The US Postal Service has proposed a stamp rate increase that would increase the cost of a first-class stamp from 39 cents to 42 cents in the spring of 2007. That’s not surprising.

What is surprising is that they’re also proposing a “forever stamp” that customers could use as a hedge against future rate increases.

The forever stamp would help soften the blow of a rate increase by allowing customers to stock up. As originally proposed it would sell for the first class rate and, once purchased, the special stamp would remain valid for whatever the first-class rate is when it is used, regardless of future increases … “A forever stamp would help ease the transition to any future price adjustments,” board Chairman James C. Miller III said.

A “forever” stamp sounds like a keen idea in practice, though to be truly cost-effective one would need to buy thousands and then hoard them for decades.

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