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Cost of Outrage

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Message richard bushway
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     Seven hundred billion is a very large sum of money to solicit from taxpayers. Being asked to cough up (An informal term that is appropriate in this case as the majority of Americans seem to be choking on the number.) that kind of money for anything will surely evince strident resistance.  Regardless of the need--national security, healthcare, or even bail-out--we Americans don't like the government coming to us, hat in one hand and the other extended palm up, saying that this is for our own good.  We are far too frugal with our tax dollars (as opposed to our credit cards and mortgage agreements) to meekly accede to such a substantial request without clamorous protest.  And protest we have. 

The vast majority of Americans who are against the president's plan to shore up the economy with a cash infusion are not just complaining to each other about it. They are actually writing  and calling their elected representatives to voice their opposition--something that is rarely done en masse.     Nothing is more American than voicing an opinion. What is surprising is not the fact that Americans are speaking up, but rather, what it takes to goad and galvanize us to action. We seem to be much more passionate about perceived reckless spending on the part of our government than we are about it waging war.
Another large number is also 4751--particularly when it represents the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq as of October 1, 2008.  Comparatively, this is a small number of casualties for a war that has lasted as long as the War in Iraq, yet it is still a very high price to pay, as can be attested to by those loved ones who survived the victims.  Consider the cost of the bailout plan in individual terms--700 billion divided by the number of households being asked to foot the bill.  The result is about 4400 dollars per family--and we are outraged!  Unlike when the President told us we needed to invade a foreign country (for our own good), we are emphatically responding with "NOT SO FAST!"  The "let's talk about this" attitude which galvanized the electorate against the President's bail-out plan was missing when he decided that the invasion of Iraq was necessary.
In both instances--the war and the present economic crisis--the President prescribed an extreme course of action.  Also, in both cases, we were told that national security was at stake--that it was dangerous not to act.  But apparently, the threat of looming economic collapse does not instill the level of fear that questionable "evidence" of terroristic intent does.  Based on our varying responses to these two events, it's obvious that T-Bills in the hands of foreigners don't constitute the same level of threat posed by blusterous dictators.  Or maybe we are just a little more insouciant about giving up our sons and daughters than our dollars.  And while it is impossible to put a price on the worth of any life, it is truly disheartening to know that the brave men and women who died in Iraq fall somewhere less than 4400 dollars each in the eyes of those that were silent but are now outraged. 


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I am a working man without a college degree. I write as a hobby and have been published in the Washington Post and Washington Times
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