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Remaking the GOP

More fundamentally, though, Obama has fallen victim to fallacies in conventional wisdom on free trade, energy independence and the environment, and those slow the recovery. Early in the tenures of Presidents Reagan and Obama, unemployment reached double digits, but at this point in his presidency the Gipper had the economy growing at a 6.3 percent annual pace.

The $500 billion dollar trade deficit is a huge drain on growth. China accounts for the lion share of that gap and oil imports the rest, despite recent surges in oil and gas production from on-shore fracking.

Free trading economists across the spectrum advocate denying China and others the benefits of subsidizing its exports with undervalued currencies, so that trade can be based on genuine competitive advantages.

Early on, the Obama Administration became fixated with the BP Horizon disaster and put in place unworkable regulations on drilling where the big U.S. oil reserves remain. Freeing up the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and parts of Alaska, could cut petroleum imports in half -- and lower environmental risks, because those could be better managed here than in similarly difficult environs in developing countries.

A spread-out population makes mass transit and electric cars too expensive, and solar, wind and nuclear cannot compete in the wake of cheap, clean natural gas.

America does need to use less gasoline -- populations must become more compact and rely more on smaller, fuel-efficient conventional and hybrid vehicles better attuned to city living.

Young people see all this and where they can are moving back into or closer to urban cores. They like the cultural amenities, and automakers are shifting offerings toward their needs.

Republicans need to abandon their bias toward suburbs and become champions of livable cities and a revolution in personal transportation -- that would foster a lot of private sector growth and offer younger Americans reason to give the GOP a second look.

By offering sensible strategies on trade, energy, and the environment, in the context of the urban renaissance, the GOP can appeal across the electoral spectrum.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.
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