• Advertisement
To advertise, place classifieds free ads by category in a forum as a new topic, or in the classified display ads section, or start a classifieds free blog.

Amazon shares fall after report Trump wants to curb its power

Wall Street Journal warns Trump’s ‘political’ attacks on Amazon and Jeff Bezos could lead to impeachment

Postby smix » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:44 pm

Wall Street Journal warns Trump’s ‘political’ attacks on Amazon and Jeff Bezos could lead to impeachment
Raw Story

URL: https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/wall-s ... peachment/
Category: Politics
Published: March 31, 2018

Description: The conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal took President Donald Trump to task for his bizarre Thursday tweet attacking Amazon.com, saying the assault on the popular company appeared to be political in nature and that he could face impeachment should he decide to sic government agencies on the company. In the piece published on Friday morning, the WSJ board noted that Trump appears to be going after Amazon because it was founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, which has been highly critical of the Trump administration. On Thursday, Trump tweeted: “I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” The Journal noted that Trump got his facts wrong about the relationship between Amazon and the U.S. Post Office writing, “Mr. Trump’s other big gripe is that taxpayers are on the losing end of Amazon’s deal with the U.S. Postal Service. But that story is also more complicated. The Post Office has often operated at a net loss, but package volumes grew in fiscal 2017 by more than 11%, making it a rare growth market. Many of the additional 589 million boxes delivered last year came from Amazon.” “Though imperfect, the deal is mutually beneficial,” the editorial continued. “The Post Office arguably needs Amazon more than Amazon needs the Post Office. The Post Office could drop Amazon as a delivery partner, but it would likely have to raise prices elsewhere or endure higher losses. Would Mr. Trump take credit for that?” As for the possibility that Trump might try to compel officials in his administration to inflict damage on the company, the Journal warned Trump he might be flirting with disaster and impeachment. “Mr. Trump could try to unleash the Internal Revenue Service, though that would be a scandal that could be an impeachable offense,” the editorial cautioned. “The press and prosecutors would not give the Trump IRS the pass they gave Lois Lerner during the Obama years for targeting conservative nonprofits with extra scrutiny.” “Mr. Trump can rail against anyone he wants, but America is still a nation of laws, as Mr. Obama also discovered,” the editors concluded. “This is a lesson Mr. Trump’s critics forgot as they cried wolf over a fascist takeover. The political reality is that the more Mr. Trump publicly assails Amazon, the harder it will be to take regulatory action, deserved or not.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Here’s Why Trump Went Postal on Amazon

Postby admin » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:30 am



Image


User avatar
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 161
Images: 5
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Miami Beach, FL
Blog: View Blog (4)

Trump blasts Amazon — but his campaign used it regularly for office supplies

Postby smix » Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:48 pm

Trump blasts Amazon — but his campaign used it regularly for office supplies
CBS News

URL: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-tru ... cam-today/
Category: Politics
Published: March 31, 2018

Description: President Trump has blasted Amazon the last few days, alleging the e-commerce giant is taking advantage of the U.S. Postal Service and failing to pay enough in state and local taxes. Mr. Trump claims his criticisms of Amazon long predate his election. But Mr. Trump's presidential campaign relied on Amazon for office supplies regularly, spending $158,498.41 in 379 transactions labeled as office supply purchases in 2015 and 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records reviewed by CBS News. In the average transaction, Mr. Trump's campaign spent $418.20, and the most the campaign spent in a single transaction was $3,890. The Donald J. Trump for President committee continued to use Amazon well after the election, spending more than $2,000 in 2017, FEC records show. The president's claim that he has long voiced concerns with Amazon, since well before the election, doesn't seem to have deterred his campaign from — as many political campaigns, businesses and American families do — relying on the giant retailer for supplies regularly. The Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimates that the average Amazon Prime member spends $1,300 on Amazon in a year, compared with $700 a year for the average non-Amazon Prime member.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018

The White House has insisted Mr. Trump's criticisms of Amazon are strictly policy-related. But Mr. Trump expanded that attack on Saturday morning, claiming, without any evidence, that Amazon is using the Washington Post as a "lobbyist." Mr. Trump said the newspaper should "REGISTER" as such. The president's decision to bring the "fake" Washington Post into the conversation makes it more difficult for the White House to argue that Mr. Trump's concerns are strictly related to policy and to Amazon specifically. Both Amazon and the Washington Post are owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos.
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. 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...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018

Mr. Trump continues to insist Amazon is losing money the Postal Service should receive. So, is that the case? For one thing, the postal service has been losing money for 11 straight years, largely attributable to pension and health care costs. And a Citigroup analysis notes that the actual cost of shipping packages is roughly 50 percent more than what it currently charges. Amazon ships enough packages through the postal office to qualify for a bulk rate.



Does the post office actually lose money on Amazon?
CBS News

URL: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-con ... 3-31-2018/
Category: Business
Published: March 31, 2018

Description: President Trump continued his spat with e-commerce giant Amazon on Saturday, claiming the U.S. Postal Service will lose $1.50 "on average" for each package it delivers on behalf of the company.
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. 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...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018

The president also claimed, citing no evidence, that Amazon uses The Washington Post as a "lobbyist." In an article about Mr. Trump's tweets, The Washington Post said the accusation is false.
...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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018

On Thursday, Mr. Trump also alleged that the company's use of the Postal Service causes "tremendous loss to the U.S." in taxes and other revenue. Mr. Trump has previously blasted Amazon for making the postal service "dumber and poorer."
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018

There is little to these claims. While the postal service is struggling, it's not because of Amazon. In fact, package delivery is one of the few lines of business that's growing. The postal service has lost money for 11 straight years, mostly because of pension and health care costs. In 2017, the service lost $800 million on $69.7 billion operating revenue. Under a 2006 law, it must pre-fund 75 years' worth of retiree health benefits. Neither the government nor private companies are required to do that. (It has defaulted on those payments periodically, with the last one made in 2015). A widely cited Citigroup analysis from last year holds that the "true" cost of shipping packages for the Postal Service is about 50 percent higher than what it currently charges. "It is as if every Amazon box comes with a dollar or two stapled to the packing slip -- a gift card from Uncle Sam," read the ensuing editorials. But Citi arrived at that figure by re-allocating the Post Office's benefits costs -- not the costs specific to package delivery. The 2006 law also mandated that each line of business within the postal service cover its attributable costs. In other words, for the postal service to lose money on package delivery would be against the law.
How much does Amazon pay the postal service?
Amazon ships enough with the post office to qualify for bulk rates, giving it a significant volume discount that varies depending on package weight and number. (Here are the postal service's latest rates.) Amazon uses FedEx and UPS as well as well as its own fleet of carriers, but it often relies on the post office for 'last mile' delivery -- bringing a package to a customer's door. The post office in 2013 started to make Amazon deliveries on Sunday, but the agreement detailing those arrangements remains heavily redacted. Amazon has denied benefiting from postal service favoritism. "The Postal Regulatory Commission has consistently found that Amazon's contracts with the USPS are profitable," the company told Fortune last year. Packages and shipping are one area that's growing for the postal service, bringing in more than $19 billion in revenue last year even as volume of letters and magazines declined. In fact, its projected revenue growth "is driven entirely by increases in shipping and packages," the postal service said in its latest annual report.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Amazon Caused Donald Trump to Lose $400 Million Last Year

Postby smix » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:22 pm

Amazon Caused Donald Trump to Lose $400 Million Last Year
Politicus USA

URL: https://www.politicususa.com/2018/03/31 ... -year.html
Category: Politics
Published: March 31, 2018

Description: Now we know why Trump has been attacking Amazon so fiercely in the press recently. An article published in Fortune Magazine last fall stated that Donald Trump’s net worth dropped by more than $600 million last year, from $3.6 billion to $3.1 billion. What was unusual is that the article specifically attributed $400 million of the decline to Trump’s arch-nemesis, Amazon. According to the article, “Trump’s real estate holdings, specifically those in New York City, have taken a big hit in the past year, as retail values are struggling in response to Amazon’s e-commerce gains.” Just today Trump went off the rails tweeting crazy accusations about Amazon that all intelligent people know are untrue. (This of course excludes most of Trump’s base of supporters.) Fortune cited the Forbes 400 List of wealthiest Americans and an article run by Forbes called “The Definitive Net Worth of Donald Trump” which was updated in February 2018 and confirmed they estimate Trump’s net worth at $3.1 billion. According to Forbes, Trump dropped from 156th on the “Forbes 400” list down to 248th. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, took the number two spot on the Forbes list for the second straight year, with an $81.5 billion net worth. This helps explain why Trump is acting more irrationally and attacking Bezos and Amazon. “A dip in New York City’s real estate market that has hit retail particularly hard. “Values of several Manhattan properties, particularly those on or near Fifth Avenue, have dropped, shaving nearly $400 million off Trump’s fortune,” the magazine said. The Fortune article contains this passage which explains the connection between Amazon and Trump’s net worth: “Appearing on CNN, Forbes assistant managing editor Kerry Dolan leveled blame for Trump’s real estate losses on e-commerce’s domination over retail, mentioning Amazon.” Dolan said that “retailers are suffering—even on the high end. It would appear that Amazon’s strategy of e-commerce over brick and mortar retail is winning, and that is having an effect on real estate values,” she added.” There have been many reports that Trump is over-leveraged and many of his hotel and resort properties have declining revenues. Not only that, but many of his real estate licensing deals are falling apart as the Trump name becomes toxic. One article in January discussed these problems in detail, asking “Is This The Beginning of the End of Trump’s Real Estate Empire?” If retail occupancy keeps going down due to the “retail apocalypse” and if his hotel and licensing revenues keep going down, Trump may get overwhelmed with his debt payments, because everybody knows his “empire” was built on borrowed money. This heavy leveraging has caused him to file bankruptcy many times in the past, and it could happen again. If it does happen, there is no doubt who he will blame: Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Amazon Caused Donald Trump to Lose $400 Million in Net Worth, Says Forbes

Postby smix » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:26 pm

Amazon Caused Donald Trump to Lose $400 Million in Net Worth, Says Forbes
Fortune

URL: http://fortune.com/2017/10/17/amazon-do ... th-forbes/
Category: Business
Published: October 17, 2017

Description: President Donald Trump’s net worth declined by more than $600 million in the past year, according to the Forbes 400 List of the richest people in America. However surprising Trump’s loss may be, the reason for it is even more unexpected. Trump’s real estate holdings, specifically those in New York City, have taken a big hit in the past year, as retail values are struggling in response to Amazon’s e-commerce gains. According to Forbes research, the president is worth $3.1 billion, down from $3.7 billion a year ago. The loss has him moving from 156th on the list down to 248th. In accounting for the president’s $600 million write-down, the magazine cited the presidential campaign, which eroded his personal wealth, an expensive lawsuit, a dip in New York City’s real estate market that has hit retail particularly hard. “Values of several Manhattan properties, particularly those on or near Fifth Avenue, have dropped, shaving nearly $400 million off his fortune,” the magazine says. Appearing on CNN Tuesday, Forbes assistant managing editor Kerry Dolan leveled blame for Trump’s real estate losses on e-commerce’s domination over retail, mentioning Amazon. Specifically citing the lease of the Niketown store and the Trump Tower property, Dolan said that retailers are suffering—even on the high end. It would appear that Amazon’s strategy of e-commerce over brick and mortar retail is winning, and that is having an effect on real estate values, she added. Without Trump’s taxes and full financial releases, it’s difficult to get a full picture of the president’s net worth. But as it applies to his real estate losses, Dolan is confident in Forbes analysis. “We talked to tons and tons of real estate brokers who are super familiar with the properties, particularly in Manhattan,” she told CNN. Outside of retail and New York, another hole in Trump’s wallet is the Trump International Hotel, said Dolan. The magazine had been in touch with Trump’s finance people, who said that in the past year, Trump had taken on a $170 million construction loan to complete the property’s construction. So, even though the hotel may be doing well, said Dolan, the property’s net worth is still down. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, took the number two spot on the Forbes list for the second straight year, with an $81.5 billion net worth.



