This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree on at least one issue: They’re concerned about a U.S. Postal Service plan to offer special, monopolistic postage rates that seem designed to favor one customer – the giant Valassis Direct Mail company.
Those lawmakers – as diverse as Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California – have demanded to know why the USPS proposes to play favorites with its postal customers and give a huge competitive advantage to Valassis. The deal would give the company rebates ranging from 20 percent to 36 percent for new mailings containing ads by national retailers.
That could have serious consequences for the already struggling newspaper industry, which stands to lose more than $1 billion in revenue if direct-mail rates are reduced so drastically for a major competitor.
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