Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

Task Force to Review USPS Finances

Post office building in Carmel Calif Post office building in Carmel Calif
Nellie Chapman | 13 April, 2018, 12:56

President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered an evaluation of the US Postal Service's finances, after weeks of accusing Amazon of not paying its fair share of postage.

According to the executive order, a task force comprise of top officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who would chair the group, will lead the investigation into the USPS' finances and will be required to issue recommendations and a final report no later than early August.

"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!"

The President does not mention Amazon in the order, but it is clear that he intends the group to substantiate his repeated claim that the financial arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon, its biggest shipper of packages, is a money loser.

Trump's advisers say his outbursts about Amazon often are triggered by what the president perceives as negative coverage of him by The Washington Post, which Bezos owns personally. A Politifact analysis found that despite a notable drop in mail, the delivery of packages has been a boon for the struggling agency.

The Postal Service, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, must ask Congress for permission to raise rates and must pre-fund decades worth of retiree health benefits.

The main issue I have with the tweet is that it suggests that the Postal Service is losing money primarily because of its contract with Amazon. The order calls for an examination of the Postal Service's pricing, policies and workforce costs. "Singling out favorite Trump villains like Amazon is a distraction from our bipartisan effort".

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006 made it illegal for the Postal Service to ship parcels at below cost. The company has a network of 35 "sort center" where customer packages are sorted by ZIP code, stacked on pallets and delivered to post offices for the final leg of delivery. As stated by the 20 17 USPS fiscal announcement, the declining revenue of mail delivery is being cancel by sending and package delivery.

According to FactCheck.org, Trump's claim that every time Amazon delivers a package it "loses one dollar and 47 cents" is not accurate.