Trump’s Feud With Amazon Has Nothing to Do With Defending the Postal Service
Fortune

URL: http://fortune.com/2018/05/19/trump-ama ... -office-2/
Category: Politics
Published: May 19, 2018

Description: News emerged yesterday that President Donald Trump allegedly personally pressured Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double what it charges Amazon.com and other companies to ship packages. That’s a shockingly direct effort to harm a U.S. business by a sitting president, especially since even Trump’s allies have acknowledged that his ongoing campaign against Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos is motivated largely by a personal and political grudge. The reports about Brennan make the personal nature of Trump’s statements more obvious than ever. Trump has framed his stance on shipping rates as a defense of the Post Office, which he claims is losing money on its contract with Amazon. But Brennan herself has reportedly tried to convince the president he’s incorrect. According to the Washington Post, Brennan has explained, in conversations with Trump stretching back at least to 2017, that the Post Office’s relationship with Amazon is beneficial. Those arguments, from the head of the body he claims to be going to bat for, seem irrelevant to Trump. The president has reiterated his claims that Amazon is ripping off the USPS regularly since the start of his reported conversations with Brennan, including in late March and early April. At the same time, he made inaccurate claims that Amazon didn’t collect state sales taxes. One factor that appears to have escalated Trump’s campaign to directly interfere with a contractual business relationship is the resignation of economic advisor Gary Cohn in March. According to sources speaking with Vanity Fair in early April, Cohn had previously tried to explain to Trump that Amazon packages help maintain Post Office revenue as letter mail volumes decline. Similar efforts by staffers have been reported by multiple outlets, including when a source told Axios that “It’s been explained to [Trump] in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon.” (Notably, Cohn had also opposed Trump’s push for trade tariffs, which have since moved forward despite broad consensus that they could cost the U.S. jobs and harm the global economy.) Trump’s persistence in the face of reasoned counterarguments from knowledgeable authorities and his own staff is all too easy to explain. It’s all about the Washington Post, which has been frequently critical of Trump, and is also owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Trump has frequently mentioned the Post in conjunction with his claims about Amazon and the USPS, including claiming that the Post is a “lobbyist” for Amazon. A source speaking to Vanity Fair painted an even clearer picture, saying: “[Trump] gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos . . . Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?” But the Post has said Bezos does not influence its reporting, and conservative critics have even argued that Bezos is not interfering enough with the Post’s editorial work. Claims about the USPS’s business practices, then, appear to be just one convenient line of attack in a fundamentally tangential feud. And according to Vanity Fair’s sources, Trump’s war on Amazon could expand to other fronts, including canceling government contracts and encouraging Republican state Attorneys General to open investigations into the company’s business practices. While his attacks on Amazon have so far been mostly bully-pulpit rhetoric, his direct pressuring of Brennan – along with his recent creation of a task force to review USPS business practices – shows this president is willing to directly use his office to harm a business run by a perceived opponent.



Did Trump Use 'Instruments of State Power' to Punish AT&T and Amazon? Democrats Intend to Find Out
Fortune

URL: http://fortune.com/2018/11/12/democrats ... tt-amazon/
Category: Politics
Published: November 12, 2018

Description: Now that they’re about to control the House, Democrats are planning to investigate Trump administration activities that appeared to be aimed at hurting major media concerns—namely the attempted blockage of the AT&T-Time Warner merger and the targeting of Amazon over its postal rates. Adam Schiff, the incoming House intelligence committee chair, told Axios Sunday that it remained an open question as to whether the attempted blockage of the AT&T-Time Warner merger was “a concern over antitrust or whether this was an effort merely to punish CNN.” CNN, a frequent target of President Trump’s ire, was a subsidiary of Time Warner, which has been known as WarnerMedia since the takeover closed in the middle of the year. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in May that the attempt to block the merger was directed by the White House, only for the White House to then claim he got it wrong, and that it was the Justice Department’s call. As for Trump’s squabble with Amazon, which is supposedly about Amazon taking advantage of the Post Office, Schiff said this was likely “an effort by the president to use the instruments of state power to punish Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post”—the Amazon CEO bought that paper, which went on to be highly critical of Trump, five years ago. Schiff claimed Trump had secretly met with the postmaster general in order to “browbeat” him into raising Amazon’s postal rates. According to Axios, the Dems now have at least 85 avenues of investigation that they can take regarding the president and his dealings. The subjects range from Trump’s tax returns and possible emoluments clause violations to his family separation policy and election security issues. Trump has warned the Democrats against investigating him, saying: “If that happens, then we’re going to do the same thing, and government would come to a halt, and we’re going to blame them.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Why Conservatives Tolerate Trump’s Crony Capitalism

Postby smix » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:04 pm

Why Conservatives Tolerate Trump’s Crony Capitalism
The New Republic

URL: https://newrepublic.com/article/147701/ ... capitalism
Category: Politics
Published: March 30, 2018

Description: The president's attacks on Amazon aren't of much concern to big-business Republicans. In fact, they're indulging him.
President Donald Trump loves touting the success of the stock market under his watch, but this week he seems to have deliberately tried to sink the fortune of one company. On Wednesday, Axios reported that Trump is “obsessed” with Amazon and has contemplated using antitrust laws to break up the online retailer. While Trump’s hostility toward Amazon is long-standing, the Axios article caused Amazon shares to fall by almost 5 percent within hours. Trump seems to have regarded that as a victory, so he followed up with a tweet Thursday morning:
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018

Trump’s reasons for hating Amazon are personal. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, a newspaper often critical of the president. In fact, Trump has a tendency to conflate the two companies. “Almost too obvious to say, but Trump’s Amazon-bashing has always been inseparable from his media-bashing,” Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale tweeted. “The president is going after the owner of a newspaper that aggressively investigates him.” As a former real-estate magnate, Trump also seems to have an instinctive dislike for an internet service that is hurting brick-and-mortar retailing. The prospect of an American president going after a private business out of personal pique is alarming, yet American conservatives, the normal defenders of big business, have been surprisingly silent. This is all the more striking since they were so vocal in criticizing Trump’s predecessor for allegedly meddling in the economy by favoring some firms over others. In 2012, Mitt Romney complained that Barack Obama was “practicing crony capitalism. And if you want to get America going again, you’ve got to stop the spread of crony capitalism.” Four years later, Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, made a similar complaint: “Elites in Washington should NOT be picking winners & losers—that’s a recipe for a closed economy—for cronyism.” Yet, with a few exceptions, like The Weekly Standard’s Charlie Sykes, there has been a reluctance on the political right to apply the same criticism to Trump. “Conservatives, I think, ought to be really alarmed by the precedence set here,” Sykes said on the Daily Standard podcast:
Here you have the potential of the kind of crony capitalism or the abuse of power where the president or others in power in the federal government pick and choose the winners and losers. They decide: ‘We’re going to reward you; we’re going to punish you. If in fact you engage in criticism of the administration, we’re prepared to vindictively go after you.’ Of all the groups in American society that ought to be most concerned about that kind of abuse of government power, I would think that free-market conservatives should be at the top of the list, but I’m frankly not going to hold my breath there.

Sykes is accurate in noting that his complaint won’t be widely echoed by his erstwhile ideological allies. As New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait noted, Republicans have learned to love crony capitalism under Trump, with many GOP officials openly adopting policies to promote specific industries. Trump’s earlier attacks on companies like Boeing, for example, have been similarly indulged. Yet, though the Republican shift is partly a matter of partisan politics, there are also other factors at work. In an age when Facebook is under attack for selling user data, the political tide is turning against Silicon Valley as a whole. Amazon then is a convenient scapegoat for the larger bipartisan ire against digital capitalism. Indeed, even some liberals agree with Trump’s complaints about Amazon. For some Republicans, standing by while Trump goes after Amazon might just be the perfect safety valve for releasing their own public anger at Silicon Valley. The recent attacks have the added benefit that Trump’s bark is almost certainly worse than his bite. As Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman notes, Trump has few mechanisms for actually punishing Amazon, especially since his political appointees are averse to regulating business. “[T]argeting a corporation would take some time and planning,” Waldman observes. “How would you go about it? In Amazon’s case, you could pursue some kind of antitrust case, but then you’d have to involve the Justice Department, which oversees such actions. I’m 99.99 percent sure that if you asked Trump who his assistant attorney general for antitrust is, he wouldn’t be able to tell you.” It’s true that Trump’s Twitter tirades can have a short-term effect on the stock market. But the evidence suggests that this effect isn’t long-lasting, and most companies rebound. It’s true Trump is practicing a kind of crony capitalism, but as with so much of his administration, there’s a large element of theater to it. For Republican politicians, this might be the best of both worlds. Trump’s attacks on individual companies offer a kind of psychic release for generalized anger at big digital business, but with the benefit that the president’s tirades don’t really have an effect on capitalism itself. In the meantime, the business class can enjoy Trump’s actual policies: tax cuts and deregulation.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Why Amazon Investors Shouldn't Worry Too Much About Trump's Tweets

Postby smix » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:50 pm

Why Amazon Investors Shouldn't Worry Too Much About Trump's Tweets
TheStreet

URL: https://www.thestreet.com/story/1454204 ... weets.html
Category: Business
Published: April 2, 2018

Description: Amazon is arguably getting favorable pricing from the USPS. But just how favorable is up for debate.
Is Amazon.com really getting below-market pricing from the U.S. Postal Service? Perhaps -- but the cost to the USPS doesn't appear to be as high as President Trump and some media reports have suggested. And in the event that the postal agency does demand better terms, Amazon has some ways to offset the hit. Over the past week, President Trump once again accused Amazon of getting favorable treatment from the USPS that leads to billions of dollars in losses for the postal agency. In a pair of March 31 tweets, Trump wrote that a New York Times report stated the USPS will "lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon," and that "Amazon's shipping costs would rise by $2.6 billion" if the agency raised its parcel rates.
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. 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...
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018

...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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018

The tweets follow an Axios report stating Trump is "obsessed with Amazon" and has "wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law." Trump-related worries appear to have added to the losses Amazon has seen during a broad-based tech selloff. Its shares are now down 16% from an early-March peak of $1,617; they're still up 53% over the last 12 months, however. To clarify, the NYT report cited by Trump didn't directly claim the USPS isn't getting its fair share from Amazon, but rather mentioned an April 2017 Citigroup report which argued the USPS is assigning too small a share of its operational fixed costs to "competitive products" such as parcel delivery relative to "market-dominant products" such as first-class mail. Under a 2006 law, the USPS assigns "competitive products" just a 5.5% share of its fixed costs, even though parcel delivery now accounts for over 20% of its revenue. Citi notes that in 2015, UPS (UPS) argued that these products should be assigned a 24.6% share of fixed costs (it later argued 29%). The firm estimated that if the USPS were to do this, it would raise its average price charged per parcel by $1.46 in fiscal 2017 (ended in September) to $4.97. Due to higher volumes, the needed price hike would drop to $1.41 in fiscal 2018 and $1.36 in fiscal 2019. Using some back-of-the-envelope math, Citi estimated such a move could increase Amazon's U.S. shipping costs by $2.6 billion due to both higher USPS prices and the price hikes UPS and FedEx would carry out in response. This estimate would have been a little higher still if Citi hadn't underestimated how much Amazon would spend globally on shipping in 2017 ($19.7 billion versus a reported $21.7 billion). Any big increase in shipping costs would dent Amazon's gross margin (GM), which has been steadily expanding thanks to a revenue mix shift towards higher-margin offerings such as third-party seller services, ads, subscriptions and AWS services. GM rose to 37.1% last year from a 2016 level of 35.1%, and is forecast on average by analysts to rise to 38.2% this year. But while Citi makes a decent case that the USPS is charging a little less than it should for parcel delivery, it's hardly clear that the price hike needs to be anywhere near $1.50 per package. For beginners, UPS is hardly an impartial observer when it comes to commenting on the USPS's cost structure. Though "competitive products" should quite likely account for more than 5.5% of the agency's fixed costs, an appropriate figure might still be below 20%, given that parcels (though representing a large percentage of mail weight and volume size) account for a relatively small percentage of mail units to be sorted and handled. In addition, thanks in part to parcel delivery growth, the USPS performed better in fiscal 2017 than Citi thought it would. Whereas Citi estimated the USPS would see its shortfall rise to $8.3 billion in fiscal 2017, the company's reported net loss fell to $2.7 billion from a prior-year level of $5.6 billion. A $2.2 billion drop in the agency's workers' compensation liability helped, but so did an 11.4% increase in package shipment volume, which helped offset large volume declines elsewhere. Even if Citi's shortfall estimate had been accurate, and even if one accepts the USPS cost estimate, Citi notes (in a section of its report titled "Why This Impact Is Overstated") that the effect of a parcel price hike on Amazon's shipping expenses would likely be less than $2.6 billion. Among its reasons: The USPS has other options to eliminate its shortfall, such as postage price hikes and legislative relief from funding obligations; any parcel price hikes would likely take years to be fully implemented; and much of Amazon's business with UPS and FedEx involves air freight services that might not see price hikes in response to USPS ground rate increases. Moreover, as Citi points out, giant warehouse and logistics infrastructure gives Amazon both options for keeping its shipping costs down in the event a delivery partner hikes prices, and also bargaining power with these partners. And needless to say, the company's massive and ever-growing shipping volumes give it a lot of negotiating leverage -- especially with a partner seeing declining volumes elsewhere. Looking further down the line, Amazon's non-stop warehouse-building spree is bound to continue lowering its per-unit shipping costs by reducing the average distance a package needs to travel. And so will its big internal logistics investments, which have included building a network of sorting centers, buying thousands of truck trailers and leasing a fleet of Boeing 767 jets to move goods between warehouses. The company's purchases of property and equipment, much of which is related to retail infrastructure investments, rose 53% last year to $12 billion. And though it's still early days, one also can't overlook Amazon's budding efforts to handle a portion of its last-mile delivery needs on its own. The company has been rapidly growing the footprint for its Prime Now 2-hour delivery services, which rely on contract workers hired by Amazon, and is also reportedly set to launch a service for businesses (called Shipping with Amazon) through which it will handle package pickup and delivery in certain cities. For all these reasons, investors shouldn't panic over Trump's USPS-related attacks on Amazon. If and when they arrive, it's hardly a given that any USPS price hikes will take a massive toll on Amazon's bottom line.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

