Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The $$$ Cost of 9/11, Visualized

For obvious reasons, I've still got 9/11 on my mind. In the spirit of my post on September 10, here is a series of graphics from the NYTimes to help us wrap our little brains around just how much money has been spent, lost, wasted, stolen, etc. because of 9/11.

From the NYTimes blurb:
Al Qaeda spent roughly half a million dollars to destroy the World Trade Center and cripple the Pentagon. What has been the cost to the United States? In a survey of estimates by The New York Times, the answer is $3.3 trillion, or about $7 million for every dollar Al Qaeda spent planning and executing the attacks. While not all of the costs have been borne by the government — and some are still to come — this total equals one-fifth of the current national debt. All figures are shown in today’s dollars.
A single cube in each stack represents $1 billion spent, lost, wasted, or stolen:

Click on the infographics or this link for the interactive version over at NYTimes.com.

If, for example, you click on the "War Funding" cube, it breaks the costs down further:

So, Al Qaeda's return on investment, a.k.a. rate of return (in the sense of the amount of damage caused to the USA per dollar spent by them on the attacks) was an astounding 700,000,000% (700 million percent). If only I could achieve similar returns in the stock market .... But seriously, with a rate of return like that, I expect that we'll continue to face similar attacks (or at least plots) like 9/11 in the future - that kind of ROI is probably too tempting to pass up, especially for a terrorist.

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