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American Exports: The Solution?

President Obama, with Dr. Kedar Gupta, right, and Dr. Carl Rick Schwedtfeger, left, from Arc Energy during his tour of an L.E.D. lighting manufacturer in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010. (AP)

For decades, the United States has been the world’s great consumer, the world’s great importer.

Now American economists and the U.S. president are talking exports: a surge of American exports to the world to bring back the U.S. economy.

President Obama says we must double U.S. exports in five years.

That would be huge – and mean huge changes.  Can it even be done?  Over all our habits and Chinese low-wage competition?  And what would be exported?

This Hour, On Point:  Can America export its way out of economic crisis?  And what would that look like?

Guests:

Greg Ip, U.S. economics editor for The Economist magazine. He wrote a special magazine feature on reviving the American economy called “Energetic Progress.”

Brad Jensen, economics professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He co-authored two studies of past U.S. export booms to learn how they unfolded and what worked.

Deborah Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, a non-profit, non-partisan group that brings together labor, industry and government. She served as the nation’s first assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

David Ickert, vice president of finance for a small aircraft manufacturing company in Texas called Air Tractor.
In 1995, 90% of their sales were domestic. This past year, nearly half of their sales were overseas, according to the company.

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