To put $800 billion in perspective, I like to think in terms of households. In the US, there are around 115 million households with a little under three persons per household. Simple division gives us $7,000 per household. The median household income of Patently-O readers is at least two to three times greater than the national median of $50,000. The income-correlated cost will be at least proportional -- pushing $20,000 for Patently-O households.
A weak economy has little demand for patent attorneys. Patent attorneys make less money, clients disappear, and law firms close. Although patents can be countercyclic, on average they are not - especially in a sustained downturn.
In the 1990's, I taught high-school level math and physics as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. Many of my students were smarter and certainly harder working than their American counterparts. Yet, the Ghanaians have an expected per capita income of just under $1,000 per year. Those kids are a victim of circumstance. In the US, we reap the windfall of circumstance. Our individual income levels are within our control only to a certain extent.
The bottom line here is that this additional $20,000 cost is worth while ... if it works. I guess that we'll find out.