President Donald Trump attempted to blame Amazon for problems with the United States Postal Service (USPS) as his administration faces heightened scrutiny amid reports that they’re interfering with the postal service to impact November’s general election.
“Amazon and other companies like it, they come and they drop all of their mail into a post office,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends.” “They drop packages into the post office by the thousands and then they say, ‘Here, you deliver them.’ We lose $3 and $4 a package on average. We lose massive amounts of money.”
Trump suggested the postal service could become financially solvent if it raised delivery rates to compete with online retailers.
“This guy is supposed to be so wealthy, so let him pay for it,” he said, appearing to refer to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the House back in session to work on a proposal to block the Trump administration’s attempts to undermine the postal service.
“Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” Pelosi said in a letter to fellow House Democrats yesterday. “That is why I am calling upon the House to return to session later this week to vote on Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman [Carolyn] Maloney’s ‘Delivering for America Act,’ which prohibits the Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020.”
While the postal service does have financial problems, a CNBC analysis found “Amazon may be saving the post office from financial demise, due to growth in package shipping from online retailers like Amazon. Amazon also relies on a range of carriers to deliver packages, such as UPS and FedEx, and is increasingly building its own network of contracted delivery partners, which now total 1,300 firms.”
Additionally, a requirement that the postal service fund health benefits for its workers, which costs more than $5 billion each year, is largely responsible for its financial woes.
“Unlike any other public or private entity, under a 2006 law, the U.S. Postal Service must pre-fund retiree health benefits. We must pay today for benefits that will not be paid out until some future date. Other federal agencies and most private sector companies use a “pay-as-you-go” system, by which the entity pays premiums as they are billed. Shifting to such a system would equate to an average of $5.65 billion in additional cash flow per year through 2016, and save the Postal Service an estimated $50 billion over the next ten years. With the announcement of our Action Plan in March, we began laying the foundation for change, requesting that Congress restructure this obligation,” USPS notes on its website.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.