Thanks to Donald Trump, Washing Machines Cost 12% More This Year

"And if you buy now, we'll only charge you 12 percent more than we did last year!"Gene Blevins/ZUMA

Via Jim Tankersley, here’s a chart that shows what happened to the price of appliances after President Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese-made washing machines:

The response of appliance manufacturers was simple: freed of competition from China, they raised the price of both washers and dryers (which are typically purchased together). Conversely, the price of refrigerators and dishwashers, which weren’t affected by the tariffs, stayed roughly the same.

This comes from a paper written by Aaron Flaaen, Ali Hortaçsu, and Felix Tintelno, which you can read here. The authors calculate that manufacturers raised the price of washers and dryers sold in America by about 12 percent, which represents $1.5 billion in extra costs paid by consumers.

Were there benefits? The authors estimate that the tariffs produced about 1,800 new jobs—and that’s it, since there’s no indication that factory wages increased. The vast majority of this extra money is additional profit since most of the washers and dryers would have been sold anyway regardless of Trump’s tariffs, but at a lower price. At a bare minimum, you can figure that (a) consumers paid 12 percent more for their washers and dryers and (b) manufacturers—most of whom are based overseas—raked in more than $1 billion in extra profits. In return, 1,800 Americans got new jobs.

Your mileage may vary, but this sure doesn’t seem like a very shrewd deal to me.


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.