Postal Rates Squeeze Small Publications

Rate Hike Favors Large Commercial Magazines Over Papers Like The Progressive Populist

Largely as a result of increased postal rates, the subscription price for The Progressive Populist will increase by 10%, to $32.95 for one year, effective Aug. 1.

We don't like to increase rates any more than you like paying them, but we find it increasingly difficult to absorb mailing costs that over the past four years have gone up nearly 50%. And the US Postal Service is expected to seek another hike in the periodicals rate next year &emdash; perhaps as much as 20 to 30%!

During this same time, rates for large-scale magazines have gone up only about 25% as the post office is increasingly under pressure to serve large-volume commercial mailers at the expense of smaller independent publications. In the latest hike, at the end of June, rates for smaller publications go up 14.2% while rates for the biggest commercial magazines go up only 7-8%.

The post office is under pressure to abandon the traditional support it has given the independent press ever since the first postmaster general, Ben Franklin, set a flat rate for the delivery of newspapers and other periodicals across the new-born nation. Franklin realized that the circulation of ideas was of paramount importance in a democracy.

US Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has introduced a bill to place a three-year moratorium on postal rate increases for small periodicals. The moratorium would provide breathing space during the debate over the restructuring of the Postal Service. It would allow the post office to continue its historic obligation to serve the national interest through the distribution of periodicals. "It's a question of what Americans want to prioritize for delivery to their doorstep, magazines fostering creative thinking or periodicals crammed with advertising," says Sanders.

Please write your member of Congress and the Postmaster General to let them know that you prefer a post office that prioritizes the delivery of public-interest magazines over the delivery of junk mail. Ask them to support a freeze on postal rates for small-scale, high-editorial publications. Write the Hon. John Potter, Postmaster General, 475 L'Enfant Plaza Pl., SW, 10th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20260.

In the meantime, until Aug. 1 you may renew your subscription to The Progressive Populist at the old rate of $29.95 for one year (22 issues) or $49.95 for two years. Just clip the coupon on page 24, preferably with the mailing label from your copy, and mail it back to us with your payment. You also may buy gift subscriptions for $20 each through the end of July.

After Aug. 1 our rates will be $32.95 for one year, $54.95 for two years and $22 for gift subscriptions. Introductory six-month subscriptions will be available for $17.50.

Our new rates actually will bring the per-copy cost to nearly the same level as when we started as a monthly journal in 1995. Then The Progressive Populist cost $18 for 12 issues.

Thanks for your continued support.

&emdash; Jim Cullen, editor

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