Protectionism’s Silver Lining

If there’s a silver lining to the protectionist dark cloud hanging over the global economy (and markets), it’s that folks are now witnessing (learning) firsthand the below the surface reality that protectionism can hit the perpetrator just as hard (if not harder) than the target(s). 

The execs at Whirlpool — those cheerleaders for the new tariffs that forced a higher price for washing machines onto the U.S. consumer — and, alas, their shareholders are receiving quite the education right about now:

“The appliance giant had been a major backer of Trump tariffs, which included duties on imported washing machines. But the company now expects to pay $350 million more for raw materials in 2018, above a previous estimate of $300 million.

“Uncertainty related to tariffs and global trade actions have also led to increased costs for certain strategic components and finished goods imports and exports,” CEO Marc Bitzer said during the firm’s earnings call.”

Here’s Whirlpool’s year-to-date stock chart:

Remember, as we pointed out the other day, the U.S. has (or had?) the lowest tariff regime among G20 nations, while maintaining — make that growing — a robust, vibrant, world-leading economy! 

The U.S.’s resounding success on the world stage serves as added evidence that protectionism simply, to put it mildly, doesn’t work for the protectionist’s community at large.


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