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A relevant Bush/Katrina and Obama/Deepwater Horizon comparison

For the record: in Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration was able to get Jones Act restrictions that interfered with help from international ships waived on Day 3; for Deepwater Horizon, where international help is much more critical due to shortages of domestic shipping able to engage in oil-skimming, it's 60 days in, and the Obama administration still hasn't waived the Jones Act. Keith Hennessey, who was involved in the Bush White House process, explains; see also WSJ, Olson, Bader.

Given that the only purpose of the Jones Act is 1920-era protectionism of special interests against foreign competition at the expense of the American consumer, and given that this could be done with the stroke of a pen, this should be a much bigger scandal. But it appears that the Obama administration is stonewalling on the issue by falsely claiming that a Jones Act waiver would not make any difference; after all, if they do waive the Jones Act, and the public sees how much additional help European allies could have been providing all along, the comparison with the Bush administration will become even more unfavorable.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.