Every generation probably thinks that its politicians are ruder than the last, but this fall has seemed particularly nasty. Perhaps the hint of a coup, the phantom beheadings and the suggestion that the president is as great a threat to the country as the Nazis are no worse than other low points in political rhetoric. But last weekend probably marked the first time in history that tens of thousands of people have felt the need to gather on The National Mall to witness the presentation of a "reasonableness award." One attendee carried a sign with the radical statement: "I Love America. Even Though We Get It Wrong Sometimes, It's Still a Nice Place To Raise a Family." When the counter-culture is demanding that the mainstream lower the volume, it suggests we've crossed a boundary.
In that spirit, we interviewed two eminently reasonable economists who present the Republican and Democratic arguments for dealing with the nation's financial woes. (No expletives were shouted in the entire discussion.) We also tuned out the screaming to find five great ideas for fixing the economy, which have come from both sides of the aisle but share a common feature: They can help get us out of this mess. To assist you in sorting through some of the rhetoric and thinking about the issues that will have a real impact on the economy, we offer a guide on how to vote your wallet. If you'd like to weigh in, please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Just keep in mind the advice in this "protest" sign from the Restore Sanity rally: "Speak Softly and Carry a Bibliography of Statistics."