The Jones Act

I’m guessing that most of you are like me, and hadn’t heard of  the Jones Act up until  yesterday or so.  Passed in 1920, one year after prohibition and votes for women (apparently one result of WWI was a manic desire to change laws), it says that all shipping between American ports has to be on American built, American owned, and majority American crewed ships.

This is  making it real difficult to get  aid into Puerto Rico, because, apparently, most ships aren’t American built.  So, it’s more expensive to ship  stuff to American ports which, even in the best of times, means things are expensive in Puerto Rico, despite the fact that they are not rich people.  They’ve been getting screwed for  years.

Now, of course, it’s an emergency, a crisis, and the obvious thing to  do would be to ignore that act for a while, issue a waiver.  Bush did it for Katrina (well, not right away, it took him a few days  before he realized what  was going on), Obama did it  forf Sandy, and Trump even did it for  Harvey  and Irma.  But not Maria.  It’s a slap  in the face, it’s refusing to give aid, it’s criminal.

Trump doesn’t give a shit.  It’s a big ocean, he says.   They are already in debt, he says.  (this is particularly offensive since, as a private businessman, he screwed Puerto Rico out of tens of millions of dollars on a golf course deal)  It would be bad for American shipping, he says.

I’ve been to Puerto Rico.  Once, about 25 years ago.  Nice place.  Friendly  people.  I had a good time.  So, this pisses me off.


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