Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Alaska: The Jones Act's original victim
By Grassroot Institute @ 5:43 PM :: 2236 Views :: Hawaii History, Jones Act

New report details how Jones Act targeted Alaska from the start

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the discriminatory legislation in 1922, but even after Alaska became a state, the economic harm continued

News Release from Grassroot Institute, November 17, 2021

HONOLULU, Nov. 17, 2021 >> It is well established that the protectionist Jones Act has long been a costly problem for the residents of Hawaii and Puerto Rico, who rely on waterborne transportation for most of their imports and exports.

So has it been for Alaska, which takes center stage in the newest Grassroot Institute of Hawaii policy brief, “Alaska: The Jones Act’s original victim,” produced in conjunction with the Alaska Policy Forum.

The Jones Act, of course, is that federal maritime law enacted in 1920 that requires all merchandise transported between U.S. ports to be on ships that are U.S. flagged and built, and mostly owned and crewed by Americans. In other words, it's a law that restricts shipping competition, raising costs for both U.S. shipping companies and U.S. consumers.

Drawing on numerous documents and news reports, institute research associate Jonathan Helton details how the sponsor of the law, U.S. Sen. Wesley Jones, of Washington, specifically disadvantaged Alaska — by name — for the benefit of shipping companies in his home state. 

In 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Jones’ discriminatory legislation on the grounds that Alaska was a territory, not a state. But even when Alaska finally became a state — in 1959, along with Hawaii — the economic and social harm continued.

In his foreword for the policy brief, Institute President Keli'i Akina writes that it might have been common in the 1920s "to put the needs of a territory behind the economic interests of a state. However, when times and circumstances changed, the Jones Act did not.”

Even after Hawaii and Alaska became states, Akina says, “that did little to relieve them of the costs imposed by the law. Both will always be geographically distant from the 'lower 48,' and both have had to bear extra burdens, in ways that other states do not, to satisfy the protectionist impulses of a bygone era.”

In her foreword for the brief, Alaska Policy Forum President Bethany Marcum calls Helton’s research “a surprisingly fascinating read.”
Says Marcum: “It is about the effect of the federal Jones Act on Alaska, and it clearly lays out the history of how Alaska’s best interests were ignored from the act’s origins, more than 100 years ago. That is when the federal government, led by protectionist politicians from Washington state, created a monopoly on cargo shipping to and from Alaska. That was actually the intent of the sponsor of the Jones Act: to protect Seattle-based shippers from any competition. But what was good for those in Washington shipping companies continues to be quite bad for Alaska. 

“Alaska needs new industries and the related jobs that can create a strong economy,” Marcum says. “But the Jones Act is doing just what was intended at the onset: restricting Alaska jobs and contributing to our very high cost of  living. Repealing or reforming this relic would go a long way toward making Alaska more competitive and prosperous."

Akina write that one way to update the act for the 21st century "would be to modify its U.S.-build requirement, which would lower capital costs for U.S. carriers, lower shipping costs for consumers and make it easier to expand the U.S. commercial fleet. 

“But whatever changes we make," he says, "we need to ensure that the Jones Act no longer unfairly burdens states and territories such Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam. A century of the status quo has been more than enough.”

To read the entire policy brief, click the button below or visit the websites of either the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii or the Alaska Policy Forum.


GRIH: Why is the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii writing about Alaska?


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


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 Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii


Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii


Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii