Winter is upon New England, and with it an inevitable spike in heating bills. Fortunately, legislators in Washington can ease some of the financial pain. While members of Congress can't control the weather, they most certainly have the power to rid the country of costly laws. And one surefire means of keeping money in the pockets of the region's families would be to scrap an obscure provision called the Jones Act.
Passed more than 98 years ago, the Jones Act mandates that the transportation of goods between two U.S. ports be performed by vessels that are U.S.-flagged, U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed, and U.S.-built. Meeting these conditions isn't cheap. It is commonly estimated that oceangoing commercial vessels built in the United States are 3-5 times costlier than their foreign-built counterparts. And according to the U.S. government they are nearly three times more expensive to operate too.