Trump follows Amazon jabs by ordering US Postal Service review

USPS Releases National and Local Dog Bite Numbers for 2018

President Trump issued an executive order late Thursday creating a special task force to examine the U.S. Postal Service's finances, which he claims have been crippled by a money-losing deal to deliver packages for shopping giant Amazon.

"The USPS is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer funded bailout", said the order.

So when this executive order comes after a particularly intense week of Amazon bashing from @realDonaldTrump, and when the first item on the task force's evaluation list is "the expansion and pricing of the package delivery market and the USPS's role in competitive markets", you have to wonder.

The order gives the new commission 120 days to report its findings.

Trump's Twitter attacks against Amazon said the company is costing US taxpayers billions of dollars through cheaper postal rates, but the USPS said it does not receive money from the federal government to operate. 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. The official did not deny that the task force's recommendations could affect Amazon. Not to mention the fact that the huge number of packages the Postal Service ships for Amazon is helping to keep it afloat for the rest of us. "Amazon also uses all major logistics companies in the USA", he wrote in a report. Revenue from packages grew by more than $2 billion from the prior year, by far the most of any service category.

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What will happen is anyone's guess at this point, as a few important variables are unknown, such as whether the USPS will indeed hike its rates, how much such an increase would be, and how many packages the agency now delivers for Amazon.

Still, the demand hasn't been enough to offset its growing costs.

Trump's advisers said his outbursts about Amazon often were triggered by what he perceives as negative coverage of him by The Washington Post, owned by Bezos.

Even with the long post-office lines at Christmas and the junk mail that follows us everywhere we go, the United States Postal Service is one of the miracles of American life.

The Postal Service does have another big financial problem, though: In 2006, Congress mandated that the postal service prefund future health benefits for its retirees at a cost of about $5.6 billion a year over 10 years, a requirement that other federal agencies and private businesses do not face. By law, USPS also has to prefund a hefty pension and healthcare program for its retired employees, which totaled $38 billion at the end of fiscal 2017. "If that doesn't meet the definition of insanity, I don't know what does", Bloomberg's Barry Ritholtz wrote recently.

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