Saturday, May 25, 2024

Opinion | The Jones Act is a national security issue

Opinion | The Jones Act is a national security issue

Unfortunately, George F. Will missed the mark with his Oct. 5 op-ed, “Ahoy! It’s an armada of crony capitalists!” He mistook putting the needs of America’s economy and her workers first as crony capitalism. We face an increasingly dangerous world. The United States must have a robust shipping industry to ensure it has a backstop to support military needs in an emergency.

The Jones Act isn’t crony capitalism. It’s a key part of America’s military strategic effort.

The writer is president of Frontiers of Freedom.

George F. Will bemoaned “crony capitalists” and the United States’ “industrial policy” stemming from the 1920 Jones Act.

He cited the Cato Institute, which wrote last year, “Today, a U.S.-built containership is estimated to cost five times as much as one built abroad. Such high prices mean that demand for U.S.-built merchant ships is limited to those used in domestic trade as required by the Jones Act, with the domestic shipbuilding industry collectively delivering merely three large merchant ships per year, on average, since 2000.”

On the flip side of this issue: In 2020, the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over maritime issues wrote in Defense News, “Few could have predicted how vital it would become to our national security and economic prosperity a full century later. … Losing the Jones Act would mean ceding our domestic maritime economy to China and other foreign-flagged competitors, making us more vulnerable during times of crisis.”

Mr. Will omitted any mention of the Maritime Security Program, which requires that vessels that are U.S.-registered make their ships and commercial transportation resources available on request by the defense secretary during times of war or national emergency.

Frank Brodersen, Springfield

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