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Trump's Petty & Ignorant War on the Postal Service

On Friday the President threatened to withhold future Covid-19 relief funding from the Postal Service unless it dramatically raises its shipping rates. Like most of Trump's policy positions, his views on the Post Office are simultaneously petty and uninformed.

Washington Post: "Trump for years has alleged the Postal Service has charged too little for packages and personally pushed the head of the agency to charge far more to ship goods for big online retailers. Several administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said Trump’s criticism of Postal Service rates is rooted in a desire to hurt Amazon in particular.They have said that he fumes publicly and privately at Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, for news coverage that Trump believes is unfair."

Trump reinforced those anti-Bezos rumors in his statement on Friday.

Alternet: "After U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielded a question about relief funding for USPS from a reporter at the White House during a bill signing ceremony Friday, Trump declared that “the Postal Service is a joke, because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package they lose money on it.”
“The post office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times,” the president added. “Four or five times, that’s what it should be—or let Amazon build their own post office, which would be an impossible thing to do, because the post office is massive and serves every little piece of the country.”

And, the President's idea of dramatically raising rates is, to be kind, incredibly simplistic. The Postal Service operates in a competitive environment with FedEx and UPS and its current rates are in-line with theirs. And they currently make money on every package they deliver; they have to by law.

Washington Post: “This is about as catastrophically stupid an idea that anyone could ever imagine,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University Business School. “As if anyone from Amazon to the local mom and pop delivery businesses would ever put up with a rate increase like that when they have alternatives.”

The Post Office does have financial challenges, but massive rate increases aren't the answer. It doesn't receive federal funding and has struggled as the internet ushered in the era of the quick, cheap email alternative. Moreover, its burdened by a congressional requirement to prefund health benefits for retired employees and is mandated to deliver anywhere in the country, at a fixed rate, no matter how remote. Package delivery, for Amazon and many others, has helped its bottom line, but it must remain cost competitive or that business will also vanish.

And, now, like many other businesses, the Postal Service has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and needs some federal assistance to continue operations. "Now comes the coronavirus. While USPS package delivery is more vital than ever, there has been a precipitous drop in mail volume (in particular junk mail and advertising, which have been largely suspended while companies conserve cash), further cutting into postal revenues. Meanwhile, postal workers make their appointed rounds every day, literally risking their lives to deliver your mail. Around the country, they’re testing positive for the virus by the hundreds; at least 19 have already died."

America's postal workers deserve better than Donald Trump's ignorant rants about Amazon deliveries.

#news # Trump

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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