Rathbun: 11 years laterWritten by Gary Rathbun | | GaryRathbun@PrivateWealthConsultants.com
This week was the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attack on American soil in which close to 3,000 of our citizens were murdered. As I reread some of the accounts and watched the documentaries on television I could not help but think about what the terrorists have done to this country since the attack. I know we have not had a similar attack since and I am thankful for that, but I can’t help but look at all of the costs, in terms of lives and liberty.
Dealing with economic issues all day every day I want to look back over the last eleven years to some important economic statistics. I took these statistics from zerohedge.com.
Silver has risen from $4.18 to $33.52. Gold from $271.40 to $1,731.00. Crude oil from $25.03 to $105.28. Corn from $89.74 to $332.17 per metric ton. Gasoline from $1.51 to 11 years later, $3.85 per gallon. Unemployment from 6.88 million to 12.5 million. Unemployment rate from 4.9 percent to 8.1 percent. Total government spending as a percentage of GDP from 33.05 percent to 40.27 percent. Number of people on food stamps from 17.85 to 46.7 million.
Now, there are few of these items that I can directly connect to previous terrorist attacks on the U.S., but certainly a significant part of the national debt can be attributed. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan account for more than 1.3 trillion of debt. (Before anyone writes to me, I know that President George W. Bush is responsible for a large portion of this debt.) It is probably impossible to calculate all of the peripheral costs, i.e., TSA costs, airplane and airport regulations and hypersensitivity to any perceived threat like an abandoned grocery bag on the street corner.
As far as giving up my liberty, I don’t know where to start. We face Internet monitoring, street corner cameras, frisking and being X-rayed before flying, metal detectors in most office buildings in New York City and other major cities and everyone looking suspiciously at everyone else, this is not the type of society that is most desirable for me.
The past 11 years have been very good in many ways and very disconcerting on other ways. I rarely fly anymore because I feel the TSA routinely violates my Fourth Amendment rights. In my career there have been years where I would routinely fly 60,000 to 65,000 air miles. Needless to say, I am no longer a preferred flier with membership to the Sky Club.
The most disturbing statistics are for the cost of food and energy, unemployment and the number of people on food stamps and disability. All of these indicators tell us that the path ahead is going to be long and bumpy.
The question is, “What can we do now to move in a positive direction?” I think a lot will depend on the results of the election. The economy needs to go in a completely different direction than we are headed now.
Profit needs to be designated a positive term again as well as low taxes, self-reliance, and the greatness of America. Sept. 11 is a time to never forget and reflect on what happened then and why, but also to reflect on the time in between anniversaries.
The Sept. 11 tragedy brought out the best in the American people and a commentator on TV made a great statement when he said, “America may sometimes choke on a gnat but we can swallow a tiger whole.” Never forget.
Gary L. Rathbun is the president and CEO of Private Wealth Consultants, LTD. He can be heard every day on 1370 WSPD at 4:06 p.m. on “After the Bell with Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive” and every Wednesday and Thursday evening at 6 throughout Northern Ohio on “Eye on Your Money.” He can be reached at (419) 842-0334 or email him at email@example.com.