This morning, Trump once again tweeted about online retailer Amazon.com, alleging that it is scamming the United States Postal Service and that the agency should raise its shipping rates. He also says that The Washington Post — owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — should register as a lobbyist.
Earlier this week, Axios reported that President Donald Trump wanted to take on Amazon. The President followed up with a tweet on March 29th, saying that Amazon was taking advantage of the USPS, paying little in state and local taxes, and putting retailers out of business.
The New York Times outlined earlier this week that Amazon has collected sales taxes since April 2017. The retailer reported $957 million in income taxes last year. The Times also lays out that while the USPS is losing money — it reported losses of $2.7 billion in 2017 — these losses are due in part to declining volumes of “marketing and first-class mail,” and the agency’s requirement to prefund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund each year, which costs over $5 billion annually.
Indeed, the growth in package shipping from retailers like Amazon have been beneficial to the agency, which “have offset its general shortfalls in revenue.” The Washington Post reports that officials have explained to the President that Amazon’s contracts with the USPS are profitable.
In his second tweet, the president says that the retailer is taking advantage of the USPS, saying that Amazon is scamming the agency. He cites a Citi Bank report (via the Times) which says that the agency’s rates are underpriced, and that price adjustments could bring in additional revenue of $2.6 billion each year. The Times notes that while Amazon does have a shipping arrangement with the USPS, the agency has reviewed the rates and found them to be profitable, and has said that said rates are competitive in the marketplace.
The Post cites officials who say that Trump’s anger towards Amazon is a result of the paper’s coverage of his administration, and claims that it is acting as a lobbyist on behalf of Bezos. The Post says that while it is owned by the Amazon CEO, it operates independently of the retailer. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update if we hear back.