Of course Obamacare is going to cost money. Why do you use copper pipe instead of plastic? It costs more, but it will save much more. The transcontinental railroad cost billions in today’s dollars, and a lot of it was wasted. But it was still the quickest solution to tying together a continent.
The Homestead Act, giving away thousands of square miles to anyone who thought they could make a go of it, was ultimately the fastest way to settle a continent. Put a man on the moon? Now there’s a practical endeavor. How much do you think that ran us? Buying Alaska? Seward’s Folly? Who would’ve thought that would pan out?
You’ll never create a superpower from wilderness in two centuries (1745-1945) worrying if this is going to cost too much. Wild harebrained schemes that are actually profound are as American as jeans, jazz and Dodge trucks. Might as well jump.