Amazon’s Packages and the USPS

The Story:

President Trump has been tweeting a fair amount of late about the giant e-Commerce company Amazon, of which Jeff Bezos is founder and chairman. One of Trump’s charges in these tweets is that Amazon has been impoverishing the U.S. Postal Service.

The Background:

Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post, a newspaper with sometimes unflattering coverage of President Trump. The corporate identities of the Post and Amazon are distinct, but to many observers, POTUS’ animus about Bezos seems to be strategically directed at Amazon, as the one of the two operations that does not have first amendment protection.

The Thing to Know: 

The real reason the USPS is losing money is a 2006 law capping its price increases at the rate of inflation, which also limits the portion of the USPS budget that can be devoted to the parcel business. President Trump has made no effort to change that law. It would be, after all, an undramatic fix that would not single out Amazon or Bezos at all.

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