Trump orders Postal Service review after attacking Amazon

President Trump stepped up his long-running battle with Amazon, ordering a federal task force to investigate the Post...

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 3:42 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2018 3:42 PM

President Trump stepped up his long-running battle with Amazon, ordering a federal task force to investigate the Postal Service's finances.

The executive order issued late Thursday night does not mention Amazon by name, but Amazon is the subtext.

Trump has frequently complained that Amazon takes advantage of the post office. Trump is angry at Amazon in part because its CEO, Jeff Bezos, is also the owner of The Washington Post, whose coverage Trump complaints about.

The Postal Service is a government agency, but it operates as an independent business without direct taxpayer support. The order points out that the post office has lost $65 billion over the last 11 fiscal years.

"It shall be the policy of my administration that the United States postal system operate under a sustainable business model to provide necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, and to compete fairly in commercial markets," Trump wrote in the order.

In his previous tweets, Trump has insisted that the Postal Service is losing money on the package deliveries it handles for Amazon.

Amazon has a confidential agreement with the Postal Service under which it delivers large numbers of packages directly to the post office nearest to where they need to be delivered. The Postal Service then delivers the packages to their destinations.

The Postal Service says the law requires that such negotiated contracts must cover the Postal Service's costs and that postal regulators have studied the contract and approved it.

Amazon also has a special agreement with the Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays in a limited number of major markets. Neither Amazon nor the post office has disclosed the details of that agreement, but the Postal Service says it's mutually beneficial.

Citigroup last year found that Postal Service prices would have to go up by $1.41 per package - about 40% - to reflect the true cost of delivery for all its customers. The Citigroup analysts estimate that would add $2.6 billion to Amazon's shipping costs, an increase of 28%. Amazon has disputed those estimates.

The executive order noted that the post office's problems are caused by many factors: steep declines in first class mail, laws that require the service to deal with large inflexible costs, and revenue that no longer covers pension and retiree health obligations.

"The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout," Trump said in the order.

The Postal Service issued a statement Friday welcoming the task force.

"As we have repeatedly stressed, these business model problems are serious, but solvable, and the President's executive order ... provides an opportunity to further consider these important public policy issues," the statement said.

Although the revenue from both first class letters and other types of mail, such as magazines, has steadily declined, online shopping has driven package delivery demand higher. The post office's most recent fiscal report shows package and parcel delivery was up $1.6 billion, or 19%, last year, at a time when revenue from all other types of mail fell by $2.5 billion, or 4%.

Related: Trump's attacks on Amazon are a problem for your 401(k)

A major part of the Postal Service's financial problems is a government mandate that it pay up front for retiree pension and health care expenses. Those obligations for current and past employees stood at $38 billion at the end of its most recent fiscal year. Private businesses that have retiree benefit obligations are not required to pay those amounts up front.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
Forrest7827153
Lauderdale7260242
Lowndes6509150
Lamar634888
Lafayette6310121
Washington5420137
Bolivar4837133
Panola4669110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4604147
Marshall4573105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425373
Union415777
Monroe4155135
Neshoba4061179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386687
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3369111
Alcorn325972
Scott320174
Yazoo314171
Adams307486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
Tippah291968
Prentiss283861
Leake271974
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George252051
Newton248663
Tishomingo231568
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Clay187854
Stone187833
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127138
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
Tunica108027
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
Calhoun14718325
Morgan14626285
Etowah14171363
Marshall12449230
Houston10764288
Elmore10295213
Limestone10182157
St. Clair10160251
Cullman9941201
Lauderdale9596249
DeKalb8967189
Talladega8458184
Walker7335280
Autauga7230113
Blount6944139
Jackson6922113
Colbert6414140
Coffee5627127
Dale4929114
Russell454941
Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
Covington4273122
Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
Bibb268464
Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
Hale226878
Butler224071
Fayette218162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113430
Coosa111429
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93534
Choctaw62025
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