Puerto Rico and the Jones Act

The Times reports that the government has refused to waive the requirements of the Jones Act to aid Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria, as it had to aid Texas and Florida with their recoveries. What’s the Jones Act? It’s an early twentieth-century law that requires that all shipping between US ports must be carried on US ships built by the US shipping industry and with a US crew. The decision seems outrageous—if we can decrease the price of shipping to Puerto Rico to aid its recovery, obviously we should. But the news has led to a lot of commentary suggesting that the Jones Act itself is an antique that needs to go once this crisis is past.


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