Team Trump is not dropping its effort to kill off the U.S. Postal Service, but it has found a slightly new spin. It’s not that Trump wants to kill the Postal Service, the claim goes. It’s just that “The postal service has been taken advantage of for far too long. Corporations have to start paying their fair share instead of receiving below market rates, which has robbed our taxpayers and hurts our economy,” according to a campaign spokesperson.
Translation: Trump wants to raise package rates by up to 400% in his ongoing war against Amazon, apparently prompted by the fact that the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post has gotten under his skin a few times. The Package Coalition, which represents Amazon and other big shippers, has put $2 million into an ad campaign against Trump’s “massive package tax,” with the coalition’s chair, a Republican former member of Congress, saying “Why anyone on the Republican side of the aisle would want to bring the Postal Service close to a financial shutdown six to eight weeks out from the election and thinks that’s a vote-getter is beyond me.”
Well, yeah. People in rural areas rely on the Postal Service for prescriptions and other essential goods, and a major price increase would be a serious blow to them. And a recent poll conducted for a union found that 78% of people support additional federal funding for the Postal Service to just 22% who would rather see shipping rates raised.
Trump is handing former Vice President Joe Biden an issue to campaign on, and he is, tweeting that “the U.S. Postal Service is an essential pillar of American life. We simply cannot let Donald Trump destroy it” and emailing supporters about Trump’s attacks on the agency.
Literally nine out of 10 Americans have a favorable view of the Postal Service. Some of the Republicans will definitely put their allegiance to Trump above their need for affordable shipping of their prescriptions, but it’s still a stupid fight to pick. And yet here we are: Trump has a chance to permanently wound—if not altogether bankrupt—the most popular part of the federal government.