A New Opportunity for Jones Act Reform in Washington, DC
by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Recently, Senator John McCain introduced a measure to modify the Jones Act so that American ship companies can purchase their ships from our allies.
While this is a prudent and limited update to the century-old Jones Act, the news media and political opponents of Jones Act reform immediately cast it as a radical call for the full repeal of the federal statute. This exaggeration sets the stage for a battle between two practical extremes, an unflinching commitment to an outdated and costly law vs. the instant overturn of 100 years of American governmental and corporate practice.
The net result of creating such a dichotomy is to ensure a gridlock that will stymie even moderate reform and leave us stuck with an unaltered law that will continue to cause economic harm. In an ideal free market world, we would be free of the Jones Act's restrictive cabotage provisions, embracing a more open shipping system like Hong Kong's. Unfortunately, we are far from the ideal. So we must ask ourselves what we can do to create more support for modifying the Jones Act.
Senator McCain's proposal is one which the Grassroot Institute has been advocating as a first step toward better serving consumers and businesses. It is also one which has a chance of getting passed because it doesn't threaten union jobs. What is needed now is for those of us who support reform and see the harm that the Jones Act causes in Hawaii to act as a voice for our state in Washington, DC. The Grassroot Institute is currently working on initiatives that will give us a presence in Washington. In doing so, we will be able to help prevent news media and politicos from making the perfect the enemy of the good.
In other words, we're bringing a bit of e hana kakou to the Capitol, and we're hoping that one of the first issues where we can bring people together is in Jones Act reform.
For a further explanation and introduction to the Jones Act see my article from the Star-Advertiser. Or access the Grassroot Institute archives here.
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Video: A Conservative Vote For Hawaii in DC? (with Andresen Blom)
In this episode of E Hana Kakou, Grassroot President Keli’i Akina speaks with policy activist/strategist Andresen Blom (Center for Civic Virtue) about his continued conservative advocacy work for the state of Hawaii.
Click the image below to view the interview in its entirety or go here to see it on You Tube.