President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported washing machines — imposed at the behest of Whirlpool — pumped $82 million into the U.S. Treasury. But American consumers footed the bill — and more — paying a whopping $1.5 billion in increased costs passed along to them last year, according to new research.
The tariffs boosted washing machine prices by 12%, according to figures in the University of Chicago study. They also drove up dryer prices by the same percentage, even though they were unaffected by tariffs. Researchers believe manufacturers simply took advantage of the washing machine tariffs to raise prices on an often-paired item.
Trump, who has insisted that “trade wars are good and easy to win,” has boasted repeatedly that as trade negotiations drag on, China is paying the U.S. “billions of dollars in tariffs.” But tariffs are paid by importers ― not by exporting companies or nations. The costs are typically passed on to consumers.
The washing machine tariffs did persuade some foreign manufacturers to switch some production to the U.S. and create 1,800 new jobs, but researchers estimate each job cost consumers $820,000.