Wes Watkins: U.S. needs more exports, driven by private sector
The United States has an economy worth about $15 trillion and a domestic debt of more than $16 trillion. If this economy were your house, you could say you were “under water.”
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Furthermore, in the late 1970s we had a positive trade balance. Three decades later, the U.S. began having annual trade deficits of more than $500 billion and became the largest debtor nation in the world.
What's the solution to this problem? We can't increase taxes enough without further depressing the economy. We can't cut enough fat out of the budget without cutting into the muscle of Medicare, education, defense, etc. Tweaking the tax system or spending might help, but it wouldn't be enough.
After the 1960s, we balanced the federal budget. Neither Democratic President Bill Clinton nor Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich accomplished this. Rather, it was from an overflow of tax revenue from an explosive new sector of our private economy called “dot-com.”
Today a significant amount of the deficit could be reduced by becoming independent on our domestic energy production and from exporting goods and services from the other sectors of our economy. The solution is to grow our gross domestic product more rapidly through the private-sector economy.
This will be difficult. The United States has only 4 percent of the world's population. We can't consume enough products. We must increase our exports to the 96 percent of the world's population who live outside the U.S.
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