President Trump has promised deregulation and greater energy independence, but making the venerable Jones Act more restrictive would do the opposite. At a recent conference on the Jones Act in Maui sponsored by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the Institute for Humane Studies, the predominant conclusion of papers was that the Jones Act produced far more costs than benefits.
Speaking of infrastructure, I very much like this observation by Tyler Cowen:
I find it amusing when people suggest that the rate of return on government infrastructure is high, but that corporations have nothing better to do than to sit on their cash. It is hard to have it both ways! Imagine arguing that biomedical R&D through the NIH yields high returns, but that pharma investment to commercialize the resulting drugs or devices does not. National parks aside, most government investment is in inputs, and thus for it to have a high marginal rate of return someone on the output side has to have a high marginal rate of return as well.
Here’s an interview with University of Chicago economist Sam Peltzman. (HT Levi Russell)