Sunday, June 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Bloomberg: Jones Act political contributions and lobbying
By Michael Hansen @ 6:36 PM :: 6000 Views :: Ethics, Jones Act, Labor

Bloomberg links the Jones Act to political contributions and lobbying

by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers’ Council, December 20, 2017

Bloomberg published, “Still playing with U.S. ports,” on December 19, 2017, their third in a planned series of four editorials regarding the Jones Act. The subtitle, “The Jones Act survives only because of narrow commercial interests,” clearly states the thrust of the piece.

The Bloomberg editors describe the relationship between the Jones Act lobby and the Alaska and Hawaii congressional delegations as “perverse.” 

Key excerpts from Bloomberg:

Who actually benefits from the Jones Act . . . . . ?

The American Maritime Partnership, a lobbying group, will tell you that the act supports nearly half a million jobs and each year generates $10 billion in taxes and $46 billion in additional U.S. output. Even if you take these statistics at face value, they fail to allow for the jobs, taxes and output lost in the rest of the economy.

What about the act's stated purpose -- which, together with other laws such as the 1936 Merchant Marine Act, is to ensure that the U.S. retains a robust merchant marine and advanced maritime sector for domestic commerce and times of war or crisis? That's no more persuasive, once you note the steady decline of shipbuilding and the U.S. oceangoing fleet over the past five decades.

In truth, the Jones Act survives because narrow commercial interests want it to. A protectionist thicket has long surrounded U.S. commercial shipping and shipbuilding. It has gradually hardened into a political wall impervious to economic reason.

Those people are backed by a flotilla of senators and representatives who are failing to put the broader interests of voters first. They include the 60-odd members of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, one of the bigger and more active of such legislative groups. Filling their coffers and bending their ears are the American Maritime Partnership; the Shipbuilders Council of America; other like-minded industry groups; and scores of individual shipbuilders, shipping lines and labor unions. In 2016, donors associated with sea transport coughed up more than $10 million in campaign contributions -- the most since at least 1990 -- and spent almost $25 million on lobbying.

Nothing seems more perverse, though, than the vocal support given to the Jones Act by the congressional delegations of Alaska and Hawaii. Consumers in states held hostage to relatively expensive U.S. seaborne commerce are the act’s biggest losers. Maritime industries drive neither economy: In both Alaska and Hawaii, shipbuilding and repair provided well under 0.5 percent of employment, labor income and output in 2013. Nonetheless, the Jones Act lobby has been a reliable horn of campaign plenty: In 2016, Hawaii’s senators and two representatives ranked in the top 20 recipients of sea-transport campaign contributions, as did Alaska’s two senators.

Those dollars help to get Jones Act-friendly candidates re-elected. They do less than nothing for the voters of those states and the country as a whole.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii