Unions, Jones Act and Protectionism

I didn’t bring this 5 year dinosaur thread back from the grave but wanted to throw my 5 year retrospective 2 cents in before the site Monitors rightfully sent it to the mausoleum.

It’s interesting how a viewpoint held in the past can be completely reversed 5 years later. One would suspect strong Union Leadership would be in favor of protectionism laws like the Jones Act to protect all American workers but when the current Administration went to bat for the US steel/manufacturing industries the media & national union leaders fell in lock step with the Democrat party & said an acknowledgement of 30 year active trade war with China was horrible & any fighting back was useless & futile. So no, from the example that Unions set for the defense of American manufacturing & steel jobs, I don’t think we can expect any different for stronger protectionism laws like a beefed up Jones Act & cabotage at this time. A “More middle class jobs like the old days” slogan sounds too similar to the dreaded, “Make America Great Again” slogan. If the American people & media wouldn’t stand up for steel workers & manufacturing jobs against cheap China imports what reason will they have to stand up for American Mariners? The Jones Act will soon be as dead as this thread & we only have ourselves to thank. Lets not make America great again is the new motto? Screw the old days.

Raising prices on steel and aluminum via tariffs only HURTS us manufacturing jobs. That’s why the unions were against doing such.

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I haven’t seen a price change in any items I buy yet.

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Auto Zone has had to lay people off and raise prices, some automobile wheel makers have done the same, American Keg has laid people off and raised prices.

There’s a long list, that’s just the start.

So, Jones act US build requirement is good, but US steel requirement (enforced via tariffs) is bad?

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Yes you’re finally getting it!

A US steel retirement in ship building? Fine, but that’s not enforced by tariffs. (Mostly because in most instances US steel is higher quality.)

What has the Jones Act got to do with ships carrying LNG from the US to Japan?

BTW; What flag are these two ships actually flying, from where are they managed and are they operating in the intended USGOM/Japan trade??

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Nothing, but the law allowing export of US LNG could have, and we think should have, required that LNG to be carried on US ships with US crews.

Presumably they wrote a business case prior to putting this export terminal into commission. What if forcing an American flagged ship on it turns it from a good investment to a marginal opportunity? Then would that still be a good idea?

Then they don’t export LNG. We’re not talking about this terminal specifically but the law allowing LNG to be exported from the country altogether.

Yup. You can’t be beating the table with all this MAGA and America First rhetoric and let an opportunity like this go to waste. There is nothing wrong with telling a foreign energy company that there will be stipulations to them getting their hands on our natural gas. They have done it to us for ever.


From the Fed: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/feds/files/2019086pap.pdf


The Jones Act has been around a while, there’s not going to be any retaliation from other countries at this point.

The Jones Act only affects other countries in that they are not allowed to participate in shipping between any two US ports. There is really nothing a foreign country could do to retaliate against this policy since there is effectively negligible US-flagged shipping operating between foreign ports. Really, the Jones Act is simply a self-imposed policy that reduces competitiveness and results in higher shipping costs within the US. Albeit, these higher costs are accepted as a reasonable price to pay in order to maintain our national security and our military strength as secured by trained US mariners and the ability to build and repair ships within our own borders.

The question was how are the current new tariffs in the trade war with China different than the protectionism provided by the Jones Act.

While the new tariffs are causing a response from other countries it’s not likely the Jones Act will, at this point, will provoke a retaliatory response, just as a practical matter.

Beyond that unions that represent mariners in the Jones Act trade would be expected to support the Act while unions that represent workers in industries being hurt by new tariffs would be expected to oppose the new tariffs.

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Thank you, exactly!

When I have meet with my DC representatives both publicly & privately concerning the Jones Act relating to my family & me I never brought up a possible WW3 where I will be needed to transport military supplies. Instead I’ve talked about my kids school expenses, paying health insurance, buying soccer supplies, our mortgage, our cars, the money we give to our church & charities, the local businesses & restaurants that we support etc. I tell them my middle-class job still exsists & didn’t get sold to some foreign lowest bidders like our manufacturing & telephone customer support jobs because of the Jones Act. I tell the rep or crowd we could find teachers, politicians & firemen from India to work for pennies on the dollar to save taxpayers tons of money but it would be stupid to get rid of all our dwindling middle class jobs. We need to keep the Jones Act to keep middle-class jobs. Usually everyone agrees with me, the crowd claps when I’m finished & some asks me questions later.

It makes me sick to see short sighted political motivated people be against our protectionism policies like the Jones Act & against tariffs levied against cheap foreign government subsidized crap sent to the US. The first return salvo from the US in the Trade War with China was over steel, aluminum, washing machines & solar panels. It’s nearly impossible for Americans to compete making these things against foreign government subsidized crap made by near slave labor. The race to the bottom for the cheapest price & lowest bidder will not benifit the American middle-class. If all American brown water, blue water & oil field jobs were given to Philippinos & Ukrainians I do believe profits would go up & maybe prices would drop a cent or 2 for consumers but screw that. We need the middle class jobs more. On the water & in the factories.

I think it is a disgrace, pathetic, inexcusable for a mariner to have a well feed family at home because of a career given to them by the Jones Act & protectionism cabotage laws but be against tightening their belt & rolling up their sleeves to fight back in a trade war with China to protect other middle class jobs. If it were easy, we would have fought back decades ago. They’ll will be ups & downs & trade-offs but the jobs are worth fighting for. Screw anyone who says they support the Jones Act & our US maritime trade but are against fighting back against China in the 40 year trade war IMO.

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The middle class jobs left already. Ushered out by US corporations with tax help from US tax rules. The US worker cannot tighten their belts to win a trade war with China, they are down to the last notch already. You need to start fighting your own government and corporations in the USA first. No one held a gun to their head and forced them to move their manufacturing to low wage countries like China, Viet Nam, Malaysia or any other country. They did that with great glee, reaped the profits and as Trump says, “The stock market and corporate profits are higher than ever seen.” This “trade war” is smoke, mirrors and political bullshit.

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Exactly! Who was opposed to the retaliatory actions taken against China?

For all my life Unions, Republican & Democrat politicians have said China & corporate America has been waging an unacknowledged war against the American middle-class & no one did shit about it. Finally a POTUS put it on the front burner & on the front page of every newspaper & more than half of the politicians, corporate America & the media screamed bloody murder. They wanted the status quo of Americans getting fucked. I 100% expect the same disdain for protectionism laws like the Jones Act from the same people in the future. Luckily you are a retired Jones Act benifitee because you defeatism attitude concerning protectionism of US middle-class jobs is wide spread. The same arguments used against the defensive tactics in the current Trade War with China will be used against the Jones Act & cabotage laws by the same media & politicians soon enough. It’s inevitable. We’re just too dumb.

I’ve already mentioned my total disrespect for any Jones Act benifitee who won’t support a defensive fight for American manufacturing & protectionism laws in the Trade War. But I also want to mention that I will love to hear their cries for mercy, compassion & fairness when the Jones Act & cabotage laws are gutted. The, “First they came for my neighbor” quote about the Jews & Nazi comes to mind. Idiots.

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The top ten industries hit by higher prices were: aluminum sheet, steel product, boilers, forging, primary aluminum production, secondary aluminum smelting, architectural metals, transportation equipment, general purpose machinery and household appliances.