To Trump, It’s the ‘Amazon Washington Post.’ To Its Editor, That’s Baloney.

Postby smix » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:05 am

To Trump, It’s the ‘Amazon Washington Post.’ To Its Editor, That’s Baloney.
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/02/busi ... loney.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 2, 2018

Description: Amazon does not own The Washington Post. President Trump, however — impervious to certain facts and armed with a Twitter account — has tried hard to convince the public otherwise. On more than one occasion, the president has called the newspaper the “Amazon Washington Post.” He has also accused it of being used as a “scam” to keep Amazon’s taxes low. And on Twitter over the weekend, he escalated his attack, declaring the “Fake Washington Post” a “lobbyist” for Amazon and demanding that it “REGISTER.” Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, bought The Post for $250 million in 2013. Under his ownership, the paper has flourished. Buoyed by new resources, it has added more than 200 newsroom employees and recently surpassed one million digital subscribers. While Mr. Bezos has reinvigorated The Post, he has found himself vulnerable to the president’s attacks. Since 2015, Mr. Trump has linked The Post and Amazon on Twitter a dozen times. “If @amazon ever had to pay fair taxes, its stock would crash and it would crumble like a paper bag. The @washingtonpost scam is saving it!” Mr. Trump tweeted in December 2015. “The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!” he wrote in June last year. “Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?” he tweeted the next month. How do the president’s broadsides play inside The Post’s newsroom? “I don’t even know how to describe what goes through my mind,” Martin Baron, the paper’s executive editor, said in a telephone interview on Monday. “It’s completely made up.” People close to the president have said critical articles in The Post often trigger his public musings about Amazon. Last week, after The Post reported that Mr. Trump’s lawyer had raised the prospect of offering pardons to two of Mr. Trump’s former top advisers, Michael Flynn and Paul J. Manafort, Mr. Trump fired off a tweet saying that Amazon did not pay enough taxes and was “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.” (The Post’s report on the talk of pardons followed an article on that subject in The New York Times, which has also drawn the president’s wrath on Twitter.) It is not clear which article, if any, set off Mr. Trump’s Saturday morning barrage against Amazon and The Post. The paper had published an article on Friday about the Trump Organization’s finances, which it described as being “under unprecedented assault a year into his presidency” because of legal reviews. Mr. Trump’s tweeted criticisms of Mr. Bezos, Amazon and The Post may not have much bite. Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, told reporters last week that “the president has expressed his concerns with Amazon,” adding, “We have no actions at this time.” The president’s tweet storm may have had one real-world effect, however: Amazon’s stock fell 5.2 percent on Monday, a day when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index dropped 2.2 percent. As the group of wealthy business leaders who own newspapers grows — Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire medical entrepreneur, agreed in February to buy The Los Angeles Times — Mr. Trump’s blasts at Mr. Bezos and Amazon could provide a template for future lines of attack against individuals and companies with ties to news organizations whose coverage he does not like. “Do I think it’s a bad thing that the president is attacking a news outlet, period? Yes,” said Indira Lakshmanan, who holds the Newmark chair in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute, a center for media studies. “And that he’s attacking a business owned by an owner of a media company? Yes, if there are no grounds for it.” On Monday, Mr. Baron said The Post was not cowed by Mr. Trump’s invectives. “We cover him the way that we feel any president should be covered,” he said. After Mr. Trump’s tweets on Saturday, the paper published an article under the headline “Trump accuses Amazon of ‘Post Office scam,’ falsely says The Post is company’s lobbyist.” Mr. Baron also rebuffed any suggestion that The Post was a lobbyist for Amazon, as Mr. Trump has proclaimed at times. “There isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon,” he said. “Not one penny.” (Drew Herdener, an Amazon spokesman, declined to comment or to provide an interview with Mr. Bezos.) Mr. Bezos holds conference calls with The Post’s leadership every other week to discuss the paper’s business strategy but has no involvement in its news coverage, Mr. Baron said. During his occasional appearances at The Post’s building, Mr. Bezos sometimes stops by a news meeting “just to thank everybody,” Mr. Baron said. “I can’t say more emphatically he’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” the editor said. “Frankly, in a newsroom of 800 journalists, if that had occurred, I guarantee you, you would have heard about it,” he added. “Newsrooms tend not to like those kinds of interventions, particularly a newsroom that’s as proud as The Washington Post. “If he had been involved in our news coverage, you can be sure that you would have heard about it by now,” Mr. Baron added. “It hasn’t happened. Period.” Mr. Bezos’ hands-off approach extends to The Post’s coverage of Amazon. During a town hall-style meeting held before his deal for The Post was completed, he told the paper’s employees that they should cover him as they would any other business executive and treat Amazon no differently from any other company, Mr. Baron said. “He’s reiterated that to me any number of times,” he said. “He doesn’t get involved. I’ve never heard from him on any story that we’ve written about Amazon, and we’ve had any number of them that are critical.” By Monday morning, it seemed that Mr. Trump had found a new target. “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” the president tweeted, responding to negative reports over the weekend about the Sinclair Broadcast Group. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”



Amazon Has Lots of Company as Trump Slams ‘Stupid’ Businesses
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/us/p ... mazon.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 3, 2018

Description: WASHINGTON — Amazon, you’re not alone. President Trump once accused Verizon of making “a STUPID deal” for AOL. He ridiculed Coca-Cola as “garbage” — but said he would keep drinking it. He called both H&R Block and Nordstrom “terrible.” He said Sony had “really stupid leadership” and described executives at S&P Global, a financial firm, as “losers.” Before and after he became president, Mr. Trump attacked tech firms, military contractors, carmakers, cellphone companies, financial firms, drug companies, air-conditioner makers, sports leagues, Wall Street giants — and many, many media companies, which he has labeled “shameful,” “dishonest,” “true garbage,” “really dumb,” “phony,” “failing” and, broadly, “the enemy of the American people.” Lately, Mr. Trump’s antibusiness rants have become particularly menacing and caused the stocks of some companies to plunge. His Twitter posts have carried with them the threat, sometimes explicit, that he is prepared to use the power of the presidency to undermine the companies that anger him. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, long a booster of Republican presidents, is not happy. “It’s inappropriate for government officials to use their position to attack an American company,” said Neil Bradley, the executive vice president and chief policy officer of the chamber. Mr. Bradley, who did not specifically name Mr. Trump, added that criticism of companies from politicians “undermines economic growth and job creation.” Amazon’s stock price dropped sharply before rebounding this week after Mr. Trump threatened the company with possible antitrust action. The president’s remark in November that the merger of AT&T and Time Warner would not be “good for the country” roiled the continuing antitrust fight between the companies and the government. His earlier complaint on Twitter that Boeing’s $4 billion price for a new generation of Air Force One was “out of control” forced a fresh round of negotiations, although the price fell only to $3.9 billion. Most presidents have clashed with business interests and industries, sometimes in ways that generated headlines. But Mr. Trump is unique in singling out individual companies for ridicule with regularity. And rarely have presidents done so because of a personal pique or grudge, as happens with Mr. Trump. “This is an unprecedented situation for companies. The president’s tweets can cause significant reputational harm,” said Dean C. Garfield, the president of the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents big technology companies like Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Google and IBM. “We are now at a place where about 90 percent of the companies we represent now have a presidential Twitter strategy in place.” “It’s no laughing matter,” he said. For many companies, that strategy comes down to waiting out the storm. In recent days, Amazon has all but ignored the president’s taunts, which he issued in a flurry of tweets. “There’s no real advantage going toe-to-toe with him,” said Joe Lockhart, a press secretary for President Bill Clinton who was a spokesman for the National Football League, another favorite target of Mr. Trump. “And his attention span is so short, he will move on. He’ll find another target.” Associates say the president is often riled up by Amazon’s connection to The Washington Post, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, founded the retail giant. People close to the president have said his attacks on one of the country’s largest businesses have usually been prompted by articles in The Post that Mr. Trump perceives as negative. Likewise, the president’s interest in the AT&T merger with Time Warner largely stems from his repeated clashes with CNN, a subsidiary of Time Warner, which he regards as biased against him. Mr. Trump’s lashing out at the N.F.L. — he has repeatedly criticized football players for kneeling at games and once said he hoped a player “sues the hell out of the @nfl for incompetence & defamation” — comes in part from his decades-long legal fight with the N.F.L. after he bought a team in the competing United States Football League. As a private citizen, Mr. Trump has attacked companies, including calling several times for boycotts. The remarks served to raise his profile and fed the image of a no-holds-barred businessman who was unafraid to rebuke his rivals or his critics. But in those days, such comments had little ability to move stock prices or affect sales. As a candidate and as the president, Mr. Trump also uses his verbal assaults on companies to bolster his populist message that he is on the side of workers, not big business. (Still, Mr. Trump secured a large tax cut last year for corporate America.) Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters say they appreciate his willingness to criticize the corporate establishment. “He continues to go directly after the companies and not care about political correctness,” said Terry Bowman, a former Trump campaign organizer who works at a Ford Motor parts factory in Ypsilanti, Mich. “He says things that a polished politician would never say. He says things that come directly from the American worker.” President Barack Obama once singled out Staples, the office supply company, for failing to provide more health care for its employees. “Shame on them,” he said. Earlier in his presidency, Mr. Obama broadly criticized Wall Street bankers whose firms took federal bailout money only to turn around and award bonuses to their executives. “That is the height of irresponsibility,” Mr. Obama said in 2009 without identifying specific companies. “It is shameful.” Mr. Clinton’s Justice Department aggressively pushed to break up Microsoft on the grounds that it was abusing its monopoly position in personal computing to dominate the internet. President John F. Kennedy avoided naming individuals during a fight with the steel industry in 1962. He criticized “a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt assailed the “malefactors of great wealth” without identifying them. Mr. Trump has had no such reticence. In his most recent attacks on Amazon, he has accused the company of using the United States Postal Service as “its Delivery Boy” and claimed that the federal agency was being ripped off by the online retailer. On Tuesday, he insisted that he was right. “A report just came out. They said $1.47, I believe, or about that for every time they deliver a package, the United States government — meaning the post office — loses $1.47,” the president said. He added, ominously: “So Amazon is going to have to pay much more money to the post office. There’s no doubt about that.” Mr. Trump’s numbers were inaccurate — the Postal Service makes money from Amazon — but business executives say such statements have a chilling effect. When Merck’s chief executive, Kenneth C. Frazier, quit a presidential business council last year in protest of some of the White House’s policy positions, other members were initially reluctant to come to his defense for fear of a verbal attack by Mr. Trump. The council eventually disbanded but only after much internal negotiation among members to quit in force. The multiday decline of Amazon’s stock price after Mr. Trump’s repeated jabs at the company has exacerbated such fears, said Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management and president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute. “Other business leaders don’t want to catch the contagion,” he said. But he added that refusing to engage could also be risky. He said that Mr. Bezos’s silence had hurt the company, leaving it exposed to Mr. Trump’s accusations that it received subsidies from the Postal Service and was not paying its fair share of taxes. “The right answer for C.E.O.s is not to engage in a mud fight but to come with facts,” Mr. Sonnenfeld said. “U.P.S. and FedEx have their facts, but we haven’t heard from Amazon.”



