Did Al Qaeda Win The Financial War?
Today is the 10th anniversary of the four planes that changed the lives of pretty much everyone in the United States forever. In a weird way, one could say it was the day that changed the financial life for everyone in the world as well. That might sound like one of those things that people generally say without any backing, but let’s look at what’s happened.
First, many businesses that were in the World Trade Center towers folded, either on that day or within months. Some didn’t have any capital to go forward. Some didn’t have the heart to continue. After all, the towers were a major center of financial power.
Second, many businesses that had to shut down for days after that were drastically affected. Many airlines shut down, while others had immediate cutbacks. I knew many flight attendants and pilots who lost their jobs within a couple of months. Some insurance companies had to fold because of the claims they had to pay out. You probably didn’t know that insurance companies bank on the fact that most people actually do reach the age of 70; within months there were many claims, and many insurance companies had to pay out million dollar insurance policies before closing their doors.
Third, the U.S. stock markets shut down for almost a week, the longest period of inactivity ever. That act threw off the market for weeks, some might say years, and helped to lead to our present financial crisis.
Fourth, we went to war in two countries, which is drastically expensive. Whether one agrees with the actions in Iraq, one has to realize that financially it’s beaten up our country during a tough financial period. Many of those people have come back and found there are no jobs available for them. Many of their spouses have found they couldn’t get work in the interim.
Fifth, where did the jobs go? Many more factories decided to get out while the getting was good, so manufacturing went on permanent vacation elsewhere. That certainly didn’t help the overall economy.
Sixth, when money is scarce, smart people will come up with some goofy ways to generate profits. Hence, the banking and accounting scandals that helped cause the problems we have now. Profits are an interesting thing; unlike normal people, large corporations already have their profits spent, and use their time thinking of ways to keep having profits grow more and more. They will skirt ethical grounds for those profits, and when things come crashing down, it hurts everyone.
Seventh, September 11, 2001 exposed us to just how vulnerable this country, and pretty much every other country, is to terrorism when people are ready to give up their lives for their cause. Phone lines went down; electricity went down. Some people even had problems using their computers on that day and in the following week. The government started listening in to our calls, reading our email, seeing what we had to say online. The military was called out to stand in the airports and look at us; they’re there today because of what’s being called a credible terrorist threat; doesn’t that happen every year?
I think that’s enough; I could keep on going but I think you see my point. By one day’s terrible act, our financial world was altered, and it seems like we’ve never caught up. I don’t think anyone in Al Qaeda was smart enough to figure that part out, but they certainly knew they were doing something big. They got their money’s worth out of that day; when do the rest of us get to cash in and get back to what was our norm at the time?