The 10th Anniversary of 9/11 will be upon us soon - and it got me to thinking what the now dead Osama bin Laden was able to achieve in terms of achieving one of his goals - getting the US to spend a lot of treasure on trying to feel more safe in an unsafe world.
If one uses the $294 billion FY2000 defense budget as a baseline and presumes that global security in a post Cold War context would remain fairly consistent with blips of concern and challenge here and there, then one could measure the gap between what a defense budget adjusted for inflation over time would have been compared to what the 9/11-triggered spending reality was.
And the answer is interesting, and somewhat disturbing -- particularly given the intense budget debates under way in the nation.
The US has spent cumulatively $2.263 trillion more than the FY2011 baseline.
Here is a quick run down of the amounts spent above the FY2000 levels adjusted each year to grow with inflation:
2001 - $16B
2002 - $45.2B
2003 - $144.9B
2004 - $167.3B
2005 - $161.9B
2006 - $205.5B
2007 - $259.1B
2008 - $302.6B
2009 - $305B
2010 - $325.2B
2011 - $329.7B
I asked a friend of mine to chart this out and have pasted the pdf above. I should note that I think that there is a mistake in the black line above which is supposed to chart the FY2000 budget over time adjusted only for inflation. One would not see such a rise and fall in the early part of the line - so when that is fixed, I'll repost it. Nonetheless, it does show generally what Osama bin Laden was able to get us to do.