Happy Birthday, America: Gifts for the Country That Has Everything

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July FourthOn Wednesday night, amid the sounds of fireworks and the smoky scent of barbecues, the United States of America will celebrate its 236th birthday. While this isn't a particularly "important" anniversary, it's still a pretty special day. After all, there's no better time to celebrate our country than in an election year, when the national debate over America's purpose and direction gets especially heated.

Birthdays, of course, are times for giving gifts, but what does one buy the country that has everything? This year, America's big gift to itself is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare." (Well, fine, maybe we didn't technically buy it this year -- but Chief Justice Roberts only recently decided not to make us return it.)

At a cost of $794 billion for eight years -- or $99 billion per year -- it's one of the most expensive social programs in U.S. history. On the other hand, it will provide health insurance coverage to an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans, while making health care more affordable for pretty much everyone else.

And, to put things in context, it's worth remembering that America's last big expenditure, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have cost $1.3 trillion -- or $122 billion per year -- since 2001. By comparison, Obamacare is a bargain -- and a much bigger boost to the economy.

As we mark this national birthday, let's look back at America's biggest gifts to itself:



Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at@bruce1971.

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rrarizona

Happy Birthday, America: Gifts for the Country That Has Everything...except for a competent and trustworthy President.

July 05 2012 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rrarizona's comment
whackjobtwo

SOUNDS LIKE YOU DESCRIBING GEORGE BUSH.

July 05 2012 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ashley_may54

It is a known fact that women are attracted to older men. In general, most women expect their men to be mature and provide financial stability along with long-term security. Vise versa, most men would expect their women to be 10-20 years younger than themselves. It isn't just physical attractiveness; it is the whole masculine package of youth, vitality, and, above all else, possibility. ~ ~ ~♥~ ~ ~ Age_dater_℃○m ~ ~ ~♥~ ~ ~ has focused on older men younger women dating for 11 years. We have matching technology that allows our members to stipulate the age of singles they wish to meet. This boils down to being easily able to access lists of younger women seeking older men who live in close proximity to your area. Give us a shot. You have nothing to lose.

July 05 2012 at 8:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
n5monthsocrapleft

ASHAMED N EMBARRASSED TO BE AN AMERICAN ,BOW YOUR HEADS IN SHAME ,CAUSE THIS MUSLIM CLOWN DROVE AMERICA INTO ECONOMIC DISASTER N TURNED AMERICA INTO A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WITH RECORD UNEMPLOYMENT~RECORD FORECLOSURES~~RECORD JOB LOSSES N RECORD GHETTOS N POVERTY FOR THE LAST 3 1/2 YEARS . ! "WHAT A FARKIN DISGRACE" . !

July 05 2012 at 8:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to n5monthsocrapleft's comment
whackjobtwo

BIRTHER CLOWN,..........THANKS FOR DESCRIBING GEORGE BUSH'S ECONOMIC COLLAPSE, THE WORST SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. NO WONDER I NEVER HEARD THE GOP CANDIDATES BOAST ABOUT BUSH'S RECORD...........

July 05 2012 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kenya

Life is so lonely .I am a older and single man at present .I need a woman who can love me back .I also uploaded my hot photos on..... boomercupid...... under the name of DM1129..It’s the largest and best club for seeking CEOs, seniors, successful people, users over 50.. Please Check it out!I’m serious.

OBAMA PAYED 28% IN TAXES WHILE MITT MORMONBOT DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO SHOW THE PUBLIC THAT HE ONLY PAYED 13% IN TAXES.

July 05 2012 at 6:37 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
n5monthsocrapleft

RECORD 10% UNEMPLOYMENT FOR THE LAST 40 MONTHS WITH 23 MILLION AMERICAN "STILL" OUT OF WORK. ! ~~"WHAT A FARKIN DISGRACE" .!

July 05 2012 at 6:19 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Gregg

the best present this country could ever get is to send Obama packing.

July 05 2012 at 5:40 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gregg's comment
n5monthsocrapleft

START THIS MUSLIM CLOWNS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL NOW. ! !

July 05 2012 at 6:15 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to n5monthsocrapleft's comment
whackjobtwo

BIRTHER CLOWN,.........WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT?

BIRTHER CLOWN,......ARE YOU STILL PICKING UP COW PIES ON RICK PERRY'S FARM?

July 05 2012 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
kng20

Lets face it. The health care situation could have been solved a long long time ago. But we tend to think short term. We like to see results right now not 20 years from now. If us who are in their 60's now would have been obligatged to pay into a National health insurance 40 years ago the money would be there to take care of the health of all. It would have had to be a fund that Govenment could not dip into like Social Security. It is a no brainer that a healthy nation is a more productive nation. We as a nation have not learned how to be Pro-active and more often then not are retro-active. Example: We know that there are 100's of bridges that desperatly need replacement - right? The focus on it only comes when one falls down and dozens of people get killed. Only then the cry goes out and a lot of noise is made to fix those bridges. Even then after a few weeks it's old news and we forget about it till next time.

July 05 2012 at 5:16 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kng20's comment
n5monthsocrapleft

ABOLISH THIS MUSLIM CLOWNS UNCONSTITUTIONAL WELFARE "HELL" CARE . !

July 05 2012 at 6:16 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

I BET OBAMA WISHES HE WAS FOR GAY MARRIAGE WHEN LARRY SINCLAIR WAS ALIVE.

July 05 2012 at 2:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democracks0's comment
democracks0

BARRACK SINCLAIR?

BARRY SINCLAIR?

HMMMM

July 05 2012 at 2:56 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

OBAMA WANTS YOU TO THINK RICH PEOPLE ARE BAD, BUT HE WANTS YOU TO LIKE THE RICH PEOPLE THAT CONTRIBUTE TO HIS CAMPAIGN FUND. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THE HYPOCRISY.

July 05 2012 at 2:53 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
whackjobtwo

OBAMA PAYED 28% IN TAXES WHILE MITT MORMONBOT DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO SHOW THE PUBLIC THAT HE ONLY PAYED 13% IN TAXES.

July 05 2012 at 2:46 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to whackjobtwo's comment
democracks0

OBAMA SAID HE WANTED TO PAY MORE TAXES YET GOT A $25,000 REFUND. WHAT A HYPOCRITE. AND HE EVEN GAVE HIMSELF A TAX CUT.

OBAMITES GET A THRILL UP THEIR LEG WHEN THEY HEAR OBAMA "SAY" HE WANTS TO PAY MORE TAXES. THEY DON'T CARE THAT HE ACTUALLY DOESN'T PAY MORE, JUST AS LONG AS HE SAYS'S IT. LMAO

July 05 2012 at 2:50 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
n5monthsocrapleft

MUSLIM CLOWN N HIS FAT AMERICAN HATIN WIFE BOTH PAID LESS TAXES THAN THE WHITE HOUSE SECRETARY . !

July 05 2012 at 6:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply