The problem with all the criticism of Trump over Amazon

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on Friday titled "Trump Targets Amazon." The piece had a pull quote that said: "The President's tweets make any regulatory action seem political."

While they cited a few comparable examples of this from President Obama's time in office – Staples for high compensation, Anthem for high prices, and the Koch brothers for opposing renewable fuels, I do not recall them going after Obama as hard with the insert about him being political during his eight years in office.  The Obama administration was filled with huge examples of targeting private companies for punishment, and this targeting was obviously because of a political agenda.

Some examples:

  • Before Obama even took office, he said his actions were going to bankrupt coal companies and make utility rates skyrocket.  That was obviously political.  He was always favoring solar and wind over all fossil fuel companies.
  • Oil companies would get fined if they killed migratory birds, but wind and solar were basically given a pass.  If Obama, the EPA, and others actually cared about the wildlife wind and solar wouldn't get a pass.
  • Obama blocked pipelines – not based on environmental studies but based on the agenda of seeking to destroy fossil fuels.  It is actually safer to take oil underground versus above ground.
  • Obama went after for-profit universities but never held not-for-profit or public universities to the same standards.  Profit seemed to be a dirty word for Obama's administration.
  • Obama went after payday loan stores because he basically didn't like them.  If anyone wants to see fees that are way above usury rates, they should look at what government does.  For example, parking fees are routinely doubled if they are paid 21 days late.  Why is that acceptable, but not a fee on a payday loan?  The government under Obama was seeking to destroy the businesses.  I may not like the fees, but for a lot of people, that is the only credit they can get, and equating the fee to an interest rate is pure garbage.

Obamacare is the best example of a purely political agenda:

  • Obama and the Democrats always wanted single-payer government health care, and they knew they couldn't get that by the public, so they wrote a law that intentionally destroyed competition.  They continually trashed private health care companies for too much profit and greed.
  • Obama and his spokespeople knew that the law they were writing would not allow people to keep their doctors or health plans if they liked them, but they continually, knowingly lied to the public.  They also wrote the law with massive mandates, regulations, taxes, and fees, and yet they lied to the public that it would lower their costs.  The costs have skyrocketed.
  • As they told the public the law would expand competition, it was intentionally written to destroy competition.  There is no way that small and medium-sized companies could handle rules like no annual limits, no lifetime limits, and no ability to underwrite risk.  For years, the losses have been buried with billions of subsidies from the taxpayers.  The intent was always to destroy private industry, and once there were fewer choices for the public, the Democrats would say there was no other choice but government-run health care.
  • If Obama and the Democrats actually wanted to lower costs and get more competition, they certainly would not have taken away freedom of choice as to what type of policy to buy.  They would have just expanded high-risk pools, put in tort reform, allowed the purchase across state lines, and allowed freedom of choice as to what to include in policies.

Everything with Obamacare, including all the intentional lies, was political in nature to move over 15% of the economy from the private sector to the government.

As for Amazon:

The president is right that the people at Amazon shouldn't get away with what they do.  Anyone who sells his product through the Amazon website should collect and remit sales taxes.  Small vendors that sell out of their houses or local stores certainly don't have the capability to comply with sales tax laws, but Amazon does, so if people sell through Amazon or eBay, they should charge the tax so there is not an unfair advantage.  Amazon and eBay get fees if they sell the products so they should collect and remit the tax.

As for the Post Office, we know that the Post Office operates at a huge loss every year, so we have no idea if Amazon helps reduce its loss or increase its loss.  For example, if the Post Office has to pay overtime and higher pensions and keep more trucks on the road, does that increase or reduce their loss?

If the Post Office cost is $20 per package but gives Amazon and others a discounted price of $18, that increases the loss.  More volume doesn't necessarily produce better results.

Think of a gas station whose cost is $2 per gallon but decides to sell its gas for $1.90 per gallon.  Will it help or hurt if its volume doubles?

In Japan, the Japanese version of the FTC is going after Amazon Japan for unfair monopolistic practices.  It would be wise if our government made sure Amazon wasn't using its size to attain a bigger unfair advantage than they already have.  Our president has good instincts.