Trump Escalates War With Bezos: "Amazon Costs Taxpayers Many Billions Of Dollars"

Update (3 pm ET): Once again, the White House has sought to mitigate Trump's anti-Amazon rhetoric, reiterating that there are currently no plans to turn the power of the federal government against the e-commerce giant.

Amazon shares recovered on the news.

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Update (12:41 pmET): The jawboning continues as Trump speaks again at the White House, and echoes what he tweeted earlier, namely that the U.S. is giving a subsidy to Amazon, while the U.S. Postal Service is losing billions of dollars on Amazon. Trump also said that the U.S. government loses $1.47 every time it delivers a package for Amazon,  citing a study.

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Update (11:40 am ET): In a late-morning tweet, Sherman dropped a stray detail that he excluded from his original piece - but which doesn't bode well for Amazon shares.

Sherman tweeted that "unlike Gary Cohn, Larry Kudlow agrees with Trump that Amazon is a 'problem', a source briefed on their conversations tells me."

 

 

Amazon shares have climbed off their lows for the day and are now essentially flat.

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Update (10 am ET): Trump doubled down on his anti-Amazon stance Tuesday morning, once again declaring that Amazon is draining money from the US Post Office and that Amazon "should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don't have a clue (or do they?)!"

 

Shortly after, Amazon shares turned negative and was recently down 0.5%.

AMZN

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Amazon shares shed another 5% during Monday's tech-led market rout, after Trump renewed his attacks on the company and its owner, Jeff Bezos, whom he's accused of transforming the Washington Post into his personal propaganda outlet and demanded that it register as a lobbyist.

In a flurry of tweets, the president claimed that anybody who believes Amazon isn't ripping off the Post Office is a fool (even as other more business-friendly Republicans have warned Trump that this isn't necessarily true, and that he should be quiet before he wrecks the market rally he's so proud of).

Bezos

He also insisted, once again, that the company pays little or no taxes (Amazon collects sales taxes in 45 states, but third-party sellers using its platform often do not).

Meanwhile, the tempest (not in a teapot) that has engulfed Amazon may continue for one more day following the publication of Gabriel Sherman's latest "inside the White House"-type story from Vanity Fair. In it, Sherman quotes several anonymous "Republican insiders" who told him that Trump remains committed to striking back at the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, whom he accuses of marshalling the Washington Post's scathing coverage of his administration.

"He's off the hook on this. It's war," one anonymous source told Sherman. "He gets obsessed with something, and now he's obsessed with Bezos," said another. "Trump is like, how can I fuck with him?"

According to Sherman's sources, Trump is pushing for the Post Office to jack up the shipping rates that it charges Amazon. As recently as the beginning of the year, Trump would never have considered such drastic measures - mostly because he had Gary Cohn in the West Wing repeatedly reminding him of Amazon's role in driving the post-inauguration rally (it also has helped mitigate the harmful impact that email had on the Postal Service, Cohn would say).

"Trump doesn’t have Gary Cohn breathing down his neck saying you can’t do the Post Office shit," a Republican close to the White House said. "He really wants the Post Office deal renegotiated. He thinks Amazon’s getting a huge fucking deal on shipping."

But of all the punitive measures that Trump is considering to help stick it to Amazon, his advisers appear to be most amenable to the White House cancelling a pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon.

Advisers are also encouraging Trump to cancel Amazon’s pending multi-billion contract with the Pentagon to provide cloud computing services, sources say. Another line of attack would be to encourage attorneys general in red states to open investigations into Amazon’s business practices. Sources say Trump is open to the ideas. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.)

Trump has never been one to hold back while attacking his critics. He has savaged WaPo rival New York Times on many occasions, famously branding it the "failing New York Times." But there's an important distinction: No matter what the NYT writes about him, Trump will always retain a modicum of respect for the Gray Lady - after all, it's his hometown newspaper. The same cannot be said for WaPo.

"Trump doesn’t like The New York Times, but he reveres it because it’s his hometown paper. The Washington Post, he has zero respect for," one source said.

Trump also refuses to believe Bezos when the Amazon CEO says he protects the newsroom's editorial independence.

