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Temporary fix proposed by Don Young addresses latest failure of the Jones Act

By Paul Robbins, Jr.


March 07, 2021
Sunday PM

While the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act would provide a needed but temporary reprieve for the numerous local economies that rely on cruise ship tourism, Representative Don Young fails to take aim at the true source of the problem and a bill that has plagued the American economy for over 100 years: The Jones Act.

Proposed and passed as a plan to ensure adequate domestic shipbuilding capacity and supply of merchant mariners for times of war or national emergencies; it has instead provided the world’s most restrictive example of global cabotage laws to the detriment of U.S. shipping costs, quality and shipbuilding capacity. 

In the 1990’s, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) published several papers on the Jones Act, yielding estimates of economy-wide costs ranging from $656 million to $9.8 billion. The Government Accountability Office found the trade commission’s approach to be reasonable.

In addition to these massive costs, which are passed on to consumers, the Jones Act has atrophied domestic shipbuilding, diminished the merchant marine reserve, and hamstrung our ability to respond expeditiously and effectively to natural and man-made disasters.

While we support Young’s temporary measure, the Alaska Libertarian Party urges currently elected representatives to work toward repealing the Jones Act. Exposing the unseemly political alliances that have protected the act for decades may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. 

The Libertarian Platform supports the removal of governmental impediments to free trade, recognizing that a free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. 

100 years of protectionism has failed. Let’s try freedom instead.


Paul Robbins Jr., MPS
Ketchikan, Alaska


About: Paul Robbins, Jr. is the Communications Chair of the Alaska Libertarian Party.


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received March 02, 2021 - Published March 07, 2021

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