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Playing Post Office

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Postmaster General Summerfield's shock treatment for Congress in threatening to curtail sharply postal service will probably get him the money he needs to operate his department for the remainder of the fiscal year. While Congress is acting on his request for $47 million, Summerfield should also reemphasize the need for an increase in some of the postal rates in order to place the Post Office Department in a sounder financial position.

Last year the move to raise first-class mail rates died in congress. The most logical way to raise the needed revenue is not, however, to hike letter rates but to increase charges on third-class advertising. Advertisers pay far less than their actual cost to the government and their flood of commercial trivia bloats the mail.

By raising the rates on advertising Congress would move toward eliminating the annual postal deficit. While there is not a categorical imperative to operate the department without a loss, the profit-seeking advertiser should bear the full burden of his cost to the government. Summerfield should couple with his present demands a new rate schedule which would bring this adjustment about.

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