Rich Karlgaard of Forbes turns his attention to the divisive election season.

If you search for common ground these days, you risk being labeled a sellout (the left’s phrase) or a squish (the right’s). A longtime friend, who hails from the right, told me: “You’re not getting it, Rich. The other side is trying to destroy us. We can’t give an inch.” Was he talking about ISIS, Russia or China? No. He was talking about Democrats. My friend admits that he’s angry “all the time” and that his work productivity has suffered.

Are you getting sick of this? I am. Coincidentally, a very liberal friend who lives in Silicon Valley was feeling the same way. He asked me to join him for lunch to see if we could find common ground. This friend is famous in Silicon Valley for being a successful tech investor. He put money into Facebook when Mark Zuckerberg was a pup and the social media giant was valued at a mere billion dollars. My friend once managed money for the Grateful Dead and, for fun, has his own touring band.

Heading to lunch, we knew we’d never agree on some things. In the name of civil liberty he’d like to strictly limit phone and data surveillance; I think it’s one of today’s awful necessities. And we disagree on what constitutes torture.

We agreed on most of the big economic issues. Shareholder capitalism, a necessary corrective to 1970s malaise, now lacks countervailing forces and has become an end unto itself. We agreed that a flat tax could be a progressive, as well as a conservative, cause. A conservative might want the rate to be 15%, a progressive 25%, but that’s close enough to have a healthy debate. Then apply the flat rate to capital gains, as well as income, and get rid of all corporate subsidies. My liberal friend surprisingly takes a conservative position on inheritance taxes; they shouldn’t break up family businesses, he says.

We both agree that new-company formation in the U.S. has taken a disastrous nosedive. You really can’t argue against the Kauffman Foundation’s superb research on this point. I happen to think that excessive government regulation and lack of capital access due to Dodd-Frank explains much of the startup torpor. To this my friend adds a 1998 change in U.S. bankruptcy law, which now exempts government student-loan debt. Heavily indebted college grads are afraid to start businesses, he says.

My friend thinks legalizing marijuana would be a great source of tax revenue, as well as a way to boot illegal growers out of national parks and depopulate our prisons of nonviolent offenders. I’m still pondering that one.