Cato’s New Jones Act Billboard

So what do you guys think of the Cato’s Institute’s (A DC Think Tank with funding from the ‘friendly’ billionaires at Koch) new media and ad efforts?

Why do you think they are focusing their efforts on New York City?

Here’s their first NYC billboard:

Their new website:

The man leading the effort for Cato:
Colin Grabow

Related Articles:
Washington Post

I don’t know how influential this club is, how much weight they really pull but it looks like a serious attack. Appealing on people’s mobility is a clever trick. What’s next?

I can’t say much without more research but I can assure you they are serious.

Or do you mean serious as in how likely ate they to be successful? In that case it doesn’t take much research into Cato and Koch to discover the level of resources/funding they have and their track record of success.

Well funded "research" proving that the average American is unnecessarily paying to support a bunch of overpaid US mariners and preventing deserving workers from less fortunate countries from participating in the American dream.
Koch Industries made over 100 billion USD in 2018 employing 120,000 people. Koch personally strongly supports the Cato think tank which advocates for right wing economic policies while supporting socially liberal positions such as open borders.

We just need to educate the Cato Institute that the real problem is the Longshoremen, not the Jones Act. Eliminating the Jones Act would not take many trucks off the road.

Tug and barge only competes with trucks where there is tremendous volume, and/or there are inadequate roads and no Longshoremen, such as the Mississippi River or the barge trade from Seattle to Alaska. The barge lines mostly self-load and self-unload with their own very hardworking and efficient crews, no Longshoremen.

Trucking is so economical for three major reasons: massive highway subsidies to the public and trucking, cutthroat competition among thousands of carriers, and it bypasses the Longshoremen.

Solution: raise truck tolls and road taxes by a very significant amount to reduce the unfair subsidy to trucking, and establish - No Longshoremen or Linehandler - berths at container docks where short sea shipping is desired.


Quite a mix, they are not stoopid so far is clear.

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The American public is not overpaying mariners for US short sea shipping. It is over paying Longshoremen to prevent short sea shipping.


Yes, that is is what I meant. They are specially dangerous as they seem to have the power and money to make it last. This could be the start of a deliberate campaign.

Koch businesses are affected by shipping costs. It makes sense for them to start dismantling the status quo with the weakest link in the chain by going after mariners before taking on the better organized longshoremen.

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I often agree with the Cato Institute. They are right about a lot of things, but not the Jones Act.

For example: the Cato Institute has fought against government give away timber sales. The stooped US Goberment sells timber on public lands to big paper/timber national and multinational companies, but then “reimburses” the timber companies for building roads on public lands. The “reimbursements” are usually bigger than the proceeds of the timber sale. So it isn’t really a sale, the government pays the multinational timber companies to take away the trees. The Government gets nothing for our timber. Cato has quite correctly fought this for years, but to no avail.

I expect the same negative result in their fight against the Jones Act.

but, but, but…Ombugge says the Jones Act or any other form of shipping protectionism goes against UNCTAD, freedom of navigation and all of the very fundamentals business in the USA was founded upon.

I am now so confused here I don’t know what to think!

Here’s more on this

Cato’s rebuttal

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Here is an idea: Let’s just allow anyone from anywhere to work as journalists or at think tanks in the US. We can replace all the wonks at Cato Institute with much smarter, better educated, and much cheaper Indians.

The Indians would tell us why we need to keep the Jones Act, just as India needs to keep its necessary cabotage laws.


I like how thier website dosent have any way to comment on thier hit piece so those of us it actually rely on the jones act for jobs can defend ourselves what I essentially feel is an attack on us.

What these think tank academics removed from any kind of hard work theorist forget is that they are messing with people’s lives.

They are taking one of the few jobs away from people who with very little formal education can make a comfortable living for them amd thier family.

Some might argue that we should just “learn to code”. As someone who has a background in IT. It’s not that easy and most of my guys on deck just dont have the mind set for computer work.

