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

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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.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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