Regulation

Biden Chooses Cronyism Over Letting Puerto Rico Rebuild

The Jones Act shields the American shipping industry from foreign competition and harms both the environment and disadvantaged communities.

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Not long after taking office, President Joe Biden released an executive order to fight climate change and called for evaluating the impact of environmental policies on the poor. Yet in a separate executive order, Biden affirmed his support for the 1920 Jones Act, a maritime law that harms both the environment and disadvantaged communities. It seems the residents of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska are no match for an entrenched industry and union cronyism.

The Jones Act—technically the Merchant Marine Act of 1920—shields the American shipping industry from foreign competition by requiring that ships engaging in trade between multiple U.S. ports be made in America and owned and crewed by American citizens. Supporters say the Jones Act is necessary for national security, but research from the Cato Institute has shown the law's biggest impact is driving up consumer prices for many Americans by forcing isolated states and territories to import necessities from other countries.

The cost of complying with the Jones Act encourages American businesses to transport goods between U.S. states on trains and trucks. In Europe, 40 percent of freight is moved by sea. Within the United States, that share is only 2 percent. Ships generally require less energy per mile and therefore produce less pollution.

The Jones Act pushes freight transportation onto highways across America, thereby increasing pollution and congestion. Ironically, the law has even led to a decline in the number of ships America builds domestically.

In other words, a small number of Americans benefit financially from the Jones Act at the expense of the rest of us. "Supporting the Jones Act is in direct contradiction of the Biden administration's stated desire to both fight climate change and promote Puerto Rico's economic recovery," says Colin Grabow, a Cato policy analyst. "By dramatically raising the cost of domestic waterborne transport, the Jones Act discourages the use of this carbon-friendly means of transport while imposing a significant economic burden on an island that suffers from a painful 43 percent poverty rate."

On the campaign trail, Biden and Pete Buttigieg, who has since become secretary of transportation, promised better representation for Puerto Rico. But because of the Jones Act, shipping a container from the continental U.S. to the island territory can cost twice as much as sending the same container to a nearby island nation, where Jones Act rules don't apply. That's not a recipe for lifting Puerto Rico out of poverty or helping it recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Biden's embrace of this archaic law undercuts his economic, environmental, and transportation policy goals.

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  1. Yes but if a politician doesn’t buy support from special interests then he has to fly around the country more to stump for votes. Jet fuel is killing the planet.

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  2. I’m not sure Biden is coherent enough to know what his doing day to day. Then again , his grasp of economics has always been non existent.

    1. But no mean tweets!

  3. He’s ,lol

  4. UK Teatime Results for today are updated here. Stay tuned for UK 49s latest results.

  5. My shocked face is worn out from overuse.

  6. https://twitter.com/SCATSOTS/status/1383660208258359301?s=19

    A mother and her son in their car are briefly surrounded by black bloc. The kid plugs his ears until everyone passes.
    Black Bloc laugh at the scared look on the kids face.
    #DenverProtest [video]

    1. They probably all got erections from that.
      That kind of fear and intimidation, and the resulting feelings of power and dominance is their real goal.
      They don’t give a shit about the actual issues, except to soothe their consciences and justify their actions.

  7. https://twitter.com/DineshDSouza/status/1383773311738408964?s=19

    Welcome to the Democrat Party.

    Even as the nation is witnessing nightly riots and violence against police, Maxine Waters prejudges an ongoing trial and urges a crowd to “get more confrontational” if she doesn’t like the verdict.
    [Link]

    1. “Maxine Waters prejudges an ongoing trial and urges a crowd to “get more confrontational” if she doesn’t like the verdict”

      That’s not actually incitement, Nardz. You don’t understand what incitement looks like. Only one of the following statements was judge by establishment politicians to be incitement to riot, can you guess which?:

      “there will be blood in the streets”Loretta Lynch
      “Who says protests have to be peaceful“Chris Cuomo
      “There needs to be unrest in the streets”Ayanna Pressley
      “Protesters should not give up”Kamala Harris
      “I just don’t know why they aren’t uprising all over this country“Nancy Pelosi
      “You get out and create a crowd and you push back on them, tell them they are not welcome“ Maxine Waters
      “Go home with love and peace, remember this day forever“Donald J Trump

      1. Nice cherry picking of quote from Trump. Let’s find some others:

        “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

        1. Those were the last word’s of his speech shill. The one you and your party bosses said were incitement.

          As for your quote, where’s the incitement?

          1. Frankly, I believe Trump was right about Pence. While Democrats refuse to prove all the election misconduct allegations were false, or need to be addressed, preferring to go back to “there is no election fraud”. This after they started with that, then changed to the fraud that occurs doesn’t change the outcome, and are now back where they started, without examining any evidence, because the complainer has no standing in court (strange since it seems to me a candidate has standing to question an election) or it’s moot.

