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Trump orders Postal Service review after blasting Amazon deal

After accusing Amazon for months of not paying its fair share of postage, President Trump has ordered a review of the US Postal Services finances via an executive order issued late Thursday night. The order calls for a task force to evaluate the operations and finances of the USPS. The order does not mention Amazon by name, but it seems clear that Trump is trying to back his claim that the USPS is losing many billions of dollars a year due to the financial arrangement with its biggest shipper of packages, or about $1.50 for every Amazon package it delivers. Trump may very well be correct regarding the numbers, although his rage seems misplaced. Experts, and even Trumps own advisers, have said that the enormous volume of packages shipped by Amazon have helped keep the Postal Service afloat. Rather, the long, slow decline in junk and first-class mail are the reasons for the USPSs mounting financial losses. Trumps executive order acknowledges this. A number of factors, including the steep decline in First-Class Mail volume, coupled with legal mandates that compel the USPS to incur substantial and inflexible costs, have resulted in a structural deficit, the president says in the order. The U.S.P.S. is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout. Amid ongoing public targeting of Amazon's use of the U.S. Postal Service, President Trump orders an evaluation of the USPS in executive order: "The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout." Its unclear how quickly the task force will begin its review, but it has 120 days to respond to the president with a summary of its findings and recommendations. Trump created a similar commission last year to support his claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election — a claim thoroughly debunked by election experts from both parties. The commission was dissolved in January. Trump often screams FAKE NEWS! on Twitter after The Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, publishes incriminating stories about Trump or his administration. Last week Trump called The Post Amazons chief lobbyist, a claim hes fond of repeating. And during his presidential campaign, Trump said that Amazon had a huge anti-trust problem and is getting away with murder, tax-wise. It all makes you wonder what Trumps real angle is.

What to know about Trump’s escalating fight with Amazon

The presidents feud with Amazon reached a new level of tension this week, as Trump ordered a review of the US Postal Services finances. But the attacks seem likely to escalate from here. Heres a short catch-up on the fight. Trump has never been quiet about his distaste for Amazon. His tweets about the company stretch back years. In December 2017, he was tweeting that Amazon was making the Postal Service dumber and poorer. Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE! But the frequency of attacks seemed to increase recently on Twitter after an Axios report said Trump was obsessed with the company. Shortly after the report was published, Trump took aim at the company again, accusing it of paying too little in taxes, using the Postal Service as a delivery boy, and costing the country money. I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business! Over the following days, he fired off similar complaints about an alleged scam, and attempted to link the e-commerce giant to the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that the size of the companys lobbying staff has ballooned, and that... ...does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a lobbyist and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. increased its parcel rates, Amazons shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion. This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now! I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders dont have a clue (or do they?)! Its true the Postal Service has serious financial hurdles, as Americans are sending less paper mail, even as increases in package delivery — where Amazon contributes — offset some of those losses. Some of Trumps contentions about the company are partly true, if largely misleading. Amazon has faced complaints for years about how it collects state and local taxes. After long-running dispute sover how online sales should be taxed, Amazon started collecting sales tax last year in every state with a law on the books. (Cities, meanwhile, have complained about being left out.) In most states, however, the company still doesnt collect taxes on behalf of sellers on its third-party marketplace platform. The tiered collection system has become another point of dispute. Trumps main complaint, though, is that the Postal Service is giving Amazon too good of a deal on delivery. There is, arguably, a fair point buried in the idea. The Postal Service enters into deals with major customers, and while we dont know the details of Amazons rates, some analysts have suggested companies could be charged more. When Trump writes that the Postal Service will lose $1.50 per package, he seems to be referring to an analyst report and Wall Street Journal opinion article (from an author with ties to FedEx) that suggested the USPS package business was operating below the true cost of some expenses. (When Trump cited the analyst report, the author explained that the report said the packages were being sent below those costs generally, not because of Amazons deals specifically, and that the figure was actually $1.46.) The Postal Service has called that picture of its package business, a bright spot in its finances, inaccurate. The Postal Service is required by law to charge at least a break-even rate on its package deliveries. Trump has argued without evidence that The Washington Post is engaged in attacks on him on behalf of Bezos, who once offered to launch Trump into space on a rocket. Trumps feud with Amazon is often seen as a proxy war on Bezos and the Post. Earlier this month, Vanity Fair reported that Trump, shrugging off advisers, was considering several ways he can go after the company, from encouraging state-level investigations to canceling a major government cloud computing contract. Instead, Trump apparently chose to issue Thursdays executive order. The direction does not mention Amazon by name, but it seems likely the decision was driven by the company. The order creates a task force to evaluate the operations and finances of the USPS. The task force has 120 days to provide findings and recommendations. What that might mean for Amazon will only become clear later, and it will also take some time to see whether Trump pushes further to reevaluate the governments links the company.