An Aviation Thought Experiment (Public Choice Edition)

Hola! We have been invited to speak about a federal law known as “the Jones Act” during today’s “fiscal crisis” panel of the Encuentro Nacional de la Diaspora Puertorriquena. (The “Encuentro Nacional” will take place at El Centro Borinqueno, which is located on 1865 N. Econolockhatchee Trail in Orlando, Florida, and our panel is scheduled to begin at 10:40 am and conclude at 12:20 pm.) If you are unable to attend, here is what we will be talking about: imagine if the Congress were to enact legislation–under the pretext of “national security,” of course–requiring all goods and passengers transported by air between airports within the United States be carried only on U.S.-flag aircraft built in the United States. In other words, imagine a federal law that not only prohibited all non-U.S. airlines from transporting cargo and passengers within the United States but that also prohibited all aircraft manufactured by Airbus and other foreign manufacturers from flying within the U.S. Well, guess what? We already have a federal law like this on the books. It’s called the Jones Act. The only difference is that the Jones Act applies to the shipping industry, not to aviation. By the way, the Congress is not the only legislature guilty of engaging in such a blatant form of economic protectionism. The Puerto Rico Legislature, which has enacted many misguided protectionist laws over the years, is a “repeat offender” in this regard. Maybe Puerto Rico’s politicians should consider getting their own house in order, since unfortunately the Congress is unlikely to repeal or amend the Jones Act any time soon, if ever.

How much is this going to cost us?
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