The 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks occurs this week, and it gives us the opportunity to look at how 9/11 impacted our economy over the past decade. At the time of the attacks, the U.S. economy was in a recession, and contracting. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, New York City and the firms headquartered there entered into a crisis mode, with many firms doubting whether or not they would stay in New York City.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. entered into war with Afghanistan in October 2001. The U.S. began the “Global War on Terror” (or now known as the Overseas Contingency Operation) has cost around a total of $1.3 trillion since operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere began according to Congressional Research Service . Additionally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been formed, taking on the duties of the Immigration and Naturalization Services, the Customs Service, and other entities such as the Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA). The DHS annual budget is around $55 billion (2010), intended to combat the war on terror within the country’s borders. In the coming years, the costs of the war in Afghanistan are expected to wind down, while the conflict in Iraq is also in decline. However, the costs to prevent future terrorist attacks will persist.
One thing that the Global War on Terror has created is jobs. Jobs have been created in the military, homeland security, and military contracting. States like Virginia have benefited from the expansion of military and defense contracting. Military veterans have not fared so well once they have left combat however. The unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the average. President Obama is proposing to prevent cuts to veterans benefits, as well as providing tax credits to employers who hire veterans or wounded veterans. The extension of veterans benefits, and tax credits for employment comes at a continuing cost in the future that needs to be considered.
Questions you might answer (Do not answer all of these, just focus on one point):
- Whether or not you agree with the war efforts of the last ten years, quantify the impact that the wars have had on the economy in some way. Whether or not the war has created jobs, cost Americans a ton of money, or led to escalating future bills, you should be able to pinpoint one way that the overall economy has been impacted. Avoid anecdotal evidence. If you don’t know what anecdote means, look it up.
- Do you believe the tax credits proposed by the Obama administration will be effective at creating new jobs? Why or why not? If you respond to this question, you should think about the unintended consequences of targeting help at veterans over other workers.
- Do you think the U.S. is safer as a result of the Global War on Terror? Why or why not? Examine the costs and benefits that have been incurred throughout the last ten years as a result of the war.
- Feel free to answer any other questions you like, as long as it is related to the topic above. Think outside of the box.