Jones Act and Puerto Rico, continued

Ten day suspension more than halfway over already, time to refocus: the Jones Act “is a swamp creature that’s strangling Puerto Rico” [Colin Grabow, USA Today] The Act’s inefficiencies cost America many jobs, but they’re harder to identify than the jobs “saved” [Ike Brannon] An aged fleet [Thomas Firey on Regulation magazine analysis] A drag on the energy sector [James Coleman, Regulatory Transparency Project] Only two Washington problems are amenable to easy and correct solutions: simplify the tax code and get rid of the Jones Act [Ray Lehmann, R Street] More: Matt Yglesias. Earlier here.


  • The third one would be eliminating the Sugar quota which drives the price of sugar to much higher levels than paid by the rest of the world, and drive manufacturers to use High-Fructose Corn Syrup as a cheaper alternative.

  • Why repeal the Jones Act? If there is political support for protectionist policies for the US mainland, and it is hurting the Island of Puerto Rico, why not just amend the Act to exclude PR?

    Amending would be far easier politically than repealing. Why not be 95% guaranteed of improving the act instead of having a 5% chance or repealing the act? Perfect is the enemy of good.

  • In regards to the Jones act at the immediate needs of shipping disaster aid:

    The bottle neck isn’t at the barges or ships.

    It’s on the docks AFTER the supplies reached Puerto Rico.

    This is from 7 days ago.

    The Jones act is it’s own problem (as is lacking 5th, 6th & 7th freedom rights in air travel), however that isn’t the cause of challenges with disaster relief in the current instance. Promoting that talking point is to mislead as to the reasons of difficulty in Puerto Rico. Local truck drivers need to show up and haul the freight sitting on the docks. Local crews need to clear the roads to enable the truck drivers to get the goods where they need to go.

    As for the longer term, bigger picture: Only a powerful central Government can dispense favors to the few at the expense of the many. The Jones Act is but one of those “gifts” that keeps giving. Ditto the restriction on 5th-7th rights in air travel. Powerful unions and powerful business interests conspire to screw the American consumer with higher priced, lower quality transportation services to line their own pockets.

    A classic case of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs.