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: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 47°
Columbus
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Oxford
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 40°
Starkville
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 42°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather