Grassroot Scholar Colin Grabow enters new era in effort to reform Jones Act

The 1920 federal maritime law has been in the news a lot lately, and much of the reporting has cited the foundational work of Grabow

From The New York Times to Business Insider to the Center for International Maritime Security, the Jones Act is rising to the top of political discussions in America, thanks in part to years of hard work by Grassroot Scholar Colin Grabow.

Also a trade policy analyst with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., Grabow has become one of the nation’s foremost experts regarding the 1920 federal maritime law, which limits shipping competition between U.S. ports and has caused significant economic and environmental harm to communities nationwide.

He posts regularly in the Cato Institute’s Jones Act Gazette, and in 2019 edited the book “The Case Against the Jones Act,” which includes an essay by Grassroot Institute President Keli‘i Akina.

Especially with America’s mounting concerns about inflation, supply-chain problems, the latest natural disaster in Puerto Rico, a potential rail strike that could leave New England states without enough fuel, the fact that America has no Jones Act-qualified liquid natural gas tankers, America’s declining oceangoing commercial fleet and merchant marine, and much more, Grabow’s research and views about the Jones Act are in demand more than ever. For example:

>> On Sept. 9, The New York Times published “Buy American? It Gets Complicated,” by Peter Coy. It analyzed the “economic pros and cons” of the Jones Act Act and relied heavily on Grabow to illuminate the “cons” of the law and suggest why the pleadings of the Jones Act lobby are dubious or wrong.

>> On Sept. 13, Business Insider published a column by Grabow — “Fed up with High Gas Prices and Slow Amazon Deliveries? Blame These 2 Century‐​Old Laws That Need to Be Repealed” — that explained why not only the Jones Act but also the 1906 Foreign Dredge Act are reasons “Americans’ ability to get resources where they need to go has been crippled.”

>> Just yesterday, Sept. 22, the Center for International Maritime Security published Grabow’s incredibly complete and much-needed commentary “Adam Smith would oppose the Jones Act.” It counters the often-heard claim that “even free market theorist Adam Smith” would support the Jones Act. If you have time to read only one of the three articles listed here, make it this one.

Related good reading, all from the past few days

>> Bob Barr, “Never Underestimate the Power of Protectionist Laws,” Town Hall, Sept. 21, 2022.

>> Anne O. Krueger, “Biden’s Trade War Against Himself,” Project Syndicate, Sept. 21, 2022.

>> Kim Dong Ho, “Revival of American protectionism,” Korea JoongAn Daily, Sept. 21, 2022.

>> Andrew Wilford, “Threatened Rail Strike Highlights Foolishness of Jones Act,” RealClear Markets, Sept. 20, 2022.

>> Pierre Lemieux, “Jones Act: A Great Protectionist Success,” Econlib, Sept, 18, 2022.

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