President Donald Trump Saturday morning unleashed yet another attack on one of America’s top retail giants: Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos. Bezos also, separately, owns a top Trump critic: The Washington Post. But Trump’s tweets expose just how very little he understands his own job, and how government works.
“While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon,” Trump tweeted. “That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that ‘the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,’ and that…does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a ‘lobbyist’ and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. ‘increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.’ This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!” he added.
Trump is almost entirely wrong about literally almost everything he tweeted, but let’s focus on the Post office portion by taking a quick look at the facts, which reveal Trump’s astonishing ignorance.
First, the Post Office is not a car dealership. You, I, and Amazon cannot walk in the door and bargain for better rates wily-nilly. What Amazon and other large companies can do is enter into workshare agreements. In other words, Amazon can do things – for example, they could load their packages onto USPS trucks, which saves the Postal Service money – and in turn, Amazon gets a discount.
There is no “scam.” There is no favoritism. This is pure business.
As The Hill notes:
“Amazon has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a network of more than 20 package sortation facilities that inject directly into the USPS last mile network bypassing most of USPS network,” Amazon said last year, according to Fortune Magazine. “This investment resulted in more efficient processes as well as thousands of jobs and related economic benefits in local communities.”
Meanwhile, the Post Office’s rates – and discounts – are set by the Postal Regulatory Commission – whose members are appointed by, you guessed it, the President of the United States. That commission, by the way, currently has a Republican majority.
So, President Trump is literally attacking a company that does what many other large companies do, and is 100% legal. If he doesn’t like it, he can talk to the Postal Regulatory Commission members, or fire them and appoint ones who will do his bidding.
The other entity that regulates postal rates is Congress. There is a law that ties the rates of, for example, a first class stamp, to inflation. That prevents the USPS from being able to fully control its prices. Trump could ask the Republican-majority Congress to change that law if he wanted – or if he knew it existed.
In other words, Trump is screaming about issues that aren’t issues, playing the distraction game, dividing the country with baseless and fact-less allegations (yes, lies,) all the while having a great deal of control to change the very issues he’s screaming about.
And he’s doing it 100% not because he cares if the Postal Service is making or losing money, he’s doing it because he has a vendetta against Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post, which on a daily basis reports on his and his administration’s corruption and breach of ethics.
A few other points.
As CNN noted in December, “the Postal Service might be able to eke out a profit if it weren’t for another way in which Congress has tied its hands: It requires the agency to pre-fund its retiree health benefits and count them as operating expenses. In fiscal 2016, the Postal Service brought in $69.4 billion in revenue, was liable for $5.8 billion in retiree health benefits and reported a $5.6 billion net loss.”
Trump’s claim that “the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon” might almost be true. Estimates range from $1.41 to $1.46. Others disagree, given those studies were funded by parties who want the business the USPS is getting from Amazon. Regardless, without that cash influx the Postal Service would be in far worse shape.
Bottom line: Trump doesn’t care about the Postal Service, he could fix the “problem” if he wanted to, and he’s lying to the American people.
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Trump Mocks #MeToo Movement, Pokes Warren on DNA Testing
Trump is back to his 2016 campaign trail antics of mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Let the 2020 presidential games begin.
He took it upon himself at a rally last week in Montana to call Sen. Warren his usual nickname, “Pocahontas,” and insinuate she should get a DNA test to prove her ancestry.
Here’s what he said at the rally.
“I shouldn’t tell you ’cause I like not to give away secrets… Let’s say I’m debating Pocahontas. You know those little kits they sell on television for $2…I’m gonna get one of those little kits and in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she’s of Indian heritage, because her mother says she has high cheekbones…we will take that little kit…but we have to do it gently, because we are in the Me Too generation… I will give you $1 million to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian…I have a feeling she will say no.”
But should she even be expected to answer in the first place?
Asking a 2020 election challenger to submit their DNA for testing is abhorrent, to put it mildly. Where have we seen this before? Oh, right. It reeks of Trump’s “birther” propaganda. President Barack Obama was repeatedly prodded to submit his birth certificate for examination to ensure he wasn’t born in Kenya.
Trump stated on March 30, 2011 on The Laura Ingraham Show:
Trump’s transparent attack on American values is unprecedented, but then again, so is his entire presidency.
The New England Journal of Medicine is even referring to Trump’s latest attack on Sen. Warren as “genetic McCarthyism,” saying: “Using genetic information to disparage opponents has no place in presidential campaigns. Nonetheless, the threat of genetic McCarthyism provides us with an opportunity to engage in a public dialogue about the limitations and complexities of using genomic information for decisions about life and health – including voting for our president.”
Genetic material is often misinterpreted and misrepresented, the Journal adds. “Therefore, we think future presidential candidates should resist calls to disclose their own genetic information. We recommend that they also pledge that their campaigns will not attempt to obtain or release genomic information about their opponents.”
Obtaining DNA isn’t rocket science for anyone truly interested in doing so – and we wouldn’t put anything past this president. A coffee cup, a handshake – a loose hair…any of these means could result in the opportunity to collect DNA on a presidential opponent.
For her part, Sen. Warren has repeatedly stated, “I know who I am,” and has no plans to submit to DNA testing. And why should she?
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