I went to the post office today for the first time in a long time and I purchased a pile of “Forever Stamps.” These are stamps that cost 42 cents each today, but will remain valid first-class postage on all qualifying mailings regardless of what postage rates might be in the future. Two things about this strike me as interesting:
- That this promotion is even offered, or popular, tells you something about how dismal the inflation outlook in the U.S. as well as how optimistic individuals are (and the post office itself) about the post office becoming more efficient and productive. With regard to the former, under a regime of easy money, a 42 cent stamp today is worth far more than one in the future, hence the deal is attractive to those of us skeptical of what our central bank and political class are up to – regardless of how efficient the postal service might become. With regard to the latter, virtually every company that has been around and continues to prosper does so because it becomes more efficient, and its real prices fall. The USPS does not appear to be optimistic about it – or does the issuance of forever stamps signify that they are VERY optimistic about it?
- I’d love to see some government agency offer the option of “forever taxes.” These forever taxes would take the form of bonds purchased by individuals. The proceeds of the bond sale would go to the government in question in consideration for ALL future tax liabilities of the individual, regardless of how long they live, or how high or low taxes move in the future. I wonder what the competitive general equilibrium in government spending and services offered would look like?