Last night Donald Trump abruptly ordered a review of the US Postal Service’s finances, apparently in an effort to further damage Amazon.com. Trump has pursued a Twitter vendetta against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of the Washington Post. The Post has frequently published stories critical of Trump.
The order names Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as chair of the task force responsible for conducting the review and reporting their findings within 120 days. The Directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management will also be members of the task force, along with anyone else the chair designates, suggesting that the effort will be partisan.
From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Trump abruptly issued an executive order on Thursday demanding an evaluation of the Postal Service’s finances, asserting the power of his office weeks after accusing Amazon, the online retail giant, of not paying its fair share in postage.In the executive order, issued just before 9 p.m., Mr. Trump created a task force to examine the service’s “unsustainable financial path” and directed the new panel to “conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the U.S.P.S.
”The president does not mention Amazon in the order, but it is clear that he intends for the panel to substantiate his repeated claim that the financial arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon, its biggest shipper of packages, is a money loser.
From the Washington Post:
Trump issued an executive order forming an administration task force, to be chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and directed it to evaluate the Postal Service’s finances and operations. The order also directs the task force to issue a report outlining proposed changes within 120 days.
The order states that the Postal Service has incurred $65 billion of cumulative losses since the Great Recession ended in 2009 and that it must make changes so that it operates under “a sustainable business model.”
Trump’s order stipulates that “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 where revenues are no longer sufficient to fund the pension liabilities and retiree health obligations owed to current employees.”
The order’s language will likely encourage the task force to see if USPS can charge companies like Amazon more for parcel delivery, a person who previously worked at the Postal Regulatory Commission said on condition of anonymity.
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." pic.twitter.com/EAueURuKSy
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 13, 2018