Trump orders Postal Service review after attacks on Amazon

14 April, 2018, 20:19 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • Trump convenes task force to study finances of the US post office

The order does not specifically mention online shopping giant Amazon but Trump has complained that the company's deal with the USPS is a money loser for the service.

Trump, who has called the Post Amazon's "chief lobbyist", has several ways he could hurt Bezos, if he decides to push his tin-pot-dictator instincts to their limit: nine seats on the Postal Service's governing board have been vacant since 2016.

Trump issued the order on Thursday forming an administration task force, to be chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and directed it to evaluate the Postal Service's finances and operations, the Washington Post reported. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one White House source confirmed to Bloomberg that any recommendations the task force puts forward could affect Amazon.

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Trump has said that the USPS loses $1.50 for every Amazon package it delivers.

However, a former Postmaster General told analysts Amazon is actually profitable for the Postal Service, at a time when overall mail has declined significantly.

The Postal Service has lost more than $65 billion in the last decade as more Americans have used online services to transmit messages, according to the executive order.

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The executive order might open to door to more privatization: "Some parts of the order appear to hint at further privatization of the Postal Service, indicating that members of the task force should examine 'the U.S.P.S. role in the USA economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns, '" writes Michael D. Shear in The New York Times. Revenue from packages grew by more than $2 billion from the prior year, by far the most of any service category. The obsession isn't shared by aides: despite Trump's repeated claims, his own advisers have said that the sheer volume of packages Amazon ships through the Postal Service has helped keep it afloat.

Meanwhile, the Postal Service in a statement Friday appeared to welcome the task force audit. That appears to be working out for USPS, which said the growth in its package business was "a result of our successful efforts to compete in the ground shipping services and "last mile" e-commerce fulfillment markets, including Sunday delivery", in another financial report a year ago.

During the last quarter of 2017, the USPS handled 7 percent more packages over the same period of 2016 - while mail delivery declined about 5 percent.

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The agency is also drowning in "higher than normal" costs of retiree benefits, including pensions and health care. Those obligations for current and past employees stood at $38 billion at the end of its most recent fiscal year.

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