(from the new york times)
Stamping Out Diverse Voices
Published: May 8, 2007
Postal rate increases are an unwelcome fact of life for every magazine publisher. But it seems the steep new increases for periodicals, scheduled to begin on July 15, will inflict undue hardship on small independent magazines that do much to inform the national discourse on politics and culture. They will be required to pay a much higher percentage increase than some of the largest magazines.
A skimpily funded coalition of small journals of opinions and ideas — running the ideological gamut from The National Review on the right to The Nation on the left — is struggling to get Washington to focus on the issue. The group’s request that the rate increase be reversed, or at least done in stages to mitigate its crippling impact, warrants the immediate attention of the House and Senate committees that oversee postal operations.
Among other things, those committees need to review the flawed process behind the new rate structure. The United States Postal Service first proposed a large but manageable across-the-board increase of about 12 percent. The rate-setting commission quietly abandoned that proposal and instead approved a new plan resembling one proposed by Time Warner, which publishes two of the nation’s largest-circulation magazines, Time and People.
The magazine industry was given a comment period of just eight working days to respond to the complex changes, which were unveiled without any definitive computer model to help less well-heeled publications assess the impact.
The approved plan is another step away from the traditional method of determining rates based primarily on the number of pieces being sent out and their total weight. The new formula sharply increases discounts to big mailers, which are able to save the Postal Service work, for example by trucking their mail to different states. According to an analysis by McGraw-Hill, many small- or medium-circulation magazines will incur rate increases exceeding 20 percent, some in excess of 30 percent.
Of course, the Postal Service needs revenue, and popular magazines published by Time Warner and others may deserve some discount for mailing efficiencies. But rates must be structured to avoid impeding the easy dissemination of information, which the founding fathers sought to protect by creating a national postal system.
(my two cents? increase first class mail to 50 cents for the next 10 years (my opinion times 25), no further increase allowed until the specified time elapses.
leave subscription postage as is or with only a modest bump. increase "telemarketer" mail to $1.
"telemarketer" mail would include all spam mail addressed to "resident" or other name not personalized and all mail sent to a real name, but with instructions to the postal carrier to leave it even if that name doesn't live at that address. it would include as well any envelope that bears the words "limited time offer", "special introductory rates", "0% APR" for any given amount of time, "you could be a winner", and any combination of words that encourage you to open anything that you did not specifically request to be sent.
unless it's store coupons redeemable at your local outlet. for stuff that makes sense. like milk or bacon or bagels or condoms.
in this manner, we save trees and the air and the postal service can cut down on the number of overtime hours postal carriers have to work by speeding up the daily delivery process of mail that is legitimately being sent.)
just my two cents.
addendum: called adam kirtsall again. i think i was answered by the same slimeball as the last time. i was told adam was in a different office and how could i be helped.
"i need to speak with mr. kirtsall."
"for what reason?"
"because he's been leaving me automated messages for almost a year now."
"and you're just getting back to us now?"
"well, up until the last call i had no idea why he was calling. i only knew that he said it was urgent that i call back, but he didn't give a reason."
"and you had no idea why he would be calling?"
"no sir. i did not. but the last call was from a different person and it mentioned a collection agency."
"what's your id number?"
"your id number."
"i have no idea."
"the id number from the message."
"there was no id number."
"then what collection account are you calling about?"
"i'm not calling about any account. i'm calling because mr. kirtsall asked me to call back and i finally understood why."
"but what's the collection account you owe on?"
"i don't owe on anything."
"really. i'm just calling, because i need to talk with mr. kirtsall."
"then why would we be calling you?"
"that's why i'm calling. why would you?"
"sir, i'm not showing your phone number in our system. " click.
i'll call back in a week. i feel mr. kirtsall has a year's worth of returns coming.