A wide spot in my imagination.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How to Spend a Fortune

Today's newspaper says the United States has spent over $500 Million to renovate the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay. $500 Million! Five hundred million dollars! $500,000,000.00!

Here at our church, folks in need often knock on the door asking for food or gas or help with their rent or medicine. If we have it, we give them a $20 gift card to a local grocery store. Often we don't even have $20 to give. With $500 Million, we could give $20 gift cards to 25 Million people.

I got an email from a church member yesterday about some friends of hers. The father in this family of friends has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. A week before he was diagnosed, this man was fired from his job for poor work performance. Turns out his (then-unknown) brain tumor was causing him not to do his job so well. Now he's fired, sick, and dealing with insurance woes. I have no idea what this illness will cost this family or how they will pay for it. But the average hospital stay in the country costs $17,734.making his work. With $500 Million we could pay the hospital stays of 28,194 people.

The average tuition cost at a state university is $7020 per year. With $500 Million, we could send 71,225 students to college for free.

I understand the costs of renovating Guantanamo. Since that base occupies a tiny little sliver of a county that hates us and doesn't want us there, everything we use for renovations has to be shipped in. That's costly.

And, I understand that Guantanamo is a beautiful place, but it must be tough for our military personnel to be stationed in a place that has a reputation for for torture. If we the people are going to send our women and men to places like that, then we have an obligation to keep the place up for them.

But $500 Million? Five hundred million dollars? $500,000,000.00?

The 28,000 people who might need a little help with rent or food or medicine might like maybe just half of that. The man with the brain tumor? I bet he would be thrilled with just a tenth of that? And those 71,225 college students? f we're not going to pay their tuition for a year, maybe we could at least buy their books.

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