3D cruise ship in tropical waters

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused bankruptcies and major financial losses for small businesses and major corporations all throughout America. One industry that has arguably been hit the hardest is cruise lines, as they’ve lost a stunning 80% of their value in just under two months. But should they be included in a stimulus package?

The public must consider this: In 2018, the Miami-based Carnival Corporation, which claims to have the biggest share (41 percent—or $18 billion in revenue) of the worldwide cruise liner market, paid almost no US taxes. That’s because its ships aren’t registered within the US, but rather in countries that provide shelter to its profits. Many of these profits weren’t reinvested within the company to enhance things like safety standards or to lower—or a minimum of partially compensate the general public for—the huge social costs generated by these gigantic middle-class consumption machines, a number of which may carry 9,000 souls.

As if this weren’t enough, cruise ships also are sheltered from US labor laws (minimum wages, rights, then on) and aggressively exploit cheap labor on the unregulated global market (this is named wage arbitrage). And yet, Carnival Corporation has already benefited from things funded by US taxpayers.

Other major cruise liners are pleading for federal aid that fly under a different nation’s flag to avoid U.S. taxes and employment law. Carnival Cruises currently sail under the Panamanian flag.