The Monday Moneybeat

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, May 14th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.

The U.S. Postal Service lost twice as much money this year as it did last year, same time period.

USPS first quarter 2018 losses: $1.3 billion.

Compare that with a loss of $562 million between January and March 2017.

The widening loss comes despite the Postal Service’s 10 percent increase in its package-delivery business so far this year.

Revenues, actually, are up. It’s just that costs are up even more.

One of them is the cost of retiree health and pension benefits. The government requires the USPS to prefund those costs, but it’s defaulted on those payments every year since 2012.

Another factor is the massive decline in mail volume, first-class letters and marketing mail.

That bread-and-butter business accounts for two-thirds of USPS revenue.

Those who run the service are calling for greater freedom to raise the price of stamps to cover the shortfall.

President Trump is fighting that. He thinks the Postal Service is giving too sweet a deal to, and it ought to charge more.

REICHARD: Three other business-related items at the White House.

Here’s the first one: The United States last week signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates to put behind them a spat over unfair airlines competition. U.S. officials complained about Emirati government subsidies to its airlines that gave them a leg up over American carriers. Negotiations dragged on for months but on Friday, the governments signed a pact at the State Department.

EICHER: And here is the second:

The president met on Friday with the world’s top car makers. He’s pushing them to make more automobiles with American workers in the United States.

TRUMP: We’re really talking about environmental control, CAFE standards, and manufacturing of millions of more cars within the United States …

CAFE is an acronym. It stands for corporate average fuel economy. That’s a government rule dictating the average miles per gallon a company’s fleet of cars gets.

The auto industry wants to relax draconian Obama-era standards. Trump does, too. But the White House is having to negotiate with California over that. The reason is that the state has its own environmental regs and the last thing the auto industry wants is a possible lawsuit by California if the Trump administration changes the rules.

And, the third story has the president announcing his plan for lowering prescription drug prices. On Friday he unveiled it. The plan is largely regulatory relief and smaller measures aimed at increasing competition and transparency.

REICHARD: A winning week on Wall Street. On Friday at the closing bell, the financial markets ended with their best weekly gain since early March.

All the major indexes closed more than 2 percentage points higher. And with that finish, the Standard & Poor’s 500, the Dow Jones Industrials, the Nasdaq, and the Russell 2000 all have returned to positive territory for the year.

EICHER: And that’s this week’s Monday Moneybeat.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) In this Dec. 14, 2017, file photo, boxes for sorted mail are stacked at the main post office in Omaha, Neb. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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