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To answer your question, if I had to buy /one/ lens with my D90, I would get a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 fixed ap. non-VC It's a great 'meat and potatoes' lens, pretty fast, pretty sharp although quite slow AF.
If you can't quite swing it for the price, try looking into a used/refurb body and/or lenses. That will give you a lot more breathing room.
55-200mm VR is a fun lens. VR makes all the difference handheld, though. You really need the VR version to see the lens shine (in my experience). I don't know about getting /just/ that lens though. For being new into photography you might realise that you shoot more on the wide end than the zoom end.
A pretty okay choice for beginners is the 18-55mm VR 3.5-5.6 coupled with the 55-200mm VR 4-5.6 just so you can find out what focal lengths you use without compromising too much on image quality.