After Irma, America Should Scrap the ‘Jones Act’

Go Lean Commentary

The Caribbean has just been devastated by Hurricane Irma – the longest Category 5 storm recorded in modern times – it wreaked catastrophic havoc in BarbudaSaint BarthélemySaint MartinAnguilla, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane[4][5] .

CU Blog - After Irma, America Should Scrap the Jones Act - Photo 2

There is the need for relief, recovery and rebuilding!

This title, “After Irma, America Should Scrap the Jones Act” – in the news article in the below Appendix referring to the temporary waiver of the law – is also a familiar advocacy from this commentary, from the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free. A previous blog-commentary declared:

Stupidity of the Jones Act
The Jones Act mandates that for a ship to go from one US port to another US port it must be American-made and American flagged. Also, for foreign ships to trade in US Territories, they must first journey to a foreign port before they could journey to another American port to transport goods. This seems “stupid”; but the adherence to this law keeps American maritime commerce options afloat; this means someone is getting paid; … a distortion in the reality of Puerto Rico-[Virgin Islands]-to-US Mainland trade.

The Go Lean movement asserts that the US Territories in the Caribbean deserve better; they deserve the full exercise of the free market, not just now for the hurricane relief-recovery-rebuilding but all the time. This is why we call the ‘Jones Act’ stupid and strongly urge for its repeal. These US Territories – make that colonies – are pressed between a rock and a hard place, their best hope for survival and prosperity is to grow-up from their American neo-colonial status.

What? How? When? Where? All these questions and more are answered in the Go Lean book. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book posits that devastating hurricanes – like Irma – will now be the norm. This problem is too big for any one Caribbean member-state alone to contend with. The book therefore stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiii. Whereas many countries in our region are dependent OverseasTerritory of imperial powers, the systems of governance can be instituted on a regional and local basis, rather than requiring oversight or accountability from distant masters far removed from their subjects of administration. The Federation must facilitate success in autonomous rule by sharing tools, systems and teamwork within the geographical region.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of the American Caribbean Territories and all of Caribbean society. Puerto Rico and the USVI had problems before Irma; their daily life is filled with troubles and strife. While they need the ‘Jones Act’ to be waived for this hurricane relief-recovery-rebuilding effort, even more they need the ‘Jones Act’ repealed for everyday life.

This is not just our opinion alone, as attested by the Editorial – in the Appendix below – from Bloomberg News. This media organization is not just criticizing from afar; they truly care about the Greater Good of the US Territories; see Appendix VIDEO below.

This commentary commences a 4-part series on the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This storm was devastating to the Atlantic tropical region, the Caribbean and US State of Florida. There are a lot of mitigation and remediation efforts that can be done to lessen the impact of storms. There are lessons that we must consider; there are changes we must make; there are problems we must solve. The full list of the 4 entries in this series are detailed as follows:

  1. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – America Should Scrap the ‘Jones Act’
  2. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – Barbuda Becomes a ‘Ghost Town’
  3. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – The Science of Power Restoration
  4. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – Failed State Indicators: Destruction and Defection

Yes, we can do better in the future, even after devastating hurricanes; we can make all of the Caribbean homeland better places to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 


Appendix – Title: After Irma, America Should Scrap the Jones Act
Sub-Title: The century-old law restricting trade between U.S. ports is a costly failure.

CU Blog - After Irma, America Should Scrap the Jones Act - Photo 1Another big hurricane, another temporary waiver of the Jones Act — the 1920 law mandating that goods and passengers shipped between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships, constructed primarily in the U.S., owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by them or by U.S. legal permanent residents.

Circumstances did indeed demand a new stay on this dumb law — but it would be better to get rid of it altogether, as Senator John McCain and others have argued.

The Jones Act was meant to ensure that the U.S. has a reliable merchant marine during times of national emergency. It has devolved into a classic protectionist racket that benefits a handful of shipbuilders and a dwindling number of U.S. mariners. It causes higher shipping costs that percolate throughout the economy, especially penalizing the people of Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Despite the law, the U.S. merchant fleet has continued to shrink. Today there are only about 100 large ships that meet its requirements — and many of them are past their best. In part because of the high cost of using Jones Act vessels, coastal shipping has steadily declined, even though it would otherwise be more efficient in many cases than trucks and railroads. The act distorts trade flows, giving imports carried by foreign ships an edge over goods shipped from within the U.S. Proposed extensions of the law could threaten the development of offshore energy resources as well as exports of U.S. oil and natural gas.

Defenders of the law say its effects are uncertain because there’s too little data. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York suggests a way to put that right: Give a five-year Jones Act waiver to Puerto Rico. That would provide data for a more rigorous analysis while giving the island’s battered economy a lift. Short of outright repeal, Congress could also revisit the law’s ancient, burdensome rules on crew sizes and much else. If the law remains, its focus should be on restoring the vibrancy of coastal maritime commerce, not on counting ships and sailors.

Economics aside, one might ask, isn’t the Jones Act vital for national security? Hardly. Much of the U.S. Ready Reserve Fleet is foreign-built. Very few Jones Act ships are the roll-on, roll-off kind that the military wants. To be sure, the U.S. has sound strategic reasons for maintaining some shipbuilding capability — but smarter support narrowly directed to that purpose would be cheaper and fairer than a trade law that does so much pointless collateral harm.

The latest waiver is slated to expire this week. Modernizing the law would be a step forward. But the best thing to do with the Jones Act is scrap it.

To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at .

Source: Posted September 13, 2017 from Bloomberg News Service; retrieved September 14, 2017 from:


Appendix VIDEO – After Irma, Bloomberg Helps With Recovery In U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted September 15, 2017 – Chuck Todd traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands to interview Fmr. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NBA All-Star Tim Duncan, who are both helping with the recovery effort after Hurricane Irma.

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