When I heard Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I admit that I was happy, and I continue to be happy. Issues of liberal guilt aside (is any person's death really something to be excited about?), I continue to be pleased that this person who brought such pain and destruction to our world (in addition to using his wife as a human shield during his final standoff) is no longer in it.
But how does this tie into personal finance?
Nearly as soon as Osama was declared dead Sunday night, MSN Money suggested that the markets would likely soar on this news. I was a little taken aback by the crassness of viewing death as a market force, but it made me curious to see how the market would really react. In fact, the stock market didn't really know what to do with the news, and there were no real gains.
Today, the National Inflation Association (NIA) released a report that suggests that Osama may succeed in his goals of destroying America after all - through the toll of hyper-inflation that our various wars and searches for him stand to take on our economy.
The NIA suggests:
"The U.S. is currently spending about $1 trillion annually on maintaining a military empire around the world. This is unsustainable, as we are relying on borrowing and printing money to fund this, and Americans are now paying the price with massive inflation in food and energy prices.
"The U.S. military captured Bin Laden in Pakistan using a special team comprised of about two dozen navy seals. In other words, the trillions we have spent fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were all for nothing. We could have captured Bin Laden without our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have much smaller annual budget deficits and a much lower national debt today with a much stronger U.S. dollar."
This seems like a particularly partisan stance, and I should take a more evaluative look at the organization itself, but I think there may actually be some truth to the NIA's statement. We've got to pay the piper eventually. Just as if we, in our personal finances, spend money we don't have and take on more debt to attempt to achieve our supposed goals we will eventually pay a great price, so will the U.S. government if it doesn't either start bringing more money in or ebb the flow of money out.
What do you think? Was the money spent worth it? Is this "worth" even something that can be adequately or expressly measured?
Update (5/6/11): Osama didn't use a wife as a human shield.