An Executive Order against E-commerce

The ongoing battle between President Trump and the e-commerce giant Amazon continually intensifies, now with Trump issuing a new executive order that indirectly targets the corporate giant. Long before Trump’s presidency, he has made it a point to call out Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos for the deficits he believes they are causing to in-store shopping, as well as to the US postal system. On April 12, Trump executed an official order which will form an administrative task force that is meant to evaluate the US Postal Services operations; the force will be chaired by United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. This order is motivated by the post office’s loss of $65 billion over the last 11 fiscal years.

Very notably, the order does not call out Amazon or Bezos directly by name, but it is undeniably evident that they are the true driving motivator. He writes in his order, “It shall be the policy of my administration that the United States postal system operates under a sustainable business model to provide necessary mail services to citizens and businesses, and to compete fairly in commercial markets”. These lines basically mean that the administration wants to reorganize the structure of the US postal system in order to decrease losses and check the power of e-commerce giants like Amazon. In Trump-like fashion, he has sent out a multitude of tweets, in these directly naming Amazon, claiming their expansion has been crippling to common business and the traditional postal service.

It is currently known that Amazon has several agreements with the postal service, including a confidential agreement that allows Amazon to deliver a large number of packages to their closest post office, with the post office finishing the delivery (though admittedly this type of deal is not exclusive to Amazon, with many large delivery providers doing the same).

Trump has been calling out Amazon even before his presidency began, so it’s no surprise that he made good of his word and is now attempting to act. He has put in place many executive orders since having come to office, though admittedly, this one does seem like he’s at least attempting to improve something for the American people, from large companies to small business owners. However, although it is undoubtable that Amazon’s success has taken a toll on in-store shopping, I know for me personally, as a college student, many of the things I buy now come from Amazon rather than a store because of the speed, accessibility, and typically fair pricing.

E-commerce continues to expand its reach and services, seeking to serve their consumers in ways unseen before. They strive for pinnacle efficiency, and as these companies thrive, it is inevitable that other branches of commerce will begin to struggle. It is undoubtable that we have been seeing more companies fail at the cost of Amazon’s success. It is important to keep in consideration the question of whether or not e-commerce is ‘destroying’ this nation's economy, or if it’s simply changing it to a new, more efficient form of service. But, what remains most important is making changes that only benefit the country and its people.