President Donald Trump vowed not to approve financial assistance to the United States Postal Service unless certain conditions are met.
These conditions include overhauling how the USPS does business. At a time when the Postal Service is in dire need of financial help due to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump is using a $10 billion loan as leverage.
What Trump doesn’t seem to realize is that saving the USPS, rather than gambling with its future, would politically benefit him.
The USPS has been unprofitable for years but the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation more urgent.
Unless it gets federal funding, the USPS could run out of money by September. This would lead to layoffs at a time when the unemployment rate is surging. There were nearly half a million career USPS employees and over 100,000 non-career employees in 2019 .
A significant portion of Trump’s support is in rural America. Unfortunately, the collapse of the USPS would negatively impact rural voters disproportionately . This is because they are more reliant on the public service that other shipping firms might eschew.
Acceding to Trump’s demands isn’t good for the USPS or the rural voters either. Trump is demanding that the USPS increase its rates. Raising the rates would make the postal service more expensive, hurting the rural poor the most .
Additionally, Trump wants to weaken the authority of the postal service unions. This would reduce the bargaining power of postal service employees.
If donations are anything to go by, USPS employees prefer Donald Trump over any other presidential candidate still in the running.
Based on data filed on March 19th, Trump received nearly double the amount than his primary challenger Biden got from USPS employees. Trump received $80,380 from individuals working at the postal service. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden got $40,322.
The only presidential candidate who received more than Trump was Bernie Sanders, but he has since dropped out of the race. Sanders’ campaign kitty had received over $250,000 as of March 19th.
While setting out the conditions that the USPS needs to qualify for financial assistance from the federal government, Trump prominently mentioned Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) as being one of the firms fleecing the postal service.
Trump has previously railed against Amazon, accusing the online retail giant of turning the USPS into its “delivery boy” with the costs being borne by taxpayers.
It’s pointless to fight Amazon and, by extension Jeff Bezos. If Trump thinks he can punish Amazon by crippling the USPS, he is mistaken. The collapse of the postal service would no doubt hurt Amazon. But it would survive.
It’s in Trump’s interest to look beyond the feud, set aside his desire to punish Amazon, and prioritize saving the postal service. It is the more politically shrewd thing to do.