greece $0.82
Greenland $1.00
Guernsey $0.57
Hong Kong, China $0.18
Iceland $0.63
Ireland $0.75
Isle of Man $0.58
Israel $0.42
Italy $0.82
Japan $0.90
Jersey $0.54
Kuwait $0.88
Liechtenstein $1.06
Luxembourg $0.82
Malta $0.26
Martinique $0.72
Monaco $0.82
Netherlands $0.63
Netherlands Antilles $0.61
New Caledonia $0.87
New Zealand $0.80
Norfolk Island $0.30
Norway $1.25
Portugal $0.93
Qatar $0.13
Reunion $0.72
San Marino $0.82
Singapore $0.19
Slovenia $0.42
Spain $0.41
South Korea $0.35
Sweden $0.92
Switzerland $0.98
Tristan da Cunha $0.40
United Arab Emirates $0.27
United States $0.45
Vatican $0.82
Wallis and Futuna Islands $0.64

Source: Postal Regulatory Commission


About David Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiative on The Public Good. He is the author of the New City States, Seeing the Light, and three other non-fiction books. His essays on public policy are regularly published by On the Commons, Alternet, Common Dreams and the Huffington Post.

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  • Danny Handelman

    The universal service obligation and uniform postal rates are, in effect, a means of wealth transfer/subsidy from urban areas to suburban, exurban and rural areas, as the cost to delivery increases as population density decreases.

  • Yes, that’s why we call it a public good. Health insurance, by the way, does the same thing, transferring wealth from the healthy to the sick. We are the only country where this is not completely accurate because insurance companies have until the new law was passed, been able to drop people who got sick from the insured rolls. We used to subsidize local phone service by in essence taxing long distance, in order to keep rates low enough so everyone could afford to have a phone. One could say that urban parks are a subsidized by those city dwellers who live far from them. These are the kind of cross subsidies that knit societies together, a step up from the “every man for himself” ethic.