Trump Panel Proposes Sustainable Path for US Postal Service

A Postal Service worker carriers mail to load onto a truck

A Postal Service worker carriers mail to load onto a truck

The United States Postal Service should have more flexibility to raise rates for packages, according to recommendations from a task force set up by President Donald Trump, a move that could hurt profits of Amazon.com Inc and other large online retailers.

That recommendation could raise costs for Amazon and other major businesses that are now using the Postal Service to supplement their delivery operations.

The task force blamed the decline in revenue on the rising popularity of digital alternatives to traditional letters and bills delivered by the Postal Service. "The USPS should have the authority to charge market-based prices for both mail and package items that are not deemed 'essential services, '" the task force said in its report (PDF).

Such changes may result in higher prices on package deliveries for online retailers, including e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.

Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, a newspaper whose critical coverage of the president has repeatedly drawn Trump's ire.

"Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon", Trump tweeted in April.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the report "contains achievable recommendations".

The Amazon Washington Post has gone insane against me ever since they lost the Internet Tax Case in the U.S. Supreme Court two months ago. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The recommendations contained in the report should be evaluated together with legislative and regulatory reforms to address our urgent financial challenges", US Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan said in a statement.

The Postal Service lost nearly $4 billion in fiscal 2018, which ended on September 30, even as package deliveries rose.

Another recommendation would be to clearly define the Postal Service's "Universal Service Obligations", which would spell out the types of mail and packages for which a strong rationale existed for government support of deliveries.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, charged that numerous recommendations in the report were based on "myth and misinformation" and that instead of improving mail services "would deliver higher prices and less service to the public".

"The USPS's business model - including its governance, product pricing, cost allocation and labor practices - must be updated in light of its current operating realities", the report said.

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