I wrote earlier about President Trump’s continued attacks on Amazon, and his efforts to drive down stock shares, thereby harming Americans who have stock in the company.
I also mentioned that much of it is petty jealousy over a perceived rival’s success (Let’s be honest. Trump’s $3 billion versus Jeff Bezos’ $81+ billion hardly makes them rivals. That would suggest Trump is on the same level of success as Bezos.), and how the success of Amazon has cost Trump’s business.
Still, as president, Trump’s words have an affect on the economy and the stock market. Amazon has seen several hefty slips in the market, once the petulant, anti-capitalism commander-in-chief began his campaign to damage the company through social media.
They’ve lost a collective $260 billion as the e-commerce giant’s shares tumbled 2.8 percent since the president’s March 29 renewal of his social-media onslaught against the company run by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. It’s a bigger slide than the 0.9 percent decline on the S&P 500 index as well as drops of 1 percent and 1.7 percent on competitors Netflix and Walmart, respectively.
During that time, the president has argued that Seattle-based Amazon pays insufficient taxes, under-compensates the Postal Service for delivery of its packages and exploits the Post for lobbying purposes. Axios, meanwhile, reported that Trump has mused using anti-trust laws to rein in Amazon, which boasted a value of $935 billion before his most recent Twitter barrage.
The truth is, “snail mail” is taking a hit. People don’t write letters, anymore. They send email. They pay bills online or have them automatically withdrawn from the bank.
Honestly, just about the only thing that comes to the mailbox here is junk mail, campaign flyers, and packages from Amazon.
Where the USPS has been reporting losses every year in normal mail delivery, when it comes to package delivery, there has been 9.3 percent growth, drawing in $505 million.
“We deliver more e-commerce packages to homes than any other shipper,” Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan told analysts in February. “We’ve averaged double-digit growth in our package-delivery business over the past three years.”
And surprise, surprise. Trump is wrong about the taxes, as well:
$798 million in 2017, including $211 million to states and $724 million overseas. The company’s U.S. tax bill was a net negative of $137 million, following a GOP-led overhaul that reduced the top corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent. That compared with a federal income tax bill of $1.1 billion the year before and $215 million in 2015.
These facts are readily available and Trump has been informed. His unwillingness to stop going after a private business and disrupting the stock market makes it look very much like a planned attack.
It may also be illegal.
Is he violating federal securities laws by publicly/falsely commenting on Amazon – especially in light of the fact that he is the president – and driving the stock prices down?
Several MSNBC hosts brought up the possibility earlier Tuesday.
“If a person were to go out and knowingly spread false information about a stock, causing it to go down, that might be the kind of thing, in a normal world, the Securities and Exchange Commission would look into,” Velshi said. “The president is absolutely lying about Amazon, and it caused the stock to go down, but he’s the president.”
So is the president exempt from the same laws that would put Average Joe Stock Broker in hot water? Can his Twitter attacks be called “securities fraud”?
You can bet someone is looking into it. At least, we should hope so, lest the next victim be a company conservatives care about, with a [more] liberal president doing the targeting.
The U.S. Postal Service has been losing money for years, but in the wake of Trump’s tweets, some have said this is because the agency is required to pre-fund its pension benefits several decades in advance.
That would make a difference, wouldn’t it?
The USPS is a model of federal government efficiency, which is to say, it’s not, and this is what you get.
It’s time the start pushing back against the gilded toad in the White House, who is attempting to put the final stake in their heart, while damaging a private business and the U.S. stock market, in the process.