Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

President Donald Trump speaks after signing the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C, on April 24, 2020.

President Donald Trump speaks after signing the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C, on April 24, 2020. With Trump are (L-R) U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Jovita Carranza of the Small Business Administration, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) (Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Calling US Postal Service 'A Joke,' Trump Demands Four-Fold Price Hike for Customers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Such a move, say critics, "would be a disaster for millions of Americans who rely on USPS."

Jessica Corbett

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future Covid-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless the federal agency dramatically raises its shipping prices—a demand that critics say is ludicrous given the economic calamity the American people and the post office are now facing.

"It is disgusting that Trump would exploit this pandemic to bust postal unions and privatize the most popular government agency in America. If we can bail out large corporations, we can damn well save the Postal Service and protect these essential jobs."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

After U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielded a question about relief funding for USPS from a reporter at the White House during a bill signing ceremony Friday, Trump declared that "the Postal Service is a joke, because they're handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package they lose money on it."

"The post office should raise the price of a package by approximately four times," the president added. "Four or five times, that's what it should be—or let Amazon build their own post office, which would be an impossible thing to do, because the post office is massive and serves every little piece of the country."

Trump accused USPS of refusing to raise package prices "because they don't want to insult Amazon and they don't want to insult other companies perhaps that they like." He also said the agency "should raise the price of the packages to the companies, not to the people."

As the Washington Post reported Friday:

Trump and his allies have frequently claimed that higher package rates on internet shipping companies—Amazon, in particular—could ease the Postal Service's financial troubles. But higher package rates could hurt the agency by artificially raising its prices above those of United Parcel Service and FedEx, analysts say. Higher prices also could impact Amazon, which acts as both retailer and shipper, by forcing it pass off higher costs on its customers to compete.

Critics quickly responded to Trump's comments with warnings about how a price hike could impact both the USPS and consumers.

"At a time when millions of Americans are stuck at home and can't work, Trump is demanding what is basically a tax hike on mail," tweeted the The Atlantic staff writer Adam Serwer, referencing the ongoing coronavirus-related lockdowns and job losses.

Other critics accused Trump of trying to destroy the USPS "to suppress mail-in votes." The public health crisis has sparked calls to rapidly and significantly expand vote-by-mail nationwide to ensure that everyone can safely particpate in future elections. Trump has baselessly attacked mail-in voting as insecure. 

The president tweeted Friday afternoon: "I will never let our Post Office fail. It has been mismanaged for years, especially since the advent of the internet and modern-day technology. The people that work there are great, and we're going to keep them happy, healthy, and well!"

The USPS, for its part, recently reiterated its policy of delivering absentee and mail-in ballots "even if no postage has been affixed or if the postage is insufficient." That statement on Wednesday was widely welcomed, with people across the country thanking the agency for "working to save democracy."

U.S. Mail Not for Sale, a worker-led campaign sponsored by the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers, circulated a petition urging Congress to provide USPS with "urgent and ongoing financial support from the federal government during this public health and economic crisis."

The Postal Service—already under financial duress due to a 2006 congressional mandate requiring the agency to fund retirees' health benefits through 2056—warned earlier this month that without an infusion of cash, the agency could soon face a complete collapse due to revenue loss related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The president's comments from the Oval Office came after the Post reported on Thursday night that Trump was considering using a $10 billion congressionally approved loan to force changes at the Postal Service. That loan was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Trump signed last month.

Mnuchin, who has to sign off on the loan to USPS, confirmed to reporters at the White House that the administration will impose certain criteria, though he declined to share details. Trump, however, jumped in and said, "if they don't raise the price, I'm not signing anything... and I'm not authorizing you to do anything, Steve."

Sen. Bernie Sanders shared the Post's reporting on Twitter and declared that "it is disgusting that Trump would exploit this pandemic" to force changes at USPS.

Sanders on Tuesday hosted a virtual town hall with the leaders of the nation's top postal unions to discuss how to save USPS.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo