Donald Trump Takes Another Shot at Amazon and Jeff Bezos

Donald Trump Takes Another Shot at Amazon and Jeff Bezos

Amazon shares have still climbed 21% over the past three months while Microsoft's stock has gained 5.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 2.6%.

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders denied the report and said there aren't any specific policies on the table at this time. However, Amazon and other big e-commerce companies now routinely collect state sales taxes.

Amazon has pushed to have Congress require all online retailers abide by the same state sales tax. The Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that states couldn't collect sales taxes gathered by mail-order catalog companies unless the firms had a physical presence in a state.

On top of looking to sell you everything available on this planet, and then some - as long as your product doesn't compete with theirs - Amazon is reportedly looking to become your banker too. Amazon has paid state sales taxes since last April, but it is argued that the online retail giant still holds an advantage because there is no internet sales tax.

Trump's tweet comes a day after Axios' Dan Primack reported the President is "obsessed" with Amazon, and is eyeing legal means to go after the company. Still, the post office is a money-losing business, posting a net loss of $2.7 billion a year ago. The Postal Service does make deals with large customers, including Amazon, although Trump's contention that it has resulted in "tremendous loss" is misleading. Analysts have said that Amazon pays USPS about half of what it would pay UPS or FedEx. Parcel delivery has become an increasingly important part of the Postal Service's business as first-class mail has been on a long-running decline. Some of that money would presumably go to the Postal Service, which in 2014 handled 40 percent of Amazon's packages, according to one 2015 estimate.

The Postal Service's financial crisis has persisted over the past 11 years. A 2017 analysis by Citigroup concluded that the agency was charging below market rates for package delivery. Last year, packages constituted 28 percent of the total, with the segment increasing 12 percent year over year.

Stifel says Amazon collects sales tax on its owned inventory in all 45 states that have a state sales tax and Washington, D.C.; believes Trump's tax comments, which really refer to third party merchants, "is not a new issue" and actually favorably positions Amazon relative to its peers. Much of Trump's distaste for Amazon is because CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, whose coverage the president frequently criticizes. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated that the Trump administration is interested in similar policy to be implemented nationwide (Bloomberg).



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