If you are not collateral damage in the escalating trade wars, the bulletins from the wars’ multiplying fronts are hilarious reading. You are collateral damage only if you are a manufacturer, farmer or consumer, so relax and enjoy the following reports.
Whirlpool, which makes washing machines and demands for government protection, wheedled Washington into imposing tariffs on, and quotas for, imported machines. Unfortunately for Whirlpool, American steel and aluminum makers horned in on the protectionist fun, getting tariffs — taxes paid by Americans — imposed on imports of those materials that, the Wall Street Journal says, account for most of the weight of 200-pound washing machines. And for part of the decline in Whirlpool’s share price. And for declining demand for appliances, the prices of which have risen as protectionism increases manufacturing costs and decreases competition.
Citing the threat to America’s “national security” from American consumers (they caused 2017’s imports of $192 billion worth of cars, 44 percent of all cars sold in America), the administration contemplates imposing tariffs on cars. USA Today estimates that the tariffs would add $4,000 to $5,000 (approximately the size of this year’s tax cut on $125,000 in income) to the price of a car (average price: about $32,000). U.S. auto manufacturers oppose the tariffs, which would also cover vehicle components, $147 billion of which ($100 billion more than steel and aluminum imports combined) were imported last year for cars made in America by Americans and sold mostly to Americans.