Cutting the trade deficit by $300 billion, through domestic energy development and conservation, and forcing China's hand on protectionism would increase GDP by about $500 billion a year and create at least 5 million jobs. Longer term, large trade deficits shift resources from manufacturing and service activities that compete in global markets to domestically focused industries. The former undertake much more R&D and investments in human capital. Cutting the trade deficit in half would raise long-term U.S. economic growth by one to two percentage points a year. But for the trade deficits of the Bush and Obama years, U.S. GDP would be 10% to 20% greater than today, and unemployment and budget deficits not much of a problem. Follow @pmorici1 This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.