Even still, even the people who are affected by it refuse to comprehend basic economics:
“I’m sure there was some good intention and purpose for (The Jones Act) back then. But I would like to know one good reason that it is a good thing for Hawaii and its people today,” he says.
No way was there a good reason then. Whatever it was is the same as the reasoning now. The guy should recognize how crappy the law is and just call the spade a spade.
Returning to the story.
“Open competition is the remarkable motivator of the free market. Competition is healthy and brings better rates, services, productivity and innovation,” says Ken Schoolland, an associate professor of economics and political science at Hawaii Pacific University.
U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono adds, “Hawaii is at least 80 percent reliant on imported food. We’re hundreds of miles away from major shipping routes. Relying on foreign shippers that can easily decide a stop in Hawaii is not profitable, or who would charge us big fees to veer off their major routes, doesn’t guarantee that our hotels and shops have the food and goods they need to support our economy and communities.”
But then they would still have their American shippers. If they disappeared, and then foreign shipping companies decided not to serve Hawaii (all unlikely I should think), then there would be an unserved market with excellent opportunity for profit. Incentive would drive new shippers into business. These folks tell half the story all the time.
Hirono addresses the issue of higher shipping costs by saying, “If we want cheaper shipping and more competition, we should support reinvigorating our domestic shipbuilding and maritime industry and developing clean, affordable shipping fuel.”
Maybe a subsidy? Just how?
If the law was changed to allow foreign carriers, Hull speculates, these ships likely would not provide the same frequency of service, which is needed to keep local retailers fully stocked with goods. And, because Hawaii has a limited warehousing capacity, shortages of food and other goods would likely occur.
But why does Hull speculate this?
“If you changed the law, a new operator could come in with brand-new ships and operate a more efficient service,” says Hansen. “(The carriers) don’t want to be put in that position. But if you can’t build new ships, you’re going to go out of business anyway. So please stick your head in the sand.”
One reason the “national security” angle is BS.
Also, the coalition in Washington, D.C., that supports the Jones Act includes politicians from shipbuilding states, so changing that part of the act could endanger the coalition. In 2010, U.S. Senator John McCain helped introduce federal legislation that would have repealed the Jones Act, but the bill did not receive enough support in Congress to pass.
There’s some of that cronyism. Thank God politicians can run our economy better than we can!
McCain a capitalist? Well, maybe he can be since he represents a desert.
Even today, Big Island ranches must charter a weekly 747 out of Keahole Airport to get their cattle to the mainland because that’s cheaper than Jones Act shipping. There’s something wrong with that picture.”
While that shipping bit is really funny and terrible, why do Hawaiians send cattle to the mainland? Weird. Wonder what genius politician is behind that or, more optimistically, what solid free market incentive causes it.
But, Matson’s Hull says, “The Jones Act is responsible for thousands of American jobs in Hawaii. According to a recent study undertaken by Price Waterhouse Coopers, the Jones Act contributes 23,225 jobs to the state along with labor compensation of more than $1.1 billion annually.”
Does he really think those jobs go away without the Jones Act? How so?Guess that industry is too big to fail, but …
That’s of little comfort to the French Gourmet’s Novak, who, at the height of his business, employed 85 local workers.