An influential think tank has come out vigorously in defence of the US maintaining the Jones Act as a bulwark of national security.
The centre-right leaning, but essentially non-partisan Lexington Institute issued its paper at a time when the Jones Act has been questioned by a number of politicians and businessmen, particularly in outlying areas of the nation and its territories such as Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The Jones Act, dating to 1920, requires that any internal cargo deliveries – on US waters and between US ports – must use vessels that are US-made, US-flagged and US-owned and they must employ crews of US citizens and US permanent residents.
The Institute’s paper says the Act helps to protect US borders from attack and from the illegal entry of immigrants and contraband. It also cites the Act’s role in preserving strong shipyards and well-trained maritime personnel.
Critics of the Act say it inflates the price of consumer goods and inhibits economic growth in those states and territories not part of the lower 48 states.
The Lexington Institute is a non-profit body with a small permanent staff and matching budget but an outsize reputation for informed opinion on issues of energy policy, logistics, national security and education reform.