Feb. 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM ET
By msnbc.com staff
In the more than four years since the United States began its long period of economic malaise, there have been many ideas for what can get American growth back into high gear.
The folks at Foreign Policy magazine have come up with a provocative one: Make more Americans -- or import them.
In an article posted Monday, author Charles Kenny makes the modest proposal that if the United States wants to dominate China economically, we simply need more people.
Kenny notes that U.S. per capita gross domestic product has grown far more slowly than China’s, so we can’t really expect to retain economic power through strong income growth.
But if we doubled the number of people in the United States from the current 311 million, he says, we might just make the economy larger as well.
There are plenty of people out there willing to help. Kenny cites a Gallup poll that finds about 145 million adults around the world would like to move to the United States. That would solve two problems, he notes, with what we assume to be dry wit. We’d be taking people away from other countries, thus reducing their economic output, while adding them to ours.
Kenny points out that Indian immigrants have had a great impact on Silicon Valley’s startups and other high-tech companies. As the U.S. population ages, immigrants could do some of the jobs older Americans could no longer handle, he suggests, with tongue apparently still lodged in cheek.raise a kid
Allowing adult immigrants into this country could be a more inexpensive solution.
And that means all those national security hawks who want to build a fence across America's southern border have it exactly backward. Preserving America's preeminence takes opening the gates wide. It's the only way to ensure that, in 2050, Americans can still proclaim: "We're No. 1!" Or, if the strategy is working really well, "Somos el número uno!"
Is Kenny’s argument too simplistic or so crazy it just might work? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.