Dear President Trump: Please don't hurt the US Postal Service

Is'Cluster Box the future of postal mail delivery

The president issued an executive order after hours last night, aimed at evaluating the U.S. Postal Service.

The order does not specifically mention online shopping giant Amazon but Trump has complained that the company's deal with the USPS is a money loser for the service.

Trump's ire may really be about Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post: "White House insiders describe the Amazon-U.S.P.S blowup as a thinly veiled attempt to retaliate against The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, for its frequently critical coverage of his administration", Vanity Fair's Maya Kosoff writes.

Trump on Thursday ordered the creation of a task force to look into the USPS's financials.

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Amazon also has a special agreement with the Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays in a limited number of major markets.

In December, Trump criticised the service on Twitter for being "dumber and poorer" by losing billions of dollars and not "charging MUCH MORE" to Amazon and other shippers. The order calls for an examination of the Postal Service's pricing, policies and workforce costs. The Postal Service then delivers the packages to their destinations.

The president has suggested that raising shipping costs could help alleviate the USPS' financial burden.

The task force will be looking at issues that have been studied for years by multiple government bodies that have already issued recommendations and reports focusing on the financial stability of the Postal Service.

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The commission, to be headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, follows the lines of a commission created by President George W. Bush to study the postal service in 2003.

A White House official said the presidential order was meant to come up with solutions to the problems at the Postal Service. The post office's most recent fiscal report shows package and parcel delivery was up $1.6 billion, or 19%, last year, at a time when revenue from all other types of mail fell by $2.5 billion, or 4%. "Although we continue to win customers and grow our package business, these gains are not sufficient to offset continuing declines in our mail business, which is our main source of revenue and contribution", Postmaster General and CEO Megan Brennan said in February. However, experts have countered that the while the service does lose money delivering first class mail, e-commerce package deliveries are profitable.

The USPS has incurred $65 billion in cumulative losses since the Great Recession and has been unable to make payments required by law for its retiree health benefit obligations, which totaled more than $38 billion at the end of 2017.

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