Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, June 25, 2010
WaPo: The Jones Act has outlived its usefulness
By Selected News Articles @ 11:45 AM :: 13140 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics, World News, Family

Washington Post Editorial Friday, June 25, 2010

THE JONES ACT is a vestige of the post-World War I years, when the vulnerability of U.S. shipping to German U-boats was still fresh in the public's mind. To maintain a "dependable" merchant fleet for the next "national emergency," Congress restricted coastal shipping between U.S. ports to U.S.-built vessels owned by U.S. citizens; related laws require U.S. crews. The Jones Act may or may not have achieved its original purpose, but shipping businesses and labor unions love the way it shields them from foreign competition.

Today the Jones Act stands accused of hindering the gulf oil spill cleanup. Republicans say that President Obama should have used his emergency power to waive the law -- as President George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina -- but hesitated to do so in deference to organized labor. The Obama administration denies it. "There has not been any problem with this," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said last week.

Who's right? The administration's critics exaggerate the Jones Act's impact on the cleanup. It applies within only a three-mile band of coastal water. Even if President Obama had immediately waived the law, it wouldn't have affected the skimming and scooping of most of the oil, which is floating dozens of miles offshore. The inapplicability of the Jones Act to the spill area helps explain why 15 foreign-flagged vessels have indeed been cleared to operate in the Gulf of Mexico.

That doesn't mean that the Jones Act is harmless. To the contrary, like other protectionist laws, it increases the price of goods and services to American consumers -- though how much is a matter of debate, because foreign vessels would still have to comply with other laws and regulations that add to their costs. The Jones Act was an issue in the May 22 House special election in Hawaii: Both Republican winner Charles Djou and one of his two Democratic opponents charged that it benefited a handful of ship lines and unions at the expense of ordinary Hawaiians. Mr. Djou is preparing a bill to exempt Hawaii. If FedEx can move cargo across the country in European-made Airbuses, why can't a boat built in, say, Canada, ship wheat from Los Angeles to Honolulu? The Jones Act lobby crushed the last attempt at reform back in the 1990s.  May the next one meet with more success.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


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


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


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



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


Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


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


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today


Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii



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


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


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii