Amazon’s Big Taxpayer Heist

Most people don’t know that the largest employer in the massive administrative state is the badly failing United States Postal Service. Housing nearly one third of all government employees, the USPS loses billions of dollars every year. It’s a broken, archaic system. But don’t worry—Amazon is here to tell you that the USPS is one of the best things ever. 

Why? Because the postal service delivers Amazon packages under market rate thanks to the American taxpayer. That’s right: you, the American taxpayer, are subsidizing and prioritizing Amazon and gazillionaire Jeff Bezos. Because of Amazon, packages are now choking the postal delivery networks, which explains the now infamous recent delays in traditional mail, all while the USPS continues its unbroken exercise in failure.

One of the emerging problems with the postal service is the priority given to packages over traditional mail like periodicals, tax documents, paychecks, and letters. The New York Times reported in May of 2020 on the formation of an advocacy coalition, organized by Amazon, to promote a “seven-figure advertising blitz” opposing demands “that the beleaguered United States Postal Service ratchet up its package delivery rates to avoid bankruptcy amid the coronavirus crisis.” The coalition supported “a multibillion-dollar rescue package proposed by Democrats that would help the Postal Service survive the sharp drop in revenue and mail volume caused by the pandemic.” 

Except that’s not really what’s happening (besides, the Postal Service was losing billions before the pandemic and increased prices for package delivery will do nothing to save it).

As I tell people all the time, when D.C. doesn’t make sense, just follow the money for clarity. You see, the crony advocates at the phony Amazon-funded advocacy group are really fighting for the right to force taxpayer bailout after bailout to help keep packages delivered below market rates in order to benefit Amazon. So naturally, this is now a priority for the Postal Service. 

John McHugh, a former Republican congressman from New York and the leader of an Amazon-funded coalition, wrote an op-ed recently in which he argued that profits for the Postal Service were good because of package services and “the integrated network of both letter mail and packages is essential to the health of the Postal Service.” This is laughable. What is really taking place is that the Amazon coalition wants to rig the game using taxpayer dollars and have the government-backed USPS compete with private enterprise while continually losing billions of taxpayer money every year. Again, this has nothing to do with what is good for the American taxpayer, only with what benefits Amazon.

There has been a great debate in this country about how big corporations like Amazon aren’t really healthy for our republic and are leading to a vicious cycle: big corporations collude with big government in crony capitalism, rig the game to their benefit, crush competition from smaller businesses, and then take corporate monies to fund woke organizations like BLM. Amazon is absolutely part of the corporate left-wing mob that has turned against conservatives. But even more so, the company itself has used cheap subsidized package delivery to wean people off traditional retail, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic along the way. 

According to Forbes, Amazon “delivered a record performance in 2020 with annual revenue up 38% to $386 billion, a yearly increase of $100 billion.” It’s not enough that Amazon has profited enormously from the COVID crisis. It now wants taxpayers to bailout the Postal Service so it can continue to rake in massive profits.

It’s insanity. The  Postal Service’s own statistics demonstrate that. It is not profitable and lost $9.2 billion in 2020, $8.8 billion in 2019, and $3.9 billion in 2018. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testified before Congress in February that losses over the past decade were “$66.8 billion” and “absent substantial changes, our financial losses will continue to widen, and our ability to invest in the future of the organization will be severely curtailed.” The USPS is forecast to lose another $160 billion over the next ten years. Amazon’s push to mix in the delivery of packages with traditional mail will further remove the Postal Service from its original purpose and taxpayers can expect even slower delivery of often important documents to their mailboxes.

Because parcels only bear about one quarter of the network’s costs, the taxpayers have to pay twice for the service—through postage rates and through bailouts by politicians. It is a fiction being pushed by Amazon that USPS package delivery will be the savior of the post office, and it’s a self-serving one. The fact is that Amazon is a crony capitalist company that uses some of its profits to push the federal government into continuing subsidies for its very profitable business by allowing the postal service to deliver packages subsidized by the taxpayers. 

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

Photo: (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)