Here’s a letter to WTOP Radio:
During yesterday’s 9am hour, your news anchors interviewed someone (from Politico, if I recall correctly) who praised Pres. Obama for pushing “a pro-export agenda.” The interviewee went on to pronounce that the experience of Asian countries “proves that exporting is a strong source of economic growth.”
Growth occurs whenever the quantity and quality of valuable outputs increase and consumers are free to bid for these outputs. A dollar’s worth of output sold abroad yields neither its producer nor the nation as a whole any premium over a dollar’s worth of the same output sold domestically.
Or as the economist Deirdre McCloskey correctly and cleverly notes: if borders are an especially powerful engine of growth, we’d get more growth simply by Uncle Sam declaring all left-handed Americans to be foreigners* – a policy that would be just as sensible and effective as the one Mr. Obama proposes.
Donald J. Boudreaux
* Deirdre N. McCloskey, Bourgeois Dignity  (University of Chicago Press, 2010), p. 212. Deirdre’s example is of England; in my letter I change it to American.