September 27, 2017

A CHANCE FOR DONALD TO DO SOME GOOD:

Don't Make Disasters Worse (Thomas Grennes, Sept. 25, 2017, US News)

By prohibiting the use of foreign-flag ships on coastal routes, the nearly 100-year-old Jones Act is an impediment to disaster responders, and for that reason, can only add to the damage done. To transport merchandise from one domestic port to another by water, the act requires the use of a ship that is American-built, American-owned, American-crewed and flies the American flag. This American-flag fleet is small and shrinking, and some of the ships have long-term contracts that prevent them from quickly responding to a disaster.

Conversely, the foreign-flag fleet is much larger and much less expensive. The cost difference is so large that when American businesses export from or import to the United States, they use foreign-flag ships about 99 percent of the time. Thus, prohibiting these foreign-flag vessels - the ones we overwhelmingly rely on for international trade - from assisting Americans during disasters is a needless self-inflicted wound to the nation.

The Jones Act does acknowledge this problem by allowing the president to waive portions of the act in times of emergency. Waivers were issued in 2005 by President George W. Bush and in 2012 by President Barack Obama. [...]

A longer-term solution would repeal or substantially reform the Jones Act. It imposes large costs on consumers, it makes negligible contributions to U.S. troops operating abroad and it is an impediment to responding to domestic disasters.

Posted by at September 27, 2017 7:40 PM

  

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