Bleh...see, this is a fine example of the problem with the US. Everybody has an opinion based on hearsay or, in some cases, pulled straight outta their ass. It's almost impossible to wade through the vast mountains of shit to formulate any sort of reasonable compromise or resolution. Here, we have it on a micro scale. In reality, it occurs on a macro scale. The media controls opinion, which then becomes the opinion of the people...and by people, I mean the average grunt.
The thing is, everyone thinks their opinion is right, 100%, no flaws. Nobody acknowledges their own selfishness, and nobody takes the time to look at things from someone else's point of view. Every issue has at least 2 sides to it...just look at the mini-debate over disability benefits that sprang up in this thread. Neither side is ever completely right nor completely wrong...they just happen to benefit different people. Until people realize that they're simply citizens of the world, and that they're going to have to give up certain advantages in order to allow everyone those same opportunities, nothing's ever going to get better. People are just too selfish, to quick to join in mob mentality, and too intolerant of each other to ever evolve as a society.
And another thing...can we stop talking about $500 hammers? That's fucking retarded, at best. First of all, there are no factual figures that even mention a $500 hammer...we're just going by someone's make-beleive on that, and it makes for an unsound argument. Secondly, if there were a $500 hammer, it wouldn't be because the gov't paid $500 for it...that's probably the total cost model of said hammer. In essence, it's what the hammer "really" costs, when added in aggregate to the rest of the federal budget. Nobody's ever paid $500 for a hammer. But, when said hammer is used for the construction of some gov't building, its "cost" may be inflated due to many factors related to the project.