Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, June 6, 2016
Aloha, Puerto Rico
By Grassroot Institute @ 1:00 PM :: 4506 Views :: Jones Act

Aloha, Puerto Rico

An economic boon for the territory—and for Hawaii—would be an exemption from the antiquated Jones Act governing shipping from U.S. ports.

by Keli’i Akina and Andy Blom, Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2016

Congress is wrestling with legislation to put Puerto Rico back on its feet while avoiding a taxpayer bailout or chapter 9 bankruptcy. Legislation empowering a strict fiscal-control board is an important first step. But lawmakers also need to implement policies that enable the Puerto Rican economy to grow. Exempting the territory from the Jones Act would be a good start.

The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, better known as the Jones Act, specifies that ships carrying cargo between two American ports must be built in the U.S. and be 75% owned by American citizens. Further, at least 75% of a barge’s crew must be U.S. citizens, and it has to fly the American flag.

In practice, the law has been incredibly damaging—to Puerto Rico as well as Hawaii, which has its own economic worries. One study estimated that the Jones Act has cost Puerto Rican residents $29 billion in the past 40 years. The cost of shipping a 20-foot container from any U.S. port to Puerto Rico is twice as expensive as shipping to the virtually equidistant Dominican Republic, a 2012 Federal Reserve Bank of New York study showed.

This makes most aspects of everyday life more pricey. A vehicle costs $6,000 more in Puerto Rico than on the mainland, and food is twice as expensive as in Florida. Energy can cost two or three times more per kilowatt-hour than on the mainland, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Because of the Jones Act, liquefied natural gas cannot economically be imported to the island.

The fleet of U.S. vessels that comply with the Jones Act has dwindled to fewer than 100 today, from 2,300 in 1946. Many of those ships are antiquated and expensive to maintain. Allowing “international relay”—that is, a non-Jones Act ship on a single voyage transferring goods between two U.S. ports—would bring significant relief to Puerto Rico.

The Jones Act also damages Hawaii, which is the next-highest state or territory in debt service. Puerto Rico needs Jones Act relief to survive, and Hawaii needs it to avoid becoming Puerto Rico.

The congressional Republican Study Committee in February released a statement explaining that it didn’t support a bailout for Puerto Rico but instead wanted “pro-growth reforms that would alleviate the burden that current federal policies place on the territory.” Why not Jones Act reform for Puerto Rico? An exemption was made for the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1922. Congress could alleviate Hawaii’s burden at the same time by reforming this anachronistic, anti-growth law.

---30---

Mr. Akina is the president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. Mr. Blom is the executive director of Grassroot Hawaii Action.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT