Surely September 11th cost businesses and governments a lot of money. Insurance losses were estimated at $ 40 billion. Military spending escalated to wage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Transportation Security Administration, established two months after September 11th, has 54,000 employees and a budget of $ 8 billion.
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These are carry-over costs that do not make businesses more productive or improve the standard of living for consumers. The time we spend in security lines is another take-away price: it deprives us of the opportunity to either work or enjoy our free time.
However, these costs are small in relation to the country’s gross domestic product of $ 22 trillion. And if 9/11 hadn’t got us to step up security at airports, stadiums, and office buildings, the mass shootings epidemic would likely have triggered similar measures.
“Given that much of what we did would have happened anyway, the impact will likely be lost in the rounding of GDP,” said Varvares, co-chief of US economics at IHS Markit.
So, two decades apart, we can see that Americans have adjusted to new risks and inconveniences and gone about their business. Can we say the same thing about COVID-19 by 2040?
On the one hand, the pandemic has cost far more lives than 9/11 and has had profound economic effects, including the loss of 20 million jobs.