The funny thing is most of the guys that left the boats during the oil down turn became truckers. So I leave that as a counter to the first sign blaming the traffic on jones act. If you get rid of the Jones act the traffic will just get worse as the now jobless Mariners will now become truckers as that’s got the lowest cost of entry to a job that can get them providing for thier families again.


Probably one of the most ignorant statement posted on a billboard. First, the Jones’s Act has nothing to do with highway infrastructure and population density. Repeal the Jones’s Act you will still get the same traffic jams going in and out of New York and New Jersey, so what would the highway on land have to do with the Jones’s Act which is a law that only concerns domestic maritime trade. The CATO institute wants to play hardball especially the Koch brothers, here’s a reminder for the Koch brothers a large demographic of truck drivers voted for these guys, let’s say they repeal the Jones’s Act how many of those truck drivers are going to be out of a job let’s see here estimate price for a gallon of diesel is approximately $3.10 per gallon which carries approximately 14 gallons of gas could be more could be less I will just say 14 a truck may get on average 16 maybe 20 mpg I will give it the benefit of the doubt 20 mpg average trip might be 280 miles costing about $43.40, not counting traffic and man hours just to haul a 40 foot trailer as well as other factors that might add into the consumption of fuel, now if a truck is hauling from New York to Charleston SC just on fuel alone can add up just to move 1 40 foot container. Now repeal the Jones’s Act a company can pay around maybe 40 dollars to move that same container not counting the other deposits and fees which they can get back after the after terms are met which would save them a substantial amount and they can transport more product cutting out some of the truck drivers. Let’s not stop there what other problems could we face if the Jones’s Act was repealed oh wait illegal immigration, stow away on a foreign ship right around the border they go, dose a foreigner who is getting paid poverty wage would even care probably not as a matter of fact he might be making a few dollars on the side making them pretty corruptible, another issue the environment might take a toll as a result. Now as far as shipping costs ask Australia how that is working out. Anyone looking to repeal the Jones’s Act is being played a fool by corner cutting corporations, if people want products and shipping costs to be cheap invest in Jones’s Act shipping and logistics companies so more ships can be built and more product can make it to the shelf and lower the price of moving the product from point A to point B, if you want less traffic invest in the roads be proactive not reactive, basic math and economics can easily debunk that garbage billboard


Lots of inland oil patch, and construction jobs, pay more today than being a Mariner. For anyone who is willing to work away from boats, there are better paying jobs.

Most truck driving jobs don’t pay, but oil patch truck drivers can make $500 a day

Enough bitching and preaching to the choir. Here area couple of ideas:

First, Mike Rowe fancies himself a spokesman for the working class,also takes a lot of money from David Koch, (the Cato Institute is funded by the Kochs) head on over to Rowe’s FB page( and write him a note.

Secondly, the reality TV series Deadliest Catch premiers tonight, head on over to that FB page( ) and ask how the cast would like to fish in competition with foreign fishing boats in U.S. waters.

Then since the Cato Inst strongly drives Republican economic policy, ask any Republican friend or relative you have if they really want U.S. maritime turned over to foreign interests,and for that matter,ask them if they oppose the Jones Act, would they be OK with Mexican or Canadian trucks from Omaha to Wichita.

Then find your Democratic friends and relatives and ask why they want to impoverish American Workers to help enrich a few oligarchs.

Sad fact is facts and reason doesn’t work on most people, appeal to their emotions, especially fear.

Yes you’re right that’s not a great thing, but the truth is on our side, if we need to play a little politics to get it into the heads of the U.S. public so be it.


The Jones Act is just one prong of the attack. They have been working to open American roads to Mexican trucks for years. That was a big part of the original purpose of NAFTA, but so far Mexican trucks have been kept out.

Plenty of Canadian trucks on American roads. But Canada has a shortage of truck drivers, even at union wages and benefits.

Who needs Boeing and American Airlines. I can’t wait for those cheap US domestic flights on Aeroflot.

Just think how quickly Washington Ferries would improve their bottom line by adopting the Indian business model.
Is that an officer on the signal bridge wearing a huge diaper?!?




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