Talking Points: Million-dollar car repair, federal furloughs, world's biggest trader

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Why does it cost so much to fix a supercar?

Most high performance cars are made with carbon fiber and other expensive materials that need the care of specialists. For example, part of the engine bay in actor Rowan Atkinson's rare McLaren F1 automobile is gold -- the best heat conductor available. Atkinson, who is best known for his role as Mr. Bean, crashed the car in 2011, badly damaging his shoulder in the process. Restoring the vehicle cost 900,000 pounds (some $1.4 million) and triggered one of the largest car insurance settlements in British history.

n Will budget problems force the government to lay off workers?

With deep budget cuts set to kick in in a matter of weeks federal agencies are weighing ways to make ends meet. The White House said this week that "hundreds of thousands" of federal workers -- including FBI agents, U.S. prosecutors, food safety inspectors and air traffic controllers -- could find themselves taking unpaid vacations. Sequestration could also force the Defense Department to furlough "virtually all" of its 791,000 civilian workers, according to budget expert Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

n Which county has the most imports and exports?

China blew past the United States last year to become the world's biggest trading nation. U.S. exports and imports last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week. China's customs administration reported last month that the country's total trade in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion. China had a $231.1 billion annual trade surplus while the U.S. had a trade deficit of $727.9 billion.

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By the staff of
The Washington Examiner