Lion of the Blogosphere

The Jones Act

I think the Jones Act is very unfair to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, and any other U.S. territories affected by it.

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Because of the Jones Act, a non-U.S.-flagged ship (which is pretty much all ships) leaving Florida can stop and deliver goods to every island in the Caribbean EXCEPT for Puerto Rico.

A ship returning from California to Asia cannot stop at Hawaii and deliver stuff there.

It’s unfair to PR and HI.

I’m in favor of protecting American workers, we should do that by reducing immigration.

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Of course, the downside of eliminating the Jones Act would be a complete end to U.S. ship building and the U.S. Merchant Marine.

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It should be noted that Trump’s temporary waiver of the Jones Act for hurricane relief is a matter of optics, because according to CNN, there’s already a massive amount of relief aid stuck at the ports in San Juan because there’s no logistics infrastructure to deliver it anywhere.

But why not do it? It makes Trump look like he cares.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 28, 2017 at 9:12 AM

Posted in Economics

8 Responses

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  1. As usual the left/media are lying. The supplies are piling up at the ports, thousands of containers worth, because Puerto Rico is so dysfunctional there’s no one to come pick up the supplies to distribute them.

    Andrew E.

    September 28, 2017 at 9:25 AM

  2. At least it’s another reason for Puerto Rico to seek independence.


    September 28, 2017 at 9:48 AM

  3. we need anecdotal evidence about #boycottNFL. Are you boycotting? Are any friends and family of your boycotting?

    I was a passionate NFL fan for years but stopped watching last season, but not because of Kaepernick. Rather I simply had lost interest. I did continue to follow the Chiefs and watched their playoff game, however. I am now going to a total boycott but that won’t hurt the league at all since I was barely watching anyway and never really purchased any NFL merchandise.

    I have one close friend who is a diehard Trump supporter and he categorically refuses to stop watching.

    Otis the Sweaty

    September 28, 2017 at 10:05 AM

  4. Lion, we should be going in the other direction by raising the cost of non-US flagged ships to do business here or by withholding Navy support to foreign ships. Ships fly the flag that costs the least money while reaping the benefit of the US Navy for free. Liberia’s Navy isn’t protecting sea lanes and Liberia isn’t providing aid to Puerto Rico.


    September 28, 2017 at 10:54 AM

  5. “Of course, the downside of eliminating the Jones Act would be a complete end to U.S. ship building and the U.S. Merchant Marine.”

    That would be a big downside. We need to maintain a reserve force of people with know-how (both shipbuilders and merchant marine officers) in case the merchant marine needs to be quickly expanded during wartime. Did anyone propose an alternative to Jones Act that would accomplish this goal?


    September 28, 2017 at 2:23 PM

  6. I can simply repost my comment from Marginal Revolution here. I’ll likely get better replies.

    The Jones Act has failed in its purpose as it is insufficiently protective. The Navigation Acts instead must be the model.

    Charge a tariff on foreign-owned shipping. Charge an additional tariff on foreign-made ships. The tariff should be initially small with scheduled increases over time.

    Domestic shipyard productivity could perhaps be bootstrapped quickly by partnering with advanced Korean and Japanese shipbuilders. They could get an equity stake in exchange for transferring their technology and know-how to American industry.

    American shipping can be given further competitive advantages as well. The Panama Canal should be seized from Panama (and Jimmy Carter shot for giving it away in the first place) and duties on American shipping could be eliminated.

    We blow a lot of foreign aid money on Egypt…as long as we do that how about we ask for something valuable in return? Egypt should exempt American shipping from duties on the Suez Canal.

    Lastly, our foreign policy should be reoriented from its obsessive focus since the late 1930s on “security” and back to the pre-New Deal emphasis on Dollar Diplomacy. Latin American countries for instance should be coerced into exempting our shipping (and real, all exports) from duties and customs.

    Other countries will of course retaliate, but they generally have more to lose (larger merchant fleets and shipbuilding market share than us) and less leverage (small economies, smaller share of world trade, less military power).

    The policy could be even more effective by partnering with some of the other Anglo countries to further increase leverage.


    September 29, 2017 at 10:57 AM

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