"When Bezos says he has no involvement, Trump doesn’t believe him. His experience is with the David Peckers of the world. Whether it’s right or wrong, he knows it can be done."

Regardless of what his advisors say, the newly emboldened president Trump isn't backing away from his threats against Amazon. At the core of the issue is Trump's old-school view of the American economy - he prizes the physical and the industrial over e-commerce and the transformative impact that the Internet had in pushing the US inexorably toward a services economy.

And to morally justify his crusade, Trump views it as a campaign to protect America's small business owners (an integral part of the Trump base). Which is why if we were Amazon shareholders, we'd be very uneasy.

Comments

mobius8curve Ghost of PartysOver Tue, 04/03/2018 - 08:24 Permalink

The plan has always been for these big corporations like Walmart and Amazon to to swallow up all the little guys because it is much easier to control people if they control the food:

http://www.investmentwatchblog.com/kissinger-control-oil-and-you-contro…

The lawless will prevail for a time:

https://sumofthyword.com/2017/01/18/the-mystery-of-lawlessness/

In reply to by Ghost of PartysOver

HopefulCynical Deep Snorkeler Tue, 04/03/2018 - 08:53 Permalink

...the transformative impact that the Internet had in pushing the US inexorably toward a services economy.

I remember John Rutledge writing, over a decade ago, that you CANNOT have a fully functioning economy based upon "everyone giving each other haircuts and guitar lessons." I agreed with him then, and I agree with Trump now. Amazon is simply another aspiring monopoly-focused rent-seeking operation. If USPS is losing money on every AMZN delivery it makes, while Bezos is using the WaPo he bought with AMZN Bux to push his goddamn Cultural Marxism - renegotiate that fucker, ASAP.

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

Nunyadambizness IridiumRebel Tue, 04/03/2018 - 09:46 Permalink

I've lived in 7 states, and have been to all 50 states with exceptions in the far Northeast (Maine, NH, VT), and ND.  We are divided along cultural lines more so than we have been since the Civil War.  However, THAT is not why we're not one--we have ALWAYS been divided culturally, which is why you get the best biscuits and cornbread in the South, the best Crab cakes in MD, best etoufee in LA, Venison in IA, etc., etc., etc.  One could also look at religious differences, such as Catholics in the NE, Baptists in the South, Lutherans in the Midwest, Mormons in the West, etc.   The truth is, there are 1000 ways to divide us, but there has always been the unifying fact that We are Americans.  THAT's what has always made us different, that's what we've always been proud of. 

However, having said all that, in the past 60+ years what has been dividing us is MARXISM.  Communists have made HUGE strides in dividing us amongst ourselves, into the "rich" versus "poor", along racial lines, along "social justice" lines, "environmental" lines, etc.  Our children have been taught that big government is good, individualism is bad, that Christianity is either a false religion altogether, or it's "racist", misogynistic, homophobic, "hate speech", and a hundred other lies.  We've been told our Founding Fathers weren't really Christian, because they owned slaves, or because they were "Theistic" or more lies.  We've been told that the "nuclear family" isn't needed because men and women are exactly the same, and besides--unborn children are not really children at all, and can be discarded with the rest of the trash.  We're told that government will and SHOULD take care of us, our healthcare, our basic needs, and economics be damned, we can spend money we don't have because we can just print more--and nothing bad will ever happen.

We've been lied to, and like sheep led to their slaughter, we've been played.  The only question is, can we change our fate?  I think we tried to when we elected a non-insider to the Presidency, but we still have all of the entrenched Marxists and Marxist supporters to overcome.  Good luck with that.

In reply to by IridiumRebel

FBaggins BullyBearish Tue, 04/03/2018 - 12:00 Permalink

Trump is still trying to serve his own nation first rather than offshore interests, which is exactly the opposite of what Jeff Bezos (Amazon), the Waltons (Walmart), Arthur Blank (Home Depot) and many other chain-store retailers and US multinationals are doing in flooding our home markets with foreign goods often manufactured in deplorable working conditions and causing huge economic imbalances.  

Consumers are helpless and will predictably buy at the lowest prices, which is fine in fair-market conditions where nations running their own affairs are able to balance trade deficits while ensuring that products sold in their nations are made under proper labor, health, and environmental conditions.

The present-day robber barons have sold us a pig in a poke, calling it “free trade”, which is good for them and all the monied international investors who have no real loyalty to anything other than their own bank accounts. These laissez faire exploiters in their betrayals of their home nations have in effect drained the West of its manufacturing industries, capital, and jobs, with our entire economies now becoming more and more precarious each day.

The solution the robber barons give us to the impeding economic doom, while nations like China grow stronger and stronger and we get weaker and weaker, is globalism, where we simply give up our nations and our borders, making what they have done more legal or acceptable to everyone, as if the dire economic and humanitarian imbalances we are now witnessing were simply inevitable in their expanding world market. They were not and ARE NOT. 

In reply to by BullyBearish

biker_trash FBaggins Tue, 04/03/2018 - 13:48 Permalink

I agree with your overall analysis with one major exception. Trump only appears to fight globalist on Twitter and he uses these hot point issues to negotiate insignificant wins which allow him to gain popularity amongst his less educated base. Meanwhile, he's now surrounded by NEOCONS who are Globalist of the worst kind. The psychopath NEOCON's cloak themselves in Patriotic garb while peddling ME wars that only benefit Israel and their MIC crony's.  If trump was the true Orange Jesus he would be pushing back on the MIC as well. He is just a showman that has learned to leverage the prevailing sentiment to his advantage.  

In reply to by FBaggins

Faeriedust biker_trash Tue, 04/03/2018 - 19:47 Permalink

That, and while as a New York businessman he can't help but have some ideas about how to run domestic policy, he hasn't ever had the faintest interest in the rest of the world (except as sites for his golf courses) and therefore doesn't know how to pursue an independent foreign policy.  In the vacuum, the power nexus continues to suck in those who were already positioned to claim seats at the table.  While he had Steve Bannon he had a chance of finding more independent advisers, but scratch that now.

In reply to by biker_trash

Faeriedust FBaggins Tue, 04/03/2018 - 19:42 Permalink

Exactly.  The high and mighty pretend to wring their hands and whine that they can't do anything, but in fact there are MANY ways to prevent this scenario from playing out, if government stops running scared of being called "communist" for interfering with the so-called "free market" (free for the rich, and damned expensive for everyone else).

In reply to by FBaggins

warpig1 IridiumRebel Tue, 04/03/2018 - 12:44 Permalink

Maybe, but that just illustrates to me the sloppy thinking of people nowadays. Marxism was mostly concerned with the economics of a society and specifically combating the most caustic effects of rampant capitalism that we see today. Those are the effects people like Boubou are railing against unknowingly. Our cultural wounds are a direct result of our deseased economic situation. More capitalism is not the answer but most of the people in power disagree. Deregulate everything and let the chips fall is their mantra. Doomed we are.  

In reply to by IridiumRebel

MoralsAreEssential Boubou Tue, 04/03/2018 - 10:52 Permalink

You're using a tired and antiquated definition of the Marxism created by the Usual Suspects of Chabad Zionists which isn't even that relevant today per economics.  It is the Cultural Marxism and the fallacy of "equality" of RESULTS which is the tip of the spear for anyone not thriving ACCORDING TO THE MEDIA.  It's the propaganda that sells socialism and Marxism to people who cannot or will not reason and are purposely denied economic FACTS about how economies work.  The UK, for instance, does not have state ownership of the things you mentioned; however, they sure as hell control same through laws passed by their legislative stooges in Parliament and their Welfare System is all encompassing.  That you would even SUGGEST that US MSM IS NOT "OWNED"by the "State" is ludicrous.

In reply to by Boubou

CNONC Boubou Tue, 04/03/2018 - 11:03 Permalink

Marxist ideology involves both a criticism of the industrialized free market economy and a proposed alternative.  Central to the Marxist critique are two ideas: First, that capitalist efficiency will eventually result in overproduction leading to a collapse in prices that will bankrupt the industrialists and owners of capital, and second, the Labor Theory of Value, (also subscribed to by Adam Smith) which holds that all value is created by human labor applied to natural resources.  It follows logically from this idea that the "capitalist" is a "rentier." 

It is possible to be a Marxist to the extent that one accepts the criticism as valid, but rejects the Marxist solutions of communal control of resources.  The industrialists, "robber barons," and the American elites of the late 19th and early 20th century were Marxists of the sort I just described.  Once you understand that, you will begin to understand American economic history.  The Progressive movement, with its signature victories, all in 1913, of the establishment of a central bank, the direct election of Senators, and the imposition of Federal direct taxation, was the expression of a non-Communist solution to the Marxist objections.  This solution involved the creation of a planned national economy which focused on "demand management."  A class of people, now known as "consumers," who consumed more than they produced, was intentionally created in order to absorb the expected oversupply of capitalist production.

Reread the mid century dystopian novels.  You will see that the imagined tyrranies arose to solve the problem of excess production; through the destruction of continuous war in "1984"; through mental conditioning to consume in "Brave New World." 

Study government economic of policy of the last 140 years, particularly the response to the Depression, and you will begin to see that we have been controlled by Marxists since Marx first wrote "Das Kapital."  The belief in the central assertions of Marxism, although both demonstrably incorrect, have woven themselves into the unrecognized assumptions which underpin modern economic thought, both at the popular and academic level.

I would assert, based on the comments here of late, that most on ZH are unwitting Marxists.  If you think that "Marxism" is simply collective ownership of the means of production, your will fail to see the extensive influence that Marx continues to have on the modern world.     

In reply to by Boubou

pynky01 Boubou Tue, 04/03/2018 - 14:36 Permalink

gd boubou where have u been... or you are 12 years old... the communists are the deep state the shadow...no they wont admit it... this is no game  if our govt is overthrown ... the gulags will be immediate ... if you can read...Stalin's attempt to mold the "new socialist man" is telling...remove the marxist jew from out govt and get world peace as a bonus........

In reply to by Boubou

Faeriedust Boubou Tue, 04/03/2018 - 19:39 Permalink

Marxism tries to stop once it transfers all the megabusinesses, monopolies and industrial dinosaurs to the State.  It doesn't bother to BREAK THEM UP.  Only Anarchism addresses the issue of too much power consolidated in too few hands.  Marxism doesn't go nearly far enough.

In reply to by Boubou

Ophiuchus Nunyadambizness Tue, 04/03/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

In response to your 9:46...

 

They live. They existed before us.............and they must feed. The chattering of teeth can be heard from here to Saturn but it's out of your range of understanding. After all, you and all the eclectic sheep you speak of are programmed to be healthy heterogeneous feed stock.

Just like dogs have a universal sense which humans do not have, where they can feel the energy (emotions) of the other beings around them, so do they.

Fear will keep you alive much longer than one who laughs at the Carnival going on all around you. "Only the good die young."

BTW, to prove a point to a friend that everyone was asleep I played the following song 15 times in a row at a bar in Indianapolis called "The Living Room." Not one person flinched or broke out of conversation for that entire hour. Everything moved along just exactly like the message in the song. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ_Wqtnlv4U

 

In reply to by Nunyadambizness

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Nunyadambizness Tue, 04/03/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

Great rant. I agree with everything you said. This started a long time ago with Adam Weishaupt. Marx popularized Weishaupt's teachings. Weishaupt established the Order of the Illuminati on May 1, 1776, in Bavaria. Two months before the official founding of the US. Matt Bracken was on IWs today and I was thrilled to hear him mention Weishaupt! His ideas went on to foment the French Revolution and other uprisings and revolutions. I didn't realize why the fucking commies celebrated May 1st until reading about this guy in "Hope of the Wicked" by Ted Flynn. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Weishaupt

In reply to by Nunyadambizness

HopefulCynical Rapunzal Tue, 04/03/2018 - 09:32 Permalink

Ahhh, but Trump has never been accepted by that cabal. He had the nerve to work to become a billionaire, instead of inheriting or stealing it, like they all did. How gauche of him.

Trump knows it too. He doesn't like those parasites either, not one little bit. I don't see a puppet. I see one guy who believes that if he can't topple their tower, can at least weaken the hell out of it, soften it up for the next guy (Rand, maybe?) and damn well means to try, but who maybe didn't realize QUITE how deep the fucking swamp really is until he won the election.

In reply to by Rapunzal