President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Postal Service to undergo an audit Thursday evening, a move that comes after president's repeated claims that Amazon is fleecing the USPS through alleged unfair business practices.
For example, Trump's executive order requires the task force to review the definition of the "universal service obligation", which is a loosely defined mandate for the Postal Service to provide affordable service to all customers.
President Trump says the U.S. Postal System must operate under a sustainable business model and be able to fairly compete in commercial markets.
The Postal Service has lost more than $65 billion over the past decade as Americans increasingly transmit messages online, according to the executive order.
While the order does not specifically mention Amazon or its owner, Jeff Bezos, Trump has criticized the company for months, accusing it of not paying its fair share of taxes, harming the postal service, and putting brick-and-mortar stores out of business.
The task force, to be chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, will examine USPS financial woes and come up with solutions to make it profitable.
But the post office has benefited, more than suffered, from Amazon, financial analysts say.
The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006 made it illegal for the Postal Service to ship parcels at below cost.
Number one on the list of task force items to look into is the expansion and pricing of the package delivery market.
His Twitter attacks date back as far as 2013, when he scoffed at the agency for eliminating Saturday mail delivery ("our poor, poor Country", he wrote) and raising the cost of stamps.
Amazon regularly uses the Postal Service to complete what's called the "last mile" of delivery, with letter carriers dropping off packages at some 150 million residences and businesses daily.
Claims that Amazon is taking advantage of the Postal Service have not passed muster with fact checkers. However, federal law requires USPS to charge enough to cover the cost of delivering packages for companies like Amazon. "The PRC has also noted that competitive products help fund the infrastructure of the Postal Service". The fact is that the USPS receives no taxpayer dollars for operating expenses.
That's been the case since 1982, according to its most recent 10-K form.