Contest: A New Six-Word Motto for the U.S. (Again)

One year ago, we ran a simple contest on this blog: come up with a new six-word motto for the U.S. There were more than 1,000 submissions, a heated runoff between the finalists, and eventually a winner: “Our worst critics prefer to stay.”

The year that followed has been dramatic to say the least: the historic presidential election, a train wreck in the global financial sector, and a cratering “real” economy in the U.S. and elsewhere.

So I thought it might be worthwhile to try this contest again. A motto is meant to be permanent, or at least long-term; but just as a mental exercise, let’s assume we need a new one. “Our worst critics prefer to stay” ably captured the sentiment of a year ago, when there was rampant political dissension and concern about, say, the high price of gas. But such concerns have now been replaced by — what … Collective desperation? Radical hopefulness (warranted or otherwise)? A lack of faith — or, perhaps, a need for more faith?

Leave your suggestions for the new motto in the comments section. Once again, we’ll whittle down the submissions to some finalists and ask you to vote on them, and we’ll give some Freakonomics schwag to the winner/s.

Although the six-word conceit is an arbitrary one, please do stick to it, even if it means having a friend count the words for you. For some reason, such simple restrictions aren’t always upheld, as I discovered when I read the print version of this interesting profile of the newly appointed U.S. Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand. In an earlier campaign, The Times article noted, Gillibrand “repeated a message that could be distilled in six words: Bush, Iraq, time for change.”

Addendum: The winner is announced here.


"In Madoff we no longer trust."


Obama's platitudes will not revitalize America.


Hope is still not a strategy

Eric M. Jones

"You want Capitalism? Go to Russia!

Dan Hirschman

"One Nation, Too Big To Fail"


Stephen T. Colbert, Commander in Chief.


Bailouts: The new transition of power.


Without cars, we run on hope


Bailouts: The new transition of power


Amnesty for illegals, with no takers


Free market failed, but we'll survive.

travis ormsby

A new motto! That's the ticket!


"We're back! Sorry about the interruption."

Hiram Ortega

"Former home of the American Dream"


We've become a nation of whiners.

Eric Wright

The unthinkable still happens around here.


Our boom and bust is bigger.


Helping avarice realize its full potential

Ryan Anthony

"Despite financial and employee restructuring, hope."


Grand Reopening! Now under new management.