The news was rarely good. The company was having trouble moving products from its cavernous distribution centres and onto store shelves, which would leave Target outlets poorly stocked.
Whether Amazon actually is getting a special deal on shipping is open to intense debate. The company also happens to enjoy a discount on stampswhich they then mark up to their own marketplace sellers, a pure arbitrage deal to earn profits from a publicly issued product.
But these issues have almost nothing to do with the Trump executive order. The Amazon spat is a cover for the formal unveiling of a long-wished right-wing project to destroy the post office and have private industry take over its infrastructure, which taxpayers funded long ago.
All the executive order really does is create a report; it would take a willing Congress to deliver the final hammer blow. But that report, with a government imprimatur, will become part of that right-wing wish list, living on for decades in think tanks and private shipping company boardrooms as a fervent dream.
And sometimes dreams become reality. The policy section manages to mention that the Postal Service routinely earns the highest public approval rating of any agency in the federal government. But then it layers on the bad news: No public agency or private company has any similar burden.
It was placed on the Postal Service in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act to deliberately cripple the agency at the behest of UPS and FedEx, its two major competitors on package delivery.
There should be no confusion: Without this completely anomalous pre-funding mandate, the USPS would be a money-making operation, regardless of the rise of email. But this board, which includes the postmaster general, their deputy, and nine presidential appointees, has not had a new member confirmed since the George W.
Here are some things the executive order wants the task force to look into: The task force is being prodded to open up the mailbox to any company, and degrade the centuries-old tradition that the post office deliver anywhere in the nation, through snow or rain or heat or gloom of night.
After eliminating these public benefits, the task force might seek to bar the post office from competing in markets where the private sector operates, or to privatize the agency altogether, selling its infrastructure off for parts.
Inthe Postal Service partnered with Staples to sell stamps and deliver mail and packages inside their stores, with their non-union workers. The American Postal Workers Union kicked off a long campaign to stop this, but the practice only stopped after a National Labor Relations Board judge ordered it.
The USPS already gives competitors a sweet deal to participate in its own destruction.
It ships the last mile for UPS, FedEx, and Amazon, delivering the packages that are unprofitable for those companies to deliver themselves. Having a government task force call for the death of the post office will build on these efforts at self-immolation.
The solutions here are obvious. The post office has the advantage of 30, locationsuniversal service, and a wider reach than for-profit companies could ever cast.
The author of a white paper on postal banking, then-USPS Inspector General David Williams, is one of the nominees for the Board of Governors, and if allowed to do his job, Williams could fix up a system that would solve numerous problems at once.
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