After Irma, America Should Scrap the Jones Act
The century-old law restricting trade between U.S. ports is a costly failure.
Bloomberg Editorial September 13, 2017
Another big hurricane, another temporary waiver of the Jones Act -- the 1920 law mandating that goods and passengers shipped between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships, constructed primarily in the U.S., owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by them or by U.S. legal permanent residents.
Circumstances did indeed demand a new stay on this dumb law -- but it would be better to get rid of it altogether, as Senator John McCain and others have argued.
The Jones Act was meant to ensure that the U.S. has a reliable merchant marine during times of national emergency. It has devolved into a classic protectionist racket that benefits a handful of shipbuilders and a dwindling number of U.S. mariners. It causes higher shipping costs that percolate throughout the economy, especially penalizing the people of Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico….
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