business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Washington Post reports that the US Treasury Department "is considering taking unprecedented control over key operations of the U.S. Postal Service by imposing tough terms on an emergency coronavirus loan from Congress, which would fulfill President Trump’s longtime goal of changing how the service does business, according to two people familiar with the matter."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly has told senior officials at the USPS in recent weeks "that he could use the loan as leverage to give the administration influence over how much the agency charges for delivering packages and how it manages its finances."

The story notes that "Trump has railed for years against what he sees as mismanagement at the Postal Service, which he argues has been exploited by e-commerce sites such as Amazon, and has sought to change how much the agency charges for the delivery of packages."  Trump has a problematic relationship with Amazon in part because its founder-CEO, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, which has been aggressive in its coverage of the Trump administration.

I continue to argue that solving the Post Office's problems is not just a matter of charging Amazon more for shipping.  After all, Amazon could just start up its own private post office to compete with the USPS, which would be worse off without Amazon packages to deliver.

And I'm not sure that any business should want any administration to be able to dictate such policies … it may be Trump vs. Bezos now, but it won't necessarily end there, because Trump won't always be president, and there always will be companies that annoy whoever is sitting in the Oval Office.

What the USPS needs is a couple of executives/entrepreneurs/innovators to get together in a two-pizza team for three months, charged with coming up with a plan for what the Post Office would look like if it were invented from scratch tomorrow.