In short, because of the Jones Act, an American fishing company’s future is in doubt, and its staff will be forced to work on more dangerous, less fuel-efficient ships that are nearly 40 years old. But the law’s effects are far from limited to one company. By driving up the price of new vessels, the Jones Act encourages the use of older ships, which, as a 2013 Government Accountability Office report noted, “burn fuel faster and less efficiently compared to newer vessels.”
This episode also debunks the claim that the Jones Act contributes to national security. The law’s proponents argue that it guarantees work for American shipyards, preserving a maritime industrial ecosystem that could be vital in a time of war or national emergency. The Anacortes shipyard builds tugboats, ferries and fishing trawlers. It is doubtful that such a shipyard could be quickly retooled in a time of war to churn out far-larger military vessels.
Immigrants display the traditional American virtues of risk-taking and hope about the future. They are more likely to start a business, whether a strip-mall restaurant or a high-tech start up. Citing polls, the NASEM study concludes, “Immigrants are actually more optimistic than native-born Americans about achieving the American Dream.” They display those noted American virtues of gumption and entrepreneurism.