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  • Why Trump’s Washing Machine Tariffs Are Cronyism Heritage 2020.08.10

    President Donald Trump on Thursday visited a Whirlpool factory in Clyde, Ohio, to tout the benefits of his trade agenda for American manufacturers. Whirlpool claimed to have been injured by foreign competition in 2017 and got the administration to impose tariffs ranging from 20% to 50% on washing machines―and parts―imported by their competitors the following year. Now, Whirlpool is claiming that the policy created 200 new jobs in its Ohio factory. The story is an easy one to tell because new jobs for Americans is great news. What the news headlines aren’t telling you is that Whirlpool is the beneficiary of textbook cronyism, with the government putting its thumb on the scale to pick winners and losers. What the mainstream media also won’t tell you is that American families have paid $200 billion so far for those 200 jobs. Whirlpool claimed in 2017 that “the domestic industry suffered significant market-share loss, deteriorating financial performance, low and declining capacity utilization, and suppressed investment and employment.” Yet, just two years earlier, “in 2015, Whirlpool attained its highest annual revenue since 2007,” and in 2016, the company sold 9.7 million washers, 18% more than in 2013.

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