            Simple fact from the Antrim County Forensic Audit of their Dominion voting systems: they counted their electronic ballots 3 times and got 3 vastly different results. As an IT guy, it’s my opinion (having read the report) people logged into the systems, changed the votes, and removed the audit logs so when they logged in and what they did wouldn’t be on the system.

      2. “Turn your cameras, please, and show what is really happening out here because these people are not going to take it any longer, they’re not going to take it any longer.”

        1. Where’s the incitement, shill?

      3. “All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by a bold and radical left Democrats which is what they are doing and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.

        “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about.

        “And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.”

        1. Do you qualify any of that as inciTeMEnt, White Knight?

      4. “…but I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened and we fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.

        “Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country, and I say this despite all that has happened, the best is yet to come.

        “So we are going to–we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give–the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote but we are going to try–give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try–going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

        (And, then, by the way, Trump didn’t even bother to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue with his supporters. He ditched them. This says EVERYTHING about Trump.)

        1. “we’re try–going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country”

          Lol, oh shit. I’m sorry White Knight, you’re totally right after all. Giving Republicans pride and boldness… that’s just terrible. Practically Hitler.

          And he and the Secret Service didn’t even go with the crowd… That’s awful. When Pelosi called for uprisings she at least had the guts to throw a brick through the drycleaners window, right?

          Did Media Matters comp your clown shoes and bright red nose, or did you have to supply it yourself?

          1. Dee defends “There will be blood in the streets.” and “Who says protests have to be peaceful?” because of who said it.

            But she assures us that she’s not a Democrat. Weird.

        2. And? Trump isn’t perfect, but you’re trying to make a bunch of things out of nothing. And at least he’s not a senile crook who is owned by the ChiComs and God knows who else.

          I don’t know why you bother to post here. No one here trusts anything you say or takes your Marxist bullshit seriously.

  8. “Ships generally require less energy per mile and therefore produce less pollution.”

    And when all US ships are required to replace engines with sails, or better yet, oars, we can have pollution-free transport. It might be slow, but we can all feel good.

    Except for the rowers, but they need the opportunity to reflect on their thought crimes.

    1. Comment of the day.

      The progressives want to set humanity’s progress back a few centuries. Sailing ships and trains for transport for the masses, electric sports cars and SUVs and private jets for them

      1. A few centuries? That’s just a first effort. They’ll “progress” us all the way back to the stone age if they get the chance.

  9. but research from the Cato Institute has shown the law’s biggest impact is driving up consumer prices for many Americans by forcing isolated states and territories to import necessities from other countries

    Ugh, Cato has so thoroughly discredited itself in recent years that it makes me wonder, on the basis of its opposition alone, if the Jones Act is suddenly a good thing.

    1. Let me guess. Cato is “discredited” because they made mean tweets about Donald Trump.

      1. No, because they’ve ignored massive violations of this first and second amendments and have regurgitated discredited arguments against freedoms like they hold some sort of legitimacy.

        Kind of like you, when you handwaved authoritarian measures implemented after January 6 and purposefully advanced a phony narrative.

        1. “when you handwaved authoritarian measures implemented after January 6 and purposefully advanced a phony narrative.”

          I have?

          1. Many times, weasel.

            We all have seen it. Who do you imagine that your kidding?

  10. Puerto Rico should declare itself a Jones Act Sanctuary Island. Or is that kind of thing only for illegal immigrants?

    1. Maybe the same policy that we have for Cubans: if it makes it to shore, it can stay.

    2. No, its for firearms too.

  11. Libertarians schooled again. Democrats are not your friends.

    1. Libertarians don’t have friends. Look around, we don’t even get along with each other. If people could, instead of fretting about the republodemocrats libertarians might get somewhere.

      1. Yeah, a large part of the libertarian community are utopianist gatekeepers.

  12. Stupid law stays in place. Why does this not surprise me.

    1. SleepyJoe loves him some laws.

  13. I think the problem here is that this is really in the weeds stuff. The question is how to get enough attention for this to get the Jones Act nullified. Unfortunately the only place I see this is in Reason and that does not help much.

    1. I think the problem here is your room-temperature IQ, asshole.

      1. Jeez, dude. Consider some anger management counseling.

  14. Hawaii is screwed as well. It is one reason things are so expensive there.

  15. BTW, shit pile, did you get banned again for linking kiddie porn like your BFF turd?

    The White Knight III: Army of Canuckness
    April.18.2021 at 4:40 pm
    “Where’s the incitement, shill?”

    As a steaming pile of lefty shit, it seems you have yet to answer that.

  16. Biden is the definition of “Cronyism”, and has been for the last forty years. You expect him to change now?

  17. It must be time for Reason’s quarterly article about the Jones Act. I agree it is a stupid law but you think they could find another one to write about. Not to mention this seems like it would be an easy law to work around. There are plenty of foreign ports between the lower 48 and Puerto Rico, all they have to do is pull in, get a little fuel and back out and they have met the requirements.

  18. Anything which undercuts any of Biden’s goals is probably a Good Thing.

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