Certainly, the postal service has taken a hit with all the computer innovations of the past decade or so. Email has replaced snail-mail for most correspondence except for greeting cards; online bill-paying has become the norm for many people (myself included; the only bill I mail--and in fact the only check I write--is for my mortgage payment, and that's only because they charge extra to pay it online). Gas has also gotten really expensive, so the occasional increase is almost to be expected.
But I was encouraged to see an idea that has come forth along with the proposed increase: The creation of a forever stamp, which would cover the cost of first-class postage no matter what any future increase might be. In other words, you could buy a book of stamps at 41 cents after the next increase, keep them for 20 years (when the postage rate might well be double what it is now) and use them as if they'd been bought at the current rate.
The big upside to this, besides the savings it would represent, would be that nobody would have to deal with those annoying 2- or 3-cent stamps anymore if they had stamps left over after an increase. Even though I rarely mail anything anymore, I could see investing in a book of Forever Stamps just to cover Christmas cards and my twelve annual mortgage payments. I hope the idea passes.
The Black Cat from hell: One county in southern Taiwan celebrated Chinese New Year this past weekend by lighting off an 8.1 mile-long string of firecrackers. (How big would the punk have to be to light that contraption?)