Turning on Itself: How Dueling Agencies in the Bush Administration Made Mincemeat of Antitrust Regulation Policy

Document Type


Publication Date

September 2008


In 2006, America’s largest home appliance manufacturer, Whirlpool, bought its second-largest competitor, Maytag. The takeover meant that more than 70 percent of all washers and dryers sold in the U.S. will be Whirlpool’s. It gave Whirlpool a dominant position and lessened competition, threatening to raise home appliance prices and stall innovation. But the Bush administration’s antitrust chief in the Justice Department, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Barnett, declined to challenge the Whirlpool merger. He argued primarily that, with the recent entry of two small importers, LG and Samsung, the market would remain competitive enough.