The Jones Act Is in the Best Interest of American Citizens

Article excerpt

In his Feb. 6 commentary, Bruce Bartlett engages in a misguided attack against the Jones Act ("Corporate welfare's country cousins"). This legislation reserves the waterborne transportation of America's domestic trade to American ships that are owned and staffed by American citizens. It serves our nation well and has been supported by every modern-day president. Also, it helps ensure that our country's military and economic security are strengthened and protected.

Mr. Bartlett makes two especially outrageous statements. He claims that a 1991 study, by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), shows that the Jones Act costs consumers about $10.4 billion annually. In reality, the ITC itself has re-evaluated its figures and has concluded the real cost of the Jones Act has a negligible impact on the economy.

Also, Mr. Bartlett suggests that the American economy will benefit if the domestic shipping industry and its maritime jobs are turned over to foreign shipping interests and foreign labor. Mr. Bartlett and others either fail to understand or acknowledge that America's standard of living and the multitude of U.S. government-mandated rules, regulations and tax obligations increase the cost of doing business for all, not just shipping, industries in the United States.

Mr. Bartlett ignores the basic fact that the American worker is also the American consumer and the American taxpayer. …