Trump, Having Denounced Amazon’s Shipping Deal, Orders Review of Postal Service
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/us/p ... mazon.html
Category: Politics
Published: April 12, 2018

Description: WASHINGTON — President Trump abruptly issued an executive order on Thursday demanding an evaluation of the Postal Service’s finances, asserting the power of his office weeks after accusing Amazon, the online retail giant, of not paying its fair share in postage. In the executive order, issued just before 9 p.m., Mr. Trump created a task force to examine the service’s “unsustainable financial path” and directed the new panel to “conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the U.S.P.S.” The president does not mention Amazon in the order, but it is clear that he intends for the panel to substantiate his repeated claim that the financial arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon, its biggest shipper of packages, is a money loser. In December, Mr. Trump railed against the service on Twitter for being “dumber and poorer” by losing billions of dollars and not “charging MUCH MORE” to Amazon and other shippers. His Twitter attacks date back as far as 2013, when he scoffed at the service for planning to eliminate Saturday mail delivery — “our poor, poor Country,” he wrote — and raising the cost of stamps. Postal Service experts and even Mr. Trump’s own advisers have privately urged him to back off the accusations, noting that the huge number of packages shipped by Amazon is actually helping to keep the Postal Service financially solvent. While the service has consistently reported net losses for a decade, much of its financial woes are the result of a prolonged decline in the volume of marketing mail and first-class mail. The service makes money on packages, and Amazon is the service’s biggest single shipper of packages. But the president has refused to believe those arguments, insisting in a tweet as recently as March 31 that “the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon.” “That amounts to Billions of Dollars,” he continued. Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks on Amazon have focused in part on the company’s billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post. People close to Mr. Trump have said the president’s tirades against the retailer often come after The Post has published negative articles about him. “The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!” he wrote last June. “Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?” he wondered the next month. At one point last month, Amazon’s stock price tumbled after Mr. Trump’s tweets and a suggestion that he might direct the government to take action against the company. Drew Herdener, an Amazon spokesman, declined to comment late Thursday. But until Thursday night, Mr. Trump had limited his attacks to ones on Twitter. The White House had said the president did not have immediate plans to take any action against Amazon and had given no warning that the executive order was coming. In the order, the president calls on the task force to examine various parts of the Postal Service’s business, including ones that appear to directly involve large part’s of Amazon’s business. That includes the “expansion and pricing” of the package delivery market and the service’s role in competing with other, private delivery companies. The task force should look at the decline in mail volume and the implications for the service, Mr. Trump said. The order also calls for the task force to look at the service’s “universal service obligation,” which requires the service to deliver to everyone in the United States, given changes in technology and e-commerce. Some parts of the order appear to hint at further privatization of the Postal Service, indicating that members of the task force should examine “the U.S.P.S. role in the U.S. economy and in rural areas, communities, and small towns.” In the order, Mr. Trump said that the longstanding financial problems at the Postal Service demand some kind of action. “A number of factors, including the steep decline in First-Class Mail volume, coupled with legal mandates that compel the U.S.P.S. to incur substantial and inflexible costs, have resulted in a structural deficit,” Mr. Trump says in the order. “The U.S.P.S. is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” It is unclear how quickly the task force will be assembled, or when its review might result in changes at the Postal Service that could directly affect Amazon and other shippers. In May, Mr. Trump created a similar commission to examine what he said was evidence of large-scale voter fraud in the 2016 election — a claim that was repeatedly debunked by election experts from both major political parties. But he dissolved the commission in January after several legal challenges and a lack of cooperation from Democratic and Republican election officials in a number of states. In the case of the Postal Service order on Thursday night, Mr. Trump demanded that a report of findings be delivered to him by summer’s end. He urged the task force to recommend administrative and legislative changes that could be made. Those recommendations could take into account previous studies, including a 2017 analysis by Citigroup, which concluded that the service was charging below market rates for package delivery. The report estimated that if the service increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by about $2.6 billion. Some of that money would presumably go to the Postal Service, which in 2014 handled 40 percent of Amazon’s packages, according to one 2015 estimate. Mr. Trump’s task force does not address the president’s other complaint about Amazon: that the online retailer fails to pay sales taxes, giving it an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar businesses. In fact, while Amazon used to benefit from tax-free sales, it now charges sales tax on the sale of virtually all of its own products. Many third-party merchants who use the service to sell their own goods on Amazon’s sites still do not charge sales tax.



When the President Takes On Amazon, Nobody Wins
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/busi ... onomy.html
Category: Business
Published: May 18, 2018

Description: If President Trump resumes his fight with Amazon, the ultimate loser is clear: It will be the American economy. Economists are a disputatious bunch, but across the political spectrum we agree on one thing: Politicians shouldn’t be attacking specific companies based on their own whims or preferences. The president has attacked Amazon on two fronts. First, he asserted that Amazon has avoided paying taxes. Second, he claimed that the United States Postal Service loses money delivering Amazon’s packages. These claims have been fact-checked and their merits argued at length. They do not stand up to close scrutiny. But putting the factual basis of these claims aside, there is another problem that may even be even bigger: The president was unnecessarily specific about a single company. Some economic interventions necessarily pinpoint particular companies. When talking about the major credit rating agencies, for example, it’s hard to avoid talking about the big three: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. That isn’t the case here. The issues the president raised about Amazon actually apply to large parts of the economy. For example, every retail transaction on the web raises the thorny issue of how to handle local sales taxes. But Amazon itself collects taxes for 45 states and the District of Columbia. Some retailers do not even do that. For example, the online store owned by the Trump Organization, Trumpstore.com collects taxes only on orders shipped to three states. But Mr. Trump has not complained about that store, or about most others. He does not appear to be fostering a policy discussion about local sales taxes in a connected economy; instead there is reason to suspect that the president has used his political muscle to target a firm he simply dislikes. Shortly after he began attacking Amazon on Twitter, the president issued an executive order demanding that the Postal Service review its finances. As The Times has reported, while that order made no mention of Amazon, it appeared that he was seeking “to substantiate his repeated claim that the financial arrangement between the Postal Service and Amazon, its biggest shipper of packages, is a money loser.” Political interference in markets is always dangerous. But when it is narrowly targeted, it is particularly so. First, such interference creates unclear rules. Any sports fan knows the frustration of watching a game with arbitrary and unpredictable refereeing. Consistency is equally important for a well-functioning economy. Capricious refereeing complicates managerial decision-making. It distorts cost-benefit calculations, delaying decisions and wasting resources. Second, political targeting opens the door to various forms of corruption. When politicians play an outsized role in the economy, companies must curry their favor. This is obvious in many countries, particularly poor ones, where politicians interfere heavily in local economies by deciding such matters as which companies will get a license to operate and which will be audited by the tax authority. Managers must focus as much effort on catering to politicians as to customers, not just through campaign contributions but through bribes, both subtle and overt. These incentives don’t merely warp the economy. They alter the political sphere, too. Companies have many tools at their disposal when they seek to influence politicians. A few weeks before an election, a company seeking to help a candidate can announce a major plant opening. Or it can cut prices in response to a politician’s entreaties. In France, one study found that politically connected chief executives created jobs and opened factories when doing so would help local politicians win re-election. Another study found that American companies have directed their philanthropy to gain favor with congressmen. Taken to an extreme, political favor can become a corporate asset, one that easily depreciates in value. Raymond Fisman, now an economist at Boston University, demonstrated this by studying corporate performance during President Suharto’s 32-year dictatorship in Indonesia. Professor Fisman found that when Suharto’s health was reported to be poor, the shares of companies most closely linked to the ultimate leader declined the most sharply. As Professor Fisman put it, “A large percentage of a well connected firm’s value may be derived from political connections.” I am not saying that the United States in 2018 is equivalent to Suharto’s Indonesia. In fact, a 2012 study by Professor Fisman and several colleagues, showed that political connections are not as valuable in the United States as they were in Indonesia. The American study used the same methodology and applied it to companies connected to the former Vice President Dick Cheney. Stock prices of such companies did not budge when his political fortunes rose — as when he was first chosen as the vice-presidential candidate — or when his health was impaired while in office. The heartening truth is that until now, the United States has, by and large, done a good job of insulating the economy from political interference. Should that insulation wear down, though, we will find ourselves in a troubling world. That’s why President Trump’s campaign against Amazon is worthy of continuing scrutiny. Moreover, the president’s motivation for focusing on Amazon is open to question. One plausible hypothesis is that Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, owns The Washington Post, which has unflinchingly reported on the Trump presidency. It is noteworthy that the president often refers to The Washington Post as The “Amazon Washington Post.” Any possible interference with freedom of the press endangers the economy — and much more. An efficient economy — and a democracy — requires uniform application of the law. We live in partisan times. But we all can root for the rule of law. It’s not a particularly exciting cause, but it is in dire need of supporters.



America Last: Trump’s Attack on the Amazon Job Machine
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/opin ... -fail.html
Category: Politics
Published: May 25, 2018

Description: President Trump has declared war on Amazon, the nation’s second most valuable company. Amazon is creating more jobs than all but a handful of entire states. And nearly every major city in the country is vying to land the second headquarters of this global retailer and the 50,000 high-paying positions it promises to bring. It is perhaps the biggest job engine in the United States, and the president is using the power of his office to hurt it. And he’s doing this while going out of his way to help Chinese jobs, those at the rogue telecom giant ZTE. “Too many jobs in China lost,” Trump tweeted. He said that in the midst of a dubious round of deal-making that resulted in a promise from him to help the foreign phone company and coincided with a pledge from China of a $500 million loan to a Trump-linked property. That deal looks very much like a bribe, as my colleague Paul Krugman noted. But let’s back up and take a look at the Amazon assaults. For added perspective, just substitute “Obama” for “Trump” and consider how it would look. Amazon is no saint, certainly, with low wages at some warehouses and a business strategy that has hurt many small retailers while helping others. All the major tech companies could use a clamp of regulation to restrain their intrusions into daily life and commerce. But Mr. Trump isn’t the least bit concerned about any of that. Those issues are too complex for him. He sees the world as a brute with power. Everything goes through a love-me, hate-me prism. Sycophants are rewarded. Dissidents are crushed. Diplomacy, as he just showed with his laughable, incoherent dance with North Korea, is much harder. Trump hates Jeff Bezos, the founder and chairman of Amazon. It’s possible he hates him for his success; Bezos transformed a mailbox bookseller into the world’s largest online retailer. There are far more Amazon Prime members in this country than people who voted for Trump. As a businessman, Trump stumbled through multiple bankruptcies, defrauded students at a phony “university” and even ran a casino into the ground. But the more likely reason Trump hates Bezos is that he owns The Washington Post, which has a much different way of covering the president than Fox News, where Trump gets most of his misinformation. The Post is protected by the First Amendment, as is the neighborhood blog, the fact-deficient world of talk radio and random opinions of every citizen. So, instead of going after the newspaper, Trump is going after its owner — who has nothing to do with the news operation, as Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Post has said. Trump reportedly pushed the postmaster general, Megan Brennan, to double the rates that the Postal Service charges Amazon for shipping — even though those rates are bound by contract and are beneficial to the struggling agency. A case can even be made that if it weren’t for Amazon, the Postal Service might be out of business. “He’s off the hook on this,” Vanity Fair quoted one insider as saying. “It’s war.” This is what unrestrained strongmen do: use the state to punish — or silence — their enemies. It’s the same thing Trump is doing by demanding that the Justice Department investigate the people who are investigating him. Trump couldn’t be more clear on this point. The free press, he says, is the “enemy of the people.” His aim, he told Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” is “to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.” A newspaper to Trump’s liking is The National Enquirer, whose publisher, David Pecker, is a Trump lackey, doing dirty work to protect the president from the embarrassment of his personal behavior. Autocrats reward friends. In Trump’s promising to lift restrictions on ZTE — which was punished for doing business with North Korea and Iran — the United States got completely rolled by China. But in turn, China put money on the table that would help the Trump family business. Country last, Trump first. When Trump was just a no-class developer who used his private fixers to go after his enemies, and lied five ways before breakfast, it was of no consequence to the rest of us. No more. “If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a path to relinquishing our freedom.” So said former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It was too little, too late. But better than the complicity-by-silence of Republicans in Congress. Paul Ryan, your spine is calling you. Mitch McConnell, your past words are here for pickup and in need of some defense. Anyone who thought autocracy would arrive with back-room deals or sleight-of-hand machinations at midnight should think again. Trump crosses a new line every week, in plain sight. Democracy dies in sunlight.



Trump Said Amazon Was Scamming the Post Office. His Administration Disagrees.
The New York Times

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/04/us/p ... ffice.html
Category: Politics
Published: December 4, 2018

Description: WASHINGTON — President Trump spent much of last spring accusing Amazon of pulling a “scam” on the American taxpayer and ripping off the United States Postal Service. On Tuesday, his administration delivered its own verdict: Not so much. The task force created by Mr. Trump to investigate the Postal Service’s finances did conclude that the mail system is losing money. But a report issued on Tuesday said that commercial package delivery for Amazon and other e-commerce retailers was actually profitable for the Postal Service and was not costing the United States “massive amounts of money,” as Mr. Trump has suggested in his tweets. Commercial package delivery is not profitable enough to offset the revenue losses the Postal Service is suffering, however, as Americans mail fewer and fewer first-class letters, and the Treasury Department task force outlined several recommendations to help shore up its finances. None of the suggestions explicitly recommend the type of price increases that Mr. Trump floated last spring, when he posted a tweet accusing Amazon of using the Postal Service “as their Delivery Boy.” And last December he tweeted that Amazon was getting “richer” while making the postal system “dumber.” “Should be charging MUCH MORE!” he wrote. But the report did include some recommendations that made online retailers uneasy. One would push the Postal Service to price package delivery to maximize profits, instead of maximizing delivery volume. Another would force the service to create separate accounting books for letters and for packages, which retailers fear could lead to an increase in package rates. Its top recommendations were to improve postal system governing to create a more stringent definition of which deliveries and which customers the Postal Service must include under its legal — but vaguely defined — “universal service obligation.” It also called for steps to reduce the service’s labor costs, including eliminating collective bargaining over pay for postal employees. And it recommended lifting caps on how much the service can charge for letter delivery and giving it power to reduce the number of days it delivers mail — which most likely would mean ending letter delivery on Saturdays. The task force also proposed creating a complicated new system of pricing for packages, in which it could cost less to send a box of prescription drugs than to send a board game. It would also allow the postal system to charge other delivery services for access to Americans’ mailboxes; under current law, the Postal Service holds a monopoly on what can actually be delivered to a mailbox. Amazon and many other retailers formed an advocacy group on postal issues this year, called the Package Coalition. Its chairman, the former Army secretary John M. McHugh, said on Tuesday that the coalition was “concerned that some of the task force recommendations, including the recommendation to create a separate package business, would needlessly reduce efficiency and force the Postal Service to raise prices on American businesses and consumers.” The report was nonbinding. Many of its recommendations will fall into the storm drain of a divided Congress, with Democrats set to take control of the House in January. It was unclear why the administration chose to release the report on Tuesday, when the news cycle was dominated by trade tensions with China and funeral proceedings in Washington for former President George Bush. Administration officials played down the report’s links to Mr. Trump’s frequent Twitter complaints about Amazon. “None of our findings relate to any one customer of the Postal Service,” a senior administration official said on Tuesday afternoon, in a briefing call with reporters. “We based our analysis on the needs of all our economy.” Instead, they cast the report as a needed set of reforms for a service that has been losing money for a decade, and is projected to lose tens of billions over the next decade. “We believe these are the first steps forward,” Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, wrote to Mr. Trump at the beginning of the report, “in creating a sustainable business model under which the U.S.P.S. can continue to provide necessary mail services for all Americans.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Trump draws blood in feud with Amazon, Washington Post

Postby smix » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:38 am

Trump draws blood in feud with Amazon, Washington Post
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/ ... lue-495803
Category: Politics
Published: April 2, 2018

Description: In a proxy war against the newspaper’s owner, the president’s threats cause Amazon shares to plunge.
President Donald Trump’s threats to raise postal rates on the tech giant Amazon — which many consider his proxy war against the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post — cost the company over $35 billion in stock value on Monday, suggesting Trump’s war with the media has the potential to hit media companies in their pocket books. The company's stock dropped 75.35 points — or 6.21 percent — as part of a larger sell-off on Wall Street after Trump accused Amazon of exploiting the U.S. Postal Service. "Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon," the president tweeted, adding that "this will be changed." Higher postal rates could cut into the company’s profits in online sales, which depend on the Post Office for delivery. Trump has been increasingly aggressive in his attacks on Bezos, who purchased the Post in 2013. In addition to threatening to hit Amazon with higher postal rates he has accused the company of not paying its fair share of taxes. Though Trump claims his criticisms of Amazon aren’t intended to muzzle the Post, he often links the two in his tweets, calling the newspaper the Amazon Washington Post, even though Amazon has no stake in the Post, which is separately owned by Bezos. Marty Baron, the Post's executive editor, called the president's attacks "completely made up," adding that Bezos' has never been involved in the day-to-day newsroom management. "I can’t say more emphatically he’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” Baron told the New York Times, stressing that "there isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon." On Saturday, Trump accused the Post of serving as a "lobbyist" for Bezos and the tech giant. "The Fake Washington Post, which is used as a 'lobbyist' and should so REGISTER," Trump wrote on social media. Monday's stock market drop coincided with the first full day of trading since a series of Trump missives against Amazon and the Post over the weekend. It was the second time in less than a week that the stock took a hit amid speculation the president is looking to curb the tech giant's power. Amazon's shares fell roughly 5 percent last Wednesday — wiping out more than $30 billion in its market value — after Axios reported that Trump is "obsessed with Amazon" and mulling over options to go after the company, potentially on antitrust grounds. In response to the report and the market sell-off, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday the administration had "no specific policies or actions that we're currently pushing forward or considering" to crack down on Amazon's influence. But despite that assertion, the president came back with his threat against Amazon’s postal fees. Despite Trump's barbs at Amazon and the Post, a spokesperson for the Post told POLITICO last week the remarks have "had no effect" on the newspaper. Representatives for Amazon did not respond to a request for comment. The Post did not respond to a request for comment on Monday on Trump's latest remarks on Amazon. Trump's anti-media rhetoric, which dates back to the 2016 campaign trail, has long sparked fears he might seek to retaliate against news organizations for their critical coverage of his presidency. Those concerns have been buttressed to an extent by the president's words and his administration's actions. Candidate Trump in February 2016 vowed to "open up our libel laws" to target "purposely negative and horrible and false articles" by outlets like the Post and The New York Times. The president again voiced support for the measure in January, saying, “we are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel law." In November, the Justice Department sued to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger, further complicating a legal showdown rife with intrigue given the president's frequent criticisms of CNN, a Time Warner subsidiary. Meanwhile, Trump has praised conservative media companies, including a fierce defense on Monday of Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose attempt to buy the Tribune Co. is being reviewed for antitrust issues by Trump’s Federal Communications Commission.



Trump Is Right. It Is the Amazon Washington Post.
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/magazine/story ... zos-217774
Category: Politics
Published: April 4, 2018

Description: If Amazon didn’t exist, it’s unlikely the Washington Post would exist in its current form.
President Donald Trump’s insistence on calling the Washington Post the “Amazon Washington Post” riles the newspaper’s executive editor, Martin Baron, to no end. He wants one and all to know that the online retailer and the newspaper are distinct corporate entities. “There isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon,” Baron told the New York Times on Monday. “Not one penny.” Further distancing Amazon from the Washington Post, Baron said that the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, involves himself only in the paper’s business doings, not its news coverage. “He’s never suggested a story to anybody here, he’s never critiqued a story, he’s never suppressed a story,” Baron said. I have little doubt that this is true, but Baron’s argument is a distinction without a difference. Bezos became the world’s richest person through his labors at Amazon, which he still controls. He purchased the Post in 2013 with $250 million of his Amazon pin money. While it might be more accurate to call the newspaper the “Bezos Washington Post,” seeing as Bezos and Amazon are joined at the hip, it’s not ridiculous to speak of the paper—at least in the vernacular—as the Amazon Washington Post. If Amazon didn’t exist, it’s unlikely the Washington Post would exist in its current form. Of course, Trump doesn’t delight in calling the paper the Amazon Washington Post for these reasons. He has long viewed himself as a “counterpuncher” who must hurt anybody who hurts him. And boy, has the Post hurt him. Ordinarily, Trump attacks reporters and outlets by name when a news outlet offends him. In availing himself of a compound name for the paper, he gives himself an additional target to pummel. Bloomberg View columnist Timothy L. O’Brien points out in a column Tuesday that Trump first fused the paper and online company into a single enemy with a tweet in December 2015, immediately after the paper reported his campaign call for a ban of Muslim immigrants. That tweet included Bezos’ Twitter handle, too. Trump tweeted more of the same in July 2017, after the Post published a scathing story on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Trump’s current crusade against Amazon, falsely calling the Post a lobbyist for the company and deceitfully claiming that the U.S. Postal Service loses money delivering Amazon packages is only more of the usual Trump tit-for-tat. Why drag Amazon into his grudge against the Post? To do media organizations real harm, Trump understands that he must threaten some aspect of their business not protected by the penumbra of the First Amendment. This helps explain his administration’s opposition to the AT&T merger with Time Warner, which owns his media bête noire CNN. By jawboning against Amazon, Trump has deliberately caused its stock to dip. The company has lost 8 percent of its market value since Axios first reported Trump’s full ire against it last week—that’s a $60 billion reduction of its market value and several billion off Bezos’ net worth. Regulatory powers also allow Trump some latitude in rewarding media organizations loyal to him. For instance, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps calls Trump’s recent pro-Sinclair tweets a “green light“ designed to spur FCC approval of the chain’s $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media’s TV stations. I suspect that Trump doesn’t fully appreciate the downside of his anti-media strategy. Every denunciation of the Post, the New York Times, NBC News, CBS News, CNN and other outlets serves to boost those outlets’ audiences and their corresponding revenues. Newsrooms glow with appreciation whenever he pounces on them, and the reporters singled out for abuse preen. Whenever Trump lays the strap on Jim Acosta and CNN, the competition pouts, “Why not us?!” As I wrote more than a year ago, Trump has made journalism great again. Trump’s bullying works best against flawed or weak adversaries like Hillary Clinton and Mexico. But when rumbling against the strong and confident, his record ain’t so good. In Business Insider, Josh Barro predicts that Trump will lose his stupid fight with Amazon, which is far too popular with consumers for him to successfully demonize it. People delight too much in Amazon’s convenience, selection, low prices and cheap delivery. They willingly deserted the shopping malls Trump says he wants to “save,” and they don’t want to go back. If Trump can’t demonize Amazon, he won’t be able to demonize Bezos. And that means he will fail to demonize the Post, too. A month from now, after the market finally comprehends that Trump lacks the dictatorial powers required to break Amazon, its stock price will recover. Learning his lesson, Trump will find some weakling he can whup.



In his Amazon tiff, Trump bullies the big kid
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/ ... zos-455624
Category: Politics
Published: April 4, 2018

Description: The president is taking on an American behemoth as he bashes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his Washington Post.
President Donald Trump’s latest bullying target, online retailer Amazon, is a corporate colossus known for vanquishing almost anything that gets in its way. It has beaten out a long line of brick-and-mortar retail giants long after knocking down thousands of mom-and-pop stores. The company is generally beloved by its 135 million U.S. customers, a number larger than the combined vote for Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016. And it has firmly entrenched itself in the fabric of American life well beyond affluent, blue-state voters who enjoy the ease of ordering and speed of shipping. It's a corporate foe unlike anything the president has ever faced, a challenge he appears to be looking past to bash Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, who also owns The Washington Post — which Trump sees as a political foe. Trump is wrapping his tirades against Amazon in familiar old-economy vs. new-economy rhetoric, portraying himself as the protector of traditional retail stores much in the way he campaigned as a defender of the coal and steel industries. "You have retailers all over the United States that are going out of business,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “If you look at the cost that we're subsidizing, we're giving a subsidy to Amazon.” While the president may rage about Amazon’s contract with the U.S. Postal Service or its collection of state and local taxes, Wall Street analysts are not exactly quaking over Trump’s attacks. Many investors question the president’s command of the facts and doubt his ability to inflict long-term damage on a company that could be the first ever with a $1 trillion market value. Though Trump’s repeated tweets and reports of his plans to target Amazon did shave nearly $60 billion off the company’s stock market value in the past week, the stock bounced back amid reports that the White House does not currently have any plans to turn Trump’s tirades into action. “We expect more chatter out of the White House on Amazon throughout Trump's time in office,” Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson wrote in a note to clients. “We, however, believe that little will change which has the potential to negatively impact Amazon's growth trajectory. Specifically, we find it unlikely that the Post Office will materially raise rates for Amazon deliveries, given Amazon would likely shift to alternative shipping options.” Amazon’s Prime membership may currently skew to higher-income households, but the company does not fit neatly into the kind of blue-state vs. red-state, old-economy vs. new-economy battles Trump likes to wage. “The magnitude that Amazon has achieved is just enormous,” said Joshua N. Lowitz of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, which estimates roughly 90 million Americans are members of the company’s Amazon Prime service and 135 million overall use the company to order products online. “We are talking about more than half the adult population of the United States, and they’ve started efforts to make it more appealing to people with differing means,” Lowitz said. “And it’s not an urban phenomenon. When you get to the kind of numbers Amazon has, it’s not just about the coasts.” In recent days, Trump's Amazon bashing has focused largely on the company's tax collection and shipping practices — though his remarks muddle some of the facts. Like many other businesses, Amazon negotiates discounted rates on packages sent through the Postal Service. But by law, Amazon's payments to USPS must cover shipment costs — meaning the company could not legally pay "very below cost" as Trump has stated. Trump has also lamented that "fully tax-paying retailers" are going out of business because there is "not a level playing field" with Amazon. He has also tweeted that Amazon pays “little or no taxes to state & local governments." But Amazon now collects sales tax in every state that has it — succumbing to years of pressure from state and local governments. In most states, Amazon still does not collect sales tax for third-party merchants who use the site, however, a practice that Pennsylvania, Washington and South Carolina have sought to change through legislation or litigation. Short of an unlikely antitrust lawsuit to break up the company, Trump’s weapons include bully-pulpit bashings, attempting to force a new USPS contract and possibly some new requirements for tax collection. He could also stymie Amazon’s cloud-computing contracts with the Pentagon and other federal agencies. Analysts say Trump’s attacks could wind up denting the company’s reputation, especially among those already worried about its growing dominance in online retailing and its impact on brick-and-mortar stores. But the president faces long odds in going after one of the most admired companies in America. And some of his moves could wind up helping Amazon. “The tax issue is largely irrelevant; that ship has already sailed. Amazon is already collecting most of these taxes, and collecting a few more won’t matter,” said Neil Stern, senior partner at consulting firm McMillanDoolittle. “And if you rip up the USPS deal, Amazon will just continue to build out its own delivery service. And the fact is, people love the services this company provides, It’s been No. 1 in customer satisfaction for 15 years running. Peeling people away will be difficult.” On the antitrust front, analysts generally point to Amazon’s relatively small market share in each of its product categories and its focus on low prices as reasons it likely won’t face significant action from the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department. But liberals including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have raised questions about Amazon’s market power, and Trump’s crusade could discourage the company from more big acquisitions following its takeover of high-end grocery chain Whole Foods. Where Trump could draw significant blood is in convincing his base that Amazon — and Bezos’ Washington Post — are bad actors and consumers should go elsewhere. Walmart, which already serves a somewhat less affluent customer base than Amazon, is making a major push into consumer-friendly online ordering. And if Trump decides to ratchet up his attacks, he could theoretically drive some customers away from Amazon. “His long-term impact could be on the reputational quotient,” Stern said. “He could really do some damage on that front. You can question the propriety of a president of the United States attacking a private company in this way. It’s head-scratching. But he does have a very large bully pulpit.”



Trump tries his hand at rewriting Washington Post headline
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/ ... ine-503687
Category: Politics
Published: April 5, 2018

Description: President Donald Trump on Thursday continued his war against The Washington Post — this time taking issue with its headline-writing and suggesting his own edits. “The Fake News Washington Post, Amazon’s ‘chief lobbyist,' has another (of many) phony headlines, ‘Trump Defiant As China Adds Trade Penalties,'" the president tweeted Thursday morning. "WRONG! Should read, ‘Trump Defiant as U.S. Adds Trade Penalties, Will End Barriers And Massive I.P. Theft.' Typically bad reporting!" The tweet comes as Trump continues to bash Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the Post, which Bezos owns personally. The president has gone as far as suggesting the newspaper should register as a company lobbyist for Amazon. Throughout the campaign and into his presidency, Trump has had a rocky relationship with some media outlets. The Post article that drew his ire was related to the new tariffs Trump imposed on China, to which Beijing responded with its own barriers to imports of U.S. soybeans, cars, aircraft and chemicals. The president has insisted he is not starting a trade war. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday said the U.S. “may have a little bit of short-term pain, but we're certainly going to have long-term success."



Trump subtweets Amazon in praising Supreme Court tax ruling
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/ ... tax-643578
Category: Politics
Published: June 21, 2018

Description: President Donald Trump praised the Supreme Court's online sales tax decision on Thursday, but analysts said the ruling may have only a marginal impact on his frequent target Amazon. "Big Supreme Court win on internet sales tax - about time" Trump tweeted hours after the ruling handed a victory to states seeking a new revenue stream from online retailers. “Big victory for fairness and for our country. Great victory for consumers and retailers.” The president’s words echoed his past accusations that Amazon’s rise to one of the nation’s biggest retailers is harming local governments and traditional retailers alike. “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt - many jobs being lost!” Trump tweeted in August. Thursday’s 5-4 ruling allows states to collect sales tax even from online retailers that don't have a physical presence in the state. That eliminates a loophole that has helped internet shopping swell to a major force in the U.S. economy but has brought much grumbling from brick-and-mortar retailers. Amazon's stock price was down 1.1 percent Thursday as traders reacted to the Supreme Court decision. But financial analysts say the e-commerce giant may not feel much pain. The Seattle-based company, which has distribution centers scattered all over the country, already collects sales tax in every state that has one. The real rub for Amazon comes with its third-party sellers, who use Amazon's platform to hock their own wares. It's a significant part of Amazon's business, and many of these sellers have not been required to collect state sales taxes, so the cost of their goods is now likely to rise. But even then, Amazon may be cushioned by the fact that it's so well established in the market. “Most consumers use Amazon for convenience, selection, service and Prime, not to find the lowest prices,” said Colin Sebastian, senior equity research analyst for Robert W. Baird & Co. “That shouldn’t impact Amazon at all, and may make first-party items more competitive with third-party items sold on the site,” said Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on the ruling. Trump has repeatedly criticized Amazon to his millions of Twitter followers, often conflating the online retailer with The Washington Post, which is personally owned by Amazon's billionaire CEO, Jeff Bezos. The president has often accused Amazon of ripping off governments by not paying taxes. The president falsely asserted on March 28, for example, that the company “pays little or no tax to state & local governments." He's also alleged the company gets cheap shipping rates from the U.S. Postal Service. Trump created a task force in April to look at the agency's financial losses and consider changes to its business model. Crafts marketplace Etsy said Congress should take the opportunity to pass a law to streamline online sales tax collection nationwide, to circumvent a potential mishmash of state requirements. But the National Retail Federation, which represents brick-and-mortar and internet retailers as well as grocery and restaurant chains, celebrated the Supreme Court ruling as a market equalizer. “Retailers have been waiting for this day for more than two decades,” NRF President Matthew Shay said in a statement. “This ruling clears the way for a fair and level playing field where all retailers compete under the same sales tax rules whether they sell merchandise online, in-store or both.”



Trump calls Washington Post 'expensive lobbyist' for Amazon
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/ ... ism-735622
Category: Politics
Published: July 23, 2018

Description: President Donald Trump attacked The Washington Post and Amazon in a series of tweets on Monday, writing that the newspaper is an “expensive lobbyist” for the online retailer and that Amazon takes advantage of the U.S. Postal Service. The president has often criticized The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and owner Jeff Bezos. The two companies, however, are not connected except by their shared owner. Trump's criticism began with a tweet stating that he is not frustrated with the pace of denuclearization talks with North Korea, claiming that he is “very happy” with the lack of missile and nuclear tests from the regime of Kim Jong Un. “A Rocket has not been launched by North Korea in 9 months. Likewise, no Nuclear Tests. Japan is happy, all of Asia is happy,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “But the Fake News is saying, without ever asking me (always anonymous sources), that I am angry because it is not going fast enough. Wrong, very happy!” The president’s social media post apparently was in response to a Washington Post story that cited undisclosed sources within the White House to report that the president has grown privately frustrated with the ups and downs and inconsistencies of denuclearization talks with North Korea. Despite the president’s assertion he had not been contacted for the story, one of the three reporters whose byline appeared on the report wrote on Twitter that “we contacted the White House multiple times before the story ran.” A Washington Post spokeswoman declined to comment on the president's Monday morning tweets. The North Korea talks, kick-started last month by Trump’s meeting in Singapore with Kim, have sputtered at times in the weeks since. Negotiations hit an apparent low earlier this month in the wake of a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang, after which the Kim regime said the talks had been “regrettable” and accused the U.S. of making “gangster-like” demands. Negotiations over the return of remains of U.S. soldiers killed in North Korea during the Korean War have also made little progress, even though the president announced last month that the Kim regime had already sent back the remains of 200. North Korea also has yet to destroy a missile-engine testing facility that Trump said Kim pledged to dismantle, the Post reported. Trump has complained often about reporting on his administration that relies on anonymous sources, regularly insisting that such sources are simply made up and chalking up stories as “fake news.” Minutes after posting his complaint about the Post’s reporting, Trump shifted his attention to Amazon, suggesting that the Post has ramped up negative coverage of him in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling requiring online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases in states where they do not have a physical presence. Whether the ruling will ultimately hurt Amazon remains an open question, with some legal experts telling CNBC last month that the online giant could actually benefit. Trump also renewed his complaint that Amazon takes advantage of the U.S. Postal Service, which handles some deliveries for Bezos’ company. The president said Bezos uses the Post as an “expensive lobbyist” for his retail operation. “The Amazon Washington Post has gone crazy against me ever since they lost the Internet Tax Case in the U.S. Supreme Court two months ago. Next up is the U.S. Post Office which they use, at a fraction of real cost, as their 'delivery boy' for a BIG percentage of their packages,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “In my opinion the Washington Post is nothing more than an expensive (the paper loses a fortune) lobbyist for Amazon. Is it used as protection against antitrust claims which many feel should be brought?"



Bezos to Trump: It's 'dangerous to demonize the media'
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/ ... ost-787219
Category: Politics
Published: September 13, 2018

Description: Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos took aim at President Donald Trump over his criticism of journalists Thursday night, saying his rhetoric calling the media the "enemy of the people" erodes the freedom of the press the nation cherishes. "It is a mistake for any elected official in my opinion ... to attack media and journalists. I believe that it's an essential component of our democracy," Bezos said in an on-stage interview hosted by the Economic Club of Washington. "What the president should say is, 'This is right. This is good. I am glad I am getting scrutinized,'" he said. "But it's really dangerous to demonize the media. It's dangerous to call the media lowlifes. It's dangerous to say they're the 'enemy of the people.'" Bezos bought the Post in 2013 with $250 million from his personal fortune, and has since injected fresh capital and ambition into the region's largest media outlet. But his ownership of the newspaper has provoked constant outrage from Trump, who rails against the newspaper's coverage of him and falsely claims it acts as an advocate for Amazon. Trump accuses Amazon of avoiding taxes, destroying traditional retailers and ripping off the U.S. Postal Service. Bezos said he does not "feel the need to defend Amazon" against Trump, but that he will defend the Post. Asked at another point about speculation that Amazon will choose the Washington area for his company's much-coveted second corporate headquarters, Bezos punted. "The answer is very simple: We will announce a decision before the end of this year," he told the audience that included Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. "The team is working their butts off on it." The crowd was audibly disappointed. "No, no, be nice!" Bezos chided to laughs. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam had been expected to attend the event as well, but was forced to cancel to oversee preparations for Hurricane Florence. Anticipation is running high as Amazon prepares to announce the location of its "HQ2" following a year-long search process that sent cities across the country scrambling to offer tax breaks and other incentives to lure the company. Amazon is expected to employ 50,000 people and invest $5 billion in its new home, promising the winning jurisdiction a huge economic boost. Three Washington-area spots — northern Virginia, Montgomery County, Md., and the District of Columbia — are among the 20 finalists. That is driving intense speculation among local business and political leaders that Bezos will choose to put down corporate roots here. Feeding the speculation about the D.C. area's chances: Bezos and other members of Amazon's board of directors held a meeting in Washington this week. Ahead of the Bezos appearance at the Washington Hilton, about two dozen protesters organized by the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America chanted anti-Amazon slogans outside the hotel and carried signs with messages like "Block Bezos" and "Tax Amazon, Fund Communities." They objected to local leaders offering any kind of financial incentive to the company. Earlier Thursday, Bezos — the world's richest person — pledged $2 billion to fight homelessness and build preschools in low-income neighborhoods. It marks the tech mogul's largest known philanthropic donation to date and amounts to 1.2 percent of his net worth, which the Bloomberg Billionaires Index places at $164 billion. But Bezos and his company have drawn ire from both sides of the political spectrum even as they have amassed growing wealth and influence. Just last week, Amazon became just the second U.S. company — after Apple — to reach $1 trillion in market value. In its current home base of Seattle, Amazon drew widespread criticism earlier this year when it fought against a tax on businesses that would have generated revenue to provide affordable housing and combat homelessness. The city council repealed the measure after the company said the tax was causing it to reconsider its plans to expand in Seattle. Complaints about the company's treatment of workers inspired Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) to introduce a bill last week aimed at pushing large businesses to pay their employees a livable wage — a measure they dubbed the "Stop BEZOS Act." Amazon already has a considerable presence in the Washington region. Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud computing division and a sponsor of Thursday's Bezos dinner, employs thousands of people in northern Virginia and is aggressively pursuing U.S. government contracts. Bezos is also the owner of Washington's biggest house, a former textile museum.



How will Trump take Amazon move? 'He will think Bezos made this decision to stick it to him.'
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/ ... ton-770837
Category: Politics
Published: November 13, 2018

Description: Amazon's move to establish a new headquarters in the Washington area will have one immediate political impact: putting CEO Jeff Bezos more in President Donald Trump's face than ever. Bezos' ownership of The Washington Post, which he bought back in 2013, has enraged Trump, sparking Twitter-fueled allegations from the president that Amazon is dodging taxes, ripping off the U.S. Postal Service and putting traditional retailers out of business. But the CEO's decision to put down corporate roots in the D.C. suburb of Crystal City, Va., injecting some 25,000 jobs into a region Trump has dubbed the "The Swamp," threatens to stoke the president's resentment of the tech mogul. “Anything that makes Bezos more prominent in Washington is going to irritate Trump and he will take it personally," said Michael D’Antonio, author of the 2015 Trump biography "Never Enough." D’Antonio added: "He will think Bezos made this decision to stick it to him.” Amazon had initially been expected to choose one winner for its second headquarters, but on Tuesday, the company announced two: Crystal City and the Long Island City neighborhood in Queens, New York. Queens has significance for Trump as well. He grew up there before becoming a New York City real estate developer and reality TV host. But it's Washington — Trump's current home — where Amazon's growth plans could produce the most tension with the president. Bezos, who was this year named the world's richest man, has been increasing his profile in the nation's capital, even as Trump has accelerated his attacks on the company. Just days before Trump's inauguration, it emerged that Bezos was the anonymous buyer of D.C.'s biggest house, a 27,000-square-foot former textile museum. He's become a regular at some of Washington's premier social events, like the Alfalfa Club dinner. And the CEO and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, recently entered the political donor class, giving $10 million to a super PAC that aims to elect military veterans to Congress. But it's not just D.C.'s social and political circles that interest Bezos; there's a business calculus for establishing a bigger, flashier presence in the Washington area. The federal government represents a huge potential market for Amazon's cloud services business. And the e-commerce giant has a growing list of lobbying priorities in Washington, from delivery drones to online privacy to issues like taxes, trade and immigration. “Do I think he's going to come in and say my role with headquarters two in Washington is to change Donald Trump? No. He's here to do business," said Bobbie Kilberg, the president of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, which counts Amazon Web Services as a member. Bezos' decision to establish a headquarters in greater Washington, however, will cement his status as an immensely powerful player in D.C. — and an unavoidable presence for Trump. Even before the announcement, Amazon's interest in the D.C. area was credited with helping to break the longstanding logjam over funding for the region's ailing Metro system. Now, Amazon's pledge of thousands of new corporate jobs could be a stimulus for the local job market, at a time when the White House is seeking to cancel automatic pay raises for 1.8 million federal workers. Bezos' flood-the-swamp plan comes amid growing Trump animus toward Amazon. The president equates the company with The Washington Post, which he considers part of the "fake news" media that cover him unfairly. He accuses Amazon of using The Post as a lobbyist to avoid taxes and says the company treats the U.S. Postal Service like its "Delivery Boy." The Amazon CEO spent months laying low as Trump ramped up his attacks, but at a dinner in Washington in September, he called the president's anti-media rhetoric bad for democracy. "What the president should say is, 'This is right. This is good. I am glad I am getting scrutinized,'" Bezos said at the event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington. "But it's really dangerous to demonize the media. It's dangerous to call the media lowlifes. It's dangerous to say they're the 'enemy of the people.'" It's unclear how far Trump will take the feud, now that Amazon is coming to his backyard. In April, the White House unveiled a task force to examine the budget woes of the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service, amid speculation that the president would use it to target Amazon with higher shipping rates. And Trump has repeatedly suggested that Amazon and other major tech companies are ripe for antitrust scrutiny. Amazon, though, is poised to expand its influence game in D.C. with the headquarters plan. The company is already one of the biggest tech industry spenders in Washington, shelling out $12.8 million for lobbying in 2017 and maintaining a stable of well-connected lobby firms. But having thousands more workers in the area will undoubtedly give it greater leverage in the capital and its many policy debates. Bezos himself will likely be a more frequent visitor to the area. The Washingtonian magazine has already chronicled the CEO's emerging profile as a "freewheeling DC socialite." The story, complete with an image of Bezos looming over the capital's skyline, raised the idea that he could fill a role once occupied by the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, bringing prominent decision-makers and thinkers together for salon-like dinners. "In an ecosystem where power matters more than money or fame, an invitation to the house of the richest man in the world says something," said Cathy Merrill Williams, the president and publisher of Washingtonian Media. Trump and Bezos mixed it up even before the 2016 election, when Trump accused Bezos of using The Washington Post as a tax-dodging "scam," and the Amazon CEO responded cheekily that Trump had "finally trashed" him. Bezos also proposed to have his space flight company, Blue Origin, offer Trump a seat on one of its rockets in a tweet featuring the tongue-in-cheek hashtag #sendDonaldtospace. After Trump's victory, Bezos and other tech executives attended an awkward Trump Tower meeting as they made nice with a president-elect they had not supported during the campaign. Amazon later announced it would add 100,000 new "full-time, full-benefit" U.S. jobs, joining other companies in touting domestic growth plans to please the incoming president — and Trump's transition team promptly took credit for the pledge. Bezos later participated in the White House innovation office led by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and attended a White House tech gathering last year. Still, Trump ramped up his Twitter attacks on Amazon. Just days after sitting near Bezos at the June 2017 summit, the president unleashed the first of many volleys at the company, apparently enraged by Washington Post coverage. Undaunted, Bezos has continued to pursue Amazon's agenda in Washington, hosting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Seattle and positioning the company as a top contender for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud services contract known as JEDI. Winning that contract would be a huge victory for the company, solidifying its position as the nation's leading web services provider. Expanding in Washington, however, could expose Bezos to other kinds of political risk, making him a more tempting target for the company's critics. The CEO last month moved to defuse a source of growing liberal outrage about his company, announcing Amazon would increase the minimum wage it pays its thousands of warehouse workers to $15 per hour. That appeared to be an effort to appease Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who spent months denouncing the working conditions at Amazon's network of "fulfillment centers" and asking why one of the world's most valuable companies couldn't treat its employees better. Sanders had even introduced a bill called the Stop BEZOS Act, which would require large companies like Amazon to compensate the government when their employees use federal assistance programs like food stamps. While Bezos sought to lower the temperature on that issue, the dust-up could be a sign of things to come for Amazon as questions accumulate about the company's business and labor practices and its dominance in the online retail market, which is drawing increasing attention among regulators. "No one wants to be the brightest spot in the greater Washington area, because it's just a target and you don't want that target on your back," said Jim Dinegar, the longtime head of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. “It’s one of the concerns that Amazon has got to have on their list."



Treasury proposes postal changes after Trump attacks on Amazon
Politico

URL; https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/ ... mp-1044592
Category: Politics
Published: December 4, 2018

Description: President Donald Trump's task force scrutinizing U.S. Postal Service operations is proposing an overhaul of the financially distressed agency, including changes to how it prices packages shipped by retailers like Amazon, a frequent target of the president's attacks. In a report released on Tuesday, the Treasury-led task force says the Postal Service should price packages "with profitability in mind" and impose higher rates on general e-commerce goods and other non-essential items sent through the mail. Trump commissioned the report earlier this year after months of attacking Amazon for, in his view, ripping off USPS and treating the agency like its "Delivery Boy." Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos privately owns The Washington Post, and Trump, who slams the Post's coverage as unfair, often conflates the newspaper with the e-commerce giant, even calling it the "Amazon Washington Post." The report's recommendations are broad and sweeping. They call for stronger oversight by the Postal Service Board of Governors — which sat empty for much of Trump's presidency. They also encourage the agency to consider other revenue streams, such as renting out unused real estate to businesses, charging outside shippers for access to people's mail boxes and issuing hunting and fishing licenses. But the ideas for package rates are likely to draw the most scrutiny, given the president's attacks on Amazon. The task force says the Postal Service should distinguish between essential items, such as medication or tax notices, and non-essential items, such as consumer products — and mark up the latter to generate more income. The administration on Tuesday denied that it's targeting Amazon, saying the report's recommendations would hit the coffers of all retailers with a large volume of online sales. “None of our findings or recommendations are linked to any one customer or competitor of the Postal Service,” said a senior administration official. “We based our analysis on the needs of the entire economy and all its businesses.” But Trump's frequent rants about Amazon hover over the findings. “I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” Trump tweeted in April shortly before the White House announced the task force. “Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!” The president told The Daily Caller last month that Amazon is "getting the bargain of the century," adding, "I think that’s why I’ve asked for a review." The task force, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, spent weeks meeting with companies and trade associations in affected industries like retail and package delivery. Officials from the Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies have also been involved. A report was initially delivered to the White House in August, though its public release was delayed until later in the year. The senior administration official said the Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission can enact some of the changes, including increasing package prices, without intervention from Congress, but said other proposed changes would require lawmakers to act. For more than a decade, the Postal Service has logged billion-dollar loses, resulting in a total cumulative deficit of nearly $63 billion as of September. But those losses are not driven by Amazon or other big shippers of packages. Instead, much of it can be attributed to the decline of letter mail in the internet era and the mandatory payments that Congress has ordered the Postal Service to make into a retiree benefits fund. The task force recommends restructuring that obligation, but not doing away with it altogether. The report does not call for privatizing the Postal Service, despite the Trump administration saying in June that it wanted to do so as part of a government reorganization. Amazon did not immediately comment, but an industry coalition that represents the e-commerce giant warned the report could cause widespread economic damage. “If it were to be adopted in its entirely I think we would be approaching a worst-case scenario from a consumer and business perspective,” said John McHugh, a congressman-turned-lobbyist who leads the so-called Package Coalition, saying Congress should be involved in changing longstanding Postal Service regulations. Amazon, like other bulk users of the Postal Service, negotiates a special shipping rate that is not publicly disclosed. Though Amazon would pay below the standard rate, by law, those negotiated arrangements must cover the cost of shipping the packages — meaning the post office cannot lose money on them as Trump claims. Each agreement is evaluated and endorsed by the Postal Regulatory Commission and approved by the Postal Service Board of Governors. Package delivery has been a rare bright spot on the Postal Service’s earnings statement. Mail carriers are delivering more packages than ever before — as the number of standard letters steadily declines — bringing in $21.5 billion in revenue in the most recent fiscal year. Amazon has been developing other delivery options in anticipation that the Postal Service cannot accommodate its rapid growth. It runs a service in which contract drivers drop orders at customers' doors and recently announced it would lease trucks to entrepreneurs to start delivery services. The company has also experimented with aerial drones and, according to media reports, self-driving vehicles, though those are still years away from adoption because of technological and regulatory hurdles. The investments could help Amazon lessen the sting of a rate hike over the long term or gradually move away from the Postal Service altogether if shipping expenses become too prohibitive. Industry advocates have warned that fewer packages would only mean more pain for the agency's bottom line. Trump's most direct impact on the Postal Service could be appointees to the Board of Governors. The body plays a key role approving so-called negotiated service agreements, giving it a hand in how much Amazon and others must pay for postal services. The board could, in theory, send Postal Service negotiators back to the table if such deals are not judged to be in the agency's best interest. The board sat entirely vacant for the first 18 months of Trump's presidency. He’s so far nominated people for three of the nine board seats, two of whom were approved by Senate-wide vote in late August.
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

“Trump Is Like, ‘How Can I F--k with Him?’”: Trump’s War with Amazon (and The Washington Post) Is Personal

Postby smix » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:54 am

“Trump Is Like, ‘How Can I F--k with Him?’”: Trump’s War with Amazon (and The Washington Post) Is Personal
Vanity Fair

URL: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/04 ... s-personal
Category: Politics
Published: April 2, 2018

Description: With the West Wing finally calm, Trump is contemplating a multi-front campaign against Jeff Bezos.
For the first time in Donald Trump’s presidency, the West Wing soap opera appears to be in hiatus, with many of its starring characters (Gary Cohn, Hope Hicks) either permanently offstage or with much reduced roles (John Kelly, Jared Kushner). Currently, there’s one star—a situation Trump is obviously enjoying—and his new freedom is used to focus ever more closely on his perceived enemies and obsessions. Amazon, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post, is currently the main target. Trump has ripped into Amazon in recent days, claiming in a series of tweets that Jeff Bezos’s tech giant benefits from billions in subsidies from the U.S. Post office while skirting sales taxes. “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” Trump tweeted. On Monday, he wrote: “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country . . . not a level playing field!” The tweets caused Amazon’s stock to plunge 5 percent on Monday. Now, according to four sources close to the White House, Trump is discussing ways to escalate his Twitter attacks on Amazon to further damage the company. “He’s off the hook on this. It’s war,” one source told me. “He gets obsessed with something, and now he’s obsessed with Bezos,” said another source. “Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?” According to sources, Trump wants the Post Office to increase Amazon’s shipping costs. When Trump previously discussed the idea inside the White Hose, Gary Cohn had explained that Amazon is a benefit to the Postal Service, which has seen mail volume plummet in the age of e-mail. “Trump doesn’t have Gary Cohn breathing down his neck saying you can’t do the Post Office shit,” a Republican close to the White House said. “He really wants the Post Office deal renegotiated. He thinks Amazon’s getting a huge fucking deal on shipping.” Advisers are also encouraging Trump to cancel Amazon’s pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon to provide cloud computing services, sources say. Another line of attack would be to encourage attorneys general in red states to open investigations into Amazon’s business practices. Sources say Trump is open to the ideas. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) Even Trump’s allies acknowledge that much of what’s fueling Trump’s rage toward Amazon is that Amazon C.E.O. Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, sources said. “Trump doesn’t like The New York Times, but he reveres it because it’s his hometown paper. The Washington Post, he has zero respect for,” the Republican close to the White House said. While the Post says that Bezos has no involvement in newsroom decisions, Trump has told advisers he believes Bezos uses the paper as a political weapon. One former White House official said Trump looks at the Post the same way he looks at the National Enquirer. “When Bezos says he has no involvement, Trump doesn’t believe him. His experience is with the David Peckers of the world. Whether it’s right or wrong, he knows it can be done.”



Always Be Escalating: Trump Ratchets Up Attack on Amazon, Washington Post
Vanity Fair

URL: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/03 ... azon-bezos
Category: Politics
Published: March 31, 2018

Description: The president lashed out at the commerce Web site again on Saturday morning, calling it a “scam” worth “billions of dollars.”
Donald Trump has been waging a small war with Amazon, claiming again on Twitter Saturday morning that the Internet commerce giant has been getting special treatment from the U.S. Postal Service. The Jeff Bezos-owned company, he claims, is operating under a “scam” that has set the country back “billions of dollars” because it is afforded a small subsidy for each package delivered by mail. “This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!” the president tweeted Saturday morning. These latest provocations follow a Thursday tweet in which the president accused Amazon of “putting many thousands of retailers out of business.” Trump’s attacks on The Washington Post follow a Friday afternoon story in which the paper detailed the damage the Stormy Daniels saga and Robert Mueller probe were doing to the Trump family’s real-estate and marketing business. The president has often lumped Amazon and the Post together in attacks like these, as they’re both owned by Bezos. Amazon and the Post say Bezos is not involved in editorial decision-making, and that the paper operates independently of Amazon. Both the Post and The New York Times published fact-check pieces regarding the president’s Saturday morning diatribe. The Times noted that Trump’s claims regarding Amazon and taxes are not true: the e-commerce giant began collecting state taxes in 2012 in California, and now collects state taxes in all applicable states. Annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission reveal that Amazon has drastically increased its total income-tax burden, to $957 million in 2017 from $177 million in 2014. These numbers are for Amazon’s entire income-tax load, so it remains unclear exactly how much state sales tax the company is collecting and paying. (The company does not always collect sales tax on items sold by third-party vendors on its marketplace.) A nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank found that the company, which makes deft use of a series of tax incentives and credits, likely paid no federal tax last year. In the Post’s report on Trump’s attack, the paper wryly noted that the president sent his fiery tweets “during his drive from his Mar-a-Lago estate to the nearby Trump International Golf Club,” and cited “one person who has discussed the matter repeatedly with the president,” who “explained that a negative story in the Post is almost always the catalyst for one of his Amazon rants.” (Another potential motivation for Trump’s attacks: Axios’s Mike Allen reported this week that the president’s “wealthy friends tell him Amazon is destroying their businesses.”) And as for the supposed post-office “scam” Amazon is conducting? “Trump has repeatedly advanced this theory, even though officials have explained to him that Amazon’s contracts with the Postal Service are profitable for the agency,” wrote the Post’s Philip Rucker. That “$1.50 on average” number Trump cited likely comes from a Wall Street Journal op-ed from nearly a year ago, in which an analyst said that the government was giving Amazon packages delivered by the U.S.P.S. a $1.46 subsidy, making them effectively cheaper than the Postal Service’s usual packages. But a following Forbes article explained that that subsidy was not coming from tax money, and that it was in place for a number of reasons, chiefly due to a congressional action that made sure the U.S.P.S. wouldn’t compete with companies like FedEx. According to the Times, the post office’s financial woes largely stem from the reduced volume of birthday cards, invitations, and direct-mail marketing, which have fallen as those activities move online. Package delivery is actually a growth area for the service, and has helped make up for some of the broader revenue loss. That said, the Times, citing a recent analysis in which Citigroup found that Amazon could be underpaying for its use of the U.S.P.S., concluded that Trump’s “assertion that the Postal Service is leaving money on the table may have some truth to it.” The president’s lack of sophistication in analyzing complex matters may have led him to seize on a partial truth, one he has dramatized to the point of falsification as part of his war with a perceived personal enemy. It wouldn’t be the first time.



Donald Trump Will Not Rest Until Amazon Is a Smoldering Pile of Radioactive Ash
Vanity Fair

URL: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/05 ... al-service
Category: Politics
Published: May 18, 2018

Description: The president reportedly tried to gouge Jeff Bezos for billions.
As you’ve probably heard, Donald Trump’s feelings toward Internet-retail giant Amazon are roughly on par with his feelings toward stairs, and exercise, and steaks with even the slightest bit of pink in the center. Which is to say: he hates Jeff Bezos’s company, and its bevested owner, too—“He’s obsessed with Bezos,” a source told my colleague Gabriel Sherman. “Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?” And, clearly, the president has done little to hide his feelings about Amazon. “Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” he tweeted in March, referring to the company. Then, presumably after catching wind of the many, many reports noting that, out here in reality, the post office makes a ton of money from Amazon, he insisted to his followers, “Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country . . . not a level playing field!” Because that’s how this president operates: in his own fact-free world, where even a cadre of advisers holding his hand and “explain[ing] to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate” can’t change his mind. And while it’s one thing to spout lies and delusions all over social media and during campaign rallies, it’s quite another to try to turn those lies and delusions into weapons against his enemies, which—surprise!—was exactly what he attempted to do. According to The Washington Post, Trump “has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com,” as well as several other firms, to ship packages, a move that would likely cost the companies billions. Per reporters Damian Paletta and Josh Dawsey, Brennan and Trump have met about the matter several times, beginning in 2017 and as recently as four months ago, although the meetings, conveniently, have never appeared on the president’s public schedule. Thus far Brennan, a 32-year veteran of the Postal Service, has resisted Trump’s demand, reportedly telling him “in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission.” Like former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Brennan has tried to get it through Trump’s head that the Postal Service actually benefits from its relationship with Amazon. On one occasion, clearly knowing her audience, she apparently busted out “a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.” Obviously, the most disturbing aspect of this story is not that Trump is incapable of absorbing pretty basic facts that have been explained to him on numerous occasions, but that he’s reportedly trying to use the power of the presidency to hurt Amazon because its owner’s newspaper was mean to him.
Trump . . . has accused the Post as being Amazon’s “chief lobbyist” as well as a tax shelter—false charges. He says Amazon uses these advantages to push bricks-and-mortar companies out of business. Some administration officials say several of Trump’s attacks aimed at Amazon have come in response to articles in the Post that he didn’t like.

In a statement to CNBC, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We are doing a total look at how the post office is operating. But [we] don’t have anything specific for you on that.”
User avatar
smix
 
Posts: 1748797
Images: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:05 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

PreviousNext

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to E-Tailers & E-Commerce


Mobile Device
  • 1
  • FREE CLASSIFIED ADS
    Free Classified Ads
    There are 3 ways to advertise - your choice: you can place free ads in a forum topic, in the classified display ads section, or you may start your own free blog. Please select the appropriate category and forum for the ad content before you post. Do not spam.
    Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Deal at your own risk and peril.
  • Advertisement