Thriving on Common Ground

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Science  26 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6106, pp. 443
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231652

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A major U.S. election is imminent, with voting on 6 November (see the special news section on p. 456). A central issue dividing the two major political parties is how best to allocate scarce resources, as the country attempts to reduce its budget deficit without jeopardizing national prosperity. In last week's Editorial, John Hamre, a former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, described how this challenge, coupled with the polarization of U.S. politics and a dogmatic refusal to compromise, has created “one of the most perilous conditions that I can remember in my professional life.”* To move forward, it is important to identify general principles for a successful future on which essentially all Americans can agree—principles that are also relevant for other nations.