Arts&Culture

Trump launches task force to evaluate Postal Service operations

Trump launches task force to evaluate Postal Service operations

President Donald Trump appears to be escalating his war on Amazon. The Post (or as Trump's tweets occasionally call it, #TheAmazonWashingtonPost) has been a dogged chronicler of Trump's volatile presidency, which has landed both the Bezos-owned newspaper and the Bezos-owned online retailer in the presidential crosshairs.

That's why the new executive order could be more about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's other property, The Washington Post.

The president issued an executive order after hours last night, aimed at evaluating the U.S. Postal Service.

The order stated that the Postal Service incurred $65 billion of cumulative losses since the Great Recession ended in 2009 and that it must make changes so that it operates under "a sustainable business model". Earlier this month, in comments to the press, Trump said, "Amazon is going to have to pay much more money to the Post Office". However, experts have countered that the while the service does lose money delivering first class mail, e-commerce package deliveries are profitable. The website Save The Post Office, however, recently did a lengthy analysis outlining how Amazon nearly certainly pays the postal service more than it costs to ship packages and that taxpayers are not subsidizing Prime's two-day free shipping.

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Like brick-and-mortar stores, direct-mail advertisers and newspapers and magazines, the Postal Service has struggled to make ends meet in our digital-happy world.

Although the executive order does not mention Amazon, the president has kept up a drumbeat of criticism against the online retailer, saying the Postal Service loses an average of $1.50 on each Amazon package it delivers. "The prefunding requirement began as an effort to ensure Postal Service liabilities would not become a taxpayer burden if the Postal Service were to someday cease to exist", a 2015 report by the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General explained. Citigroup argued that the Postal Service needed to raise its prices or else taxpayers will have to cover the additional costs. Others say the Postal Service isn't charging Amazon and other shippers the full amount it should for parcel deliveries. Amazon has disputed those estimates.

Q: What does the executive order do? "The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured", Trump said in the order. All three receive comparable rates on a service that lets them drop truckloads of packages at a local post office for the last leg of delivery